I’m always surprised when people tell me they haven’t been to a county fair– after all, memories of candied apples and craft tables during fair season are a significant part of my childhood.
With state budgets being hit hard, state and county fairs are buckling down more than ever before. Luckily, if you’re up for a day trip, these fun ventures into fried food, pie contests and shaky rides can still be part of your childhood — or adulthood, for that matter.
DC State Fair
DC “State” Fair, September 22
Just because we don’t have states’ rights doesn’t mean we don’t know how to throw a good party. This year the DC State Fair will be joining Barracks Row Day on Capitol Hill, where you’ll find the best of gardeners, cooks, bakers, photographers and artists. We’re already looking forward to the contest for best homebrew.
Arlington County Fair, August 8-12
Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 S. Second Street, Arlington, Virginia
You’ll have fun at the Arlington County Fair if you go for the pig races alone, but you can also catch performances by local artists and check out the competitive competitions (pie, anyone?).
Prince William County Fair, August 10-18
10624 Dumfries Road, Manassas, Virginia
Believe it or not, there is another reason to visit Prince William County besides Ikea, namely the largest county fair in Virginia. Check out the Demolition Derby, 4-H Livestock Shows and carnival rides. Deal: On Tuesday, August 14, purchase admission to the Fair for only $2.00!
Virginia State Fair, September 28-October 7
13111 Dawn Boulevard Doswell, Virginia
Getting to Virginia’s State Fair will require a bit more of a drive to it’s Doswell location, but still well-within day-trip territory. Head here for the Midway – wonderfully colorful rides and games. You can also check out livestock animals including cows, rabbits, chickens, goats, ducks and newborn calves.
Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, August 10-18
Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut Street, Gaithersburg, Maryland
If you were ever a 4-H’er, you’ll remember county fair just like this. MoCo Ag Fair has a demolition derby, monster trucks, and tractor pull. If you’re a parent, head to the KidZone for remote control car racing and carnival rides, including bumper cars. Be sure to check out the animal demonstrations and if you’re hungry, pick up something called a Fudge Puppie Waffle.
Prince George’s County Fair, September 6-9
PG County Showplace Arena, Water Street, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Check out local performers, a NASCAR simulator and carnival rides at the Prince George’s County Fair.
Maryland State Fair, August 23- September 3
Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland
If you happen to live with a 13-year-old girl, you should definitely make plans to visit the Maryland State Fair where The Band Perry and Victoria Justice will be performing. If you’re 15 or older, you’ll want to go to the Maryland State Fair for the bull riding competitions, the attempt to beat the world’s largest crab cake record and the chainsaw sculptors. Kids will enjoy learning how to milk a cow at during the Agricultural Farm tours, and mom and dad can check out hyper-local Maryland food at the farmers market, to you know, balance out that fried Oreo.