The Virginia Association of Fairs has confirmed what most of us in Carroll County already knew – Carroll County has one of the best fairs in the state.
During the Virginia Association of Fairs Conference held Jan. 5-8 at the Homestead, the Carroll County Agricultural Fair was named best county fair in the state of Virginia for the category of small fair. Additionally, the Carroll Fair won 15 first-place awards and several other second- and third-place awards in a variety of categories. In particular, the Carroll County Agricultural Fair racked up in the communications category.
“There’s a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff and putting everything together to make this happen,” said Kevin Semones, Chairman of the Carroll County Agricultural Fair Committee. “Myra Leonard, Sheila Newman, Trish Hash, Carol Chevalier, I have to thank these ladies. We couldn’t have a fair without all these people and a bunch more.”
In addition to the award for best fair, the Carroll County Agricultural Fair was also selected for the top award in the small fair category of the communication awards. Individually, the Carroll Fair received first place in theme, poster, newspaper article, web ad, newsletter, billboard, color newspaper ad, pageant scrapbook, t-shirt, fair booklet, flyer, website, promotional advertising merchandise, and tabloid. Second-place awards were earned in radio ad, pageant book, post card, photo essay board, magazine ad, and fair scrapbook. A third-place award was won for brochure.
The Carroll County Agricultural Fair flyer was awarded best in show award for all fairs for all sizes for the entire state.
“This is by far the biggest amount of awards we’ve ever won,” said Myra Leonard, Co-Chair for the Carroll County Fair Committee. “Four of us went and stayed the whole time and it was very, very nice. We’re quite proud. There were fairs there that have been there 60 or 70 years.”
Semones said Carroll tries to stick with a traditional fair, one similar to fairs held in the county as far back as the 1950s and 1960s. The goal has always been for the Carroll Fair to be agricultural based. He said Carroll is always looking for new ideas and ways to upgrade the fair, however.
“And after going to the convention and seeing the other fairs, we saw that a lot of fairs have a carnival just for the heck of having a carnival. We use our carnival to bring people in to see the agriculture,” Leonard said. “It showed us that we are doing some really nice things and we want to thank the Carroll County Board of Supervisors, Farm Bureau, and everybody who supports us in the way they do.”
The first modern fair in Carroll County was held in 2005. There was an older fair, but it ceased operations in the 1960s. The current fair was first known as The Carroll County Expo. It soon changed its name to The Carroll County Agricultural Fair.
The success and growth of the fair is due to hard work and support from not only the farming communit and the local county government, but also area businesses and citizens. It is truly a community event. The county school system, including teachers and students, play a large part in the fair’s success. FFA and 4-H clubs are also heavily involved.
Held at the Southwest Virginia Farmer’s Market in Hillsville, the event continues to improve on the previous year’s attendance numbers. It is held the third full week in August. On the first three days of the fair, students are bused in from all the county elementary schools and are treated to demonstrations, exhibits and watermelon.
Since farming is the largest industry in the county, one of the goals of the fair is to have folks come away from the fair with a better understanding of the area’s agriculture diversity and agriculture’s importance to the area’s economy. Some of the most popular events include a horse pull, lawnmower race, pet show, livestock judging and the Miss Carroll County Fair Pageant.
The 2017 Carroll County Agricultural Fair is set for August 20-27.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on [email protected]