DOSWELL (March 15, 2013) — The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation entered into an agreement March 14 to assume full ownership of the State Fair of Virginia and The Meadow Event Park from Universal Fairs LLC of Cordova, Tenn.
Farm Bureau, which had been 50-percent owner since last July, entered into an agreement on the remaining 50 percent and will continue to operate the State Fair and many other events on the historic 331-acre property that was once home to Secretariat, the legendary Thoroughbred who captured the 1973 Triple Crown.
This year’s fair will run from Sept. 27 to Oct. 6 at the Caroline County site.
“This is a very proud day for Virginia Farm Bureau,” noted VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor. “Universal Fairs was a great partner for the first year, and the two groups were able to work together to continue uninterrupted operation of the State Fair after it had gone into bankruptcy just months earlier.
“And we part ways amicably,” he added. “Farm Bureau’s mission is to preserve, protect and promote agriculture, and help it prosper. We’ve realized there’s no better way to showcase this great industry than through the State Fair. Universal Fairs operates events across the country and did a great job in Virginia. They agreed to allow us to take full ownership so they could better focus on their many other events nationwide.
“We learned a lot and gained tremendous insight into how to operate a fair during 2012. Now, the pressure is fully on our shoulders,” Pryor said. “But we plan to expand and improve this wonderful event beginning this year and well into the future.
“We plan to carry this out through teaching exhibits, shows and competitive events that include livestock, dairy, equine, sheep and goats and much more,” Pryor said. “We also plan to continue the Skills USA competitions as well as competitions for photography and arts and crafts and the ever- popular Educational Expo, which hosts approximately 14,000 schoolchildren who participate in a Standards of Learning-based program and tour.”
Mark D. Lovell, president of Universal Fairs, said keeping the State Fair open in 2012 was “a welcome challenge and an extremely rewarding opportunity. It’s a unique and much-loved event, and we were proud to open those gates and light up that property last September. I’m sure the State Fair of Virginia has a long and promising future.”
With nearly 150,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to protecting Virginia’s farms and ensuring a safe, fresh and locally grown food supply.