166th Vermont State Fair kicks off this Friday

T he kids have headed back to school and Labor Day weekend begins tomorrow, which means it’s time for the Vermont State Fair.

The fair, which has been held every year since 1846, kicks off Friday and continues through Sunday, Sept. 9, at the fairgrounds in Rutland.

The fair features a bevy of agriculture exhibits, motor sports, live music, harness racing, a karaoke contest, circus, petting zoo, carnival rides and games, and much more.

Organizers like to bill the fair as “more bang for your buck” and Richard Rivers, fair manager, said the event offers more free entertainment than any other fair in the Northeast.

Throughout the week there are more than a dozen free shows ranging from a petting zoo to live concerts. Included with your admission to the grounds, are “Animal Tales,” Daredevils Unlimited Wall of Death, Ditsy the Clown, K9’s in Flight, Atlantic Coast Old Timer Racing Club, a Model Circus Display, Rosaire’s Royal Racing Pigs, and six different musical groups.

One of the most popular and newest forms of free entertainment is the Big Top Circus by Circus Hollywood, which debuted last year with much fanfare.

The approximately 45-minute-long show will be held at 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday and 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Sept. 1-9.

 

Midway always popular

The Vermont State Fair will also features a midway with more than 30 rides, a variety of food and a number of games where fairgoers can try their hand at winning prizes.

On most nights wrist bands are available for $20 and will provide folks with access to all the rides. There are also special promotions offered at various times during the week when rides will cost even less.

For those willing to pay a little extra, organizers have planned a number of exciting events at the grandstand, including a pair of concerts.

“Allstar Weekend with Burnham” will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery and special guest Jenna Jentry will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 8.

The grandstand is also home to the fair’s motor sports events, including the 4 Cylinder Demolition Derby (7:30 p.m. tomorrow) and the Vermont State Demolition Derby at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9.

The tractor pulls, which returned to the fair last year, will be held beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 2.

 

Rooted in agriculture

But the fair was founded on agriculture in 1846 and it remains a big part of the event today. “We continue to grow out agricultural area offering sheep, cattle, goat, and horse shows as well as number of 4H events,” Rivers said.

The cost of admission remains unchanged from last year: Adults are $10; seniors $5; children $4; and parking $3. A season’s pass costs $35 for adults; $30 for seniors; and $25 for children.

There will also be several promotional days when discounted rates are available.

Tomorrow admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $3 for children and parking. Tuesday, Sept. 4, is dollar day when parking and admission for everyone is only $1. The following day, Wednesday, Sept. 5, is patron appreciation day when admission and parking is free.

Thursday, Sept. 6, is Family Thursday. The cost of admission is $15 and includes unlimited rides. Parking is $3. And Friday, Sept. 7, adult and senior admission is $4 until 4 p.m.

For more information about this year’s fair, call 775-5200, email vtstfair@comcast.net or visit www.vermontstatefair.net.

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