Fairgoers, vendors thankful State Fair of Virginia lives on

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va (WTVR) – The State Fair of Virginia will begin its two-week run Friday after the tradition nearly didn’t happen this year.

In fact, fairgoers and vendors are now breathing a sigh of relief that the show will go on after the fair went bankrupt earlier this year.

In the shadows of a silent Ferris wheel, Candy Eubank hauled bales of hay from her truck Thursday.

The long-time landscaper from Doswell who depends on the State Fair to stimulate income has never been so happy working so hard.

“We’ve been here as a business the last few years,” said Eubank.” The State Fair of Virginia does add to my business and generate clients.”

Eubank and plenty of other vendors at the event weren’t so sure they’d be back this year.

Last spring after running into deep financial trouble, the State Fair of Virginia went bankrupt leaving fairgoers and vendors in limbo — and 157 years of legacy hanging in the balance.

Randy Bugg from Richmond is thankful the fair lives on as he set up his food cart at Meadow Event Park.

“It is exciting. I can’t wait. Everyone thought there wasn’t going to be a fair this year”, Bugg said.

A new partnership between the Virginia Farm Bureau and Universal Fairs LLC of Cordova, Tennessee bought the State Fair at auction and salvaged the show.

[BONUS: New owner says he paid millions for fair on a whim]

“I think people will notice it is going to be a bit bigger than it has been in the past with expansions in rides and agriculture venues,” said Greg Hicks with Virginia Farm Bureau.

Maria Skinner travels from carnivals and state fairs all across the country with her husband Bob and their pot-bellied pigs, Petunia, Piggy Sue and Patsy. Skinner said she is elated the State Fair did not disappear.

“It is better than anything I can think of. I’m so happy and satisfied to be back”, said Skinner.

Back at  Eubank’s “Lot Escapes” booth, she is ready to help write the next chapter in the long history of the State Fair of Virginia.

“We’re all very excited. We’re back,” said Eubank. “It has been very beneficial for us. It is great!”

Eubank has a lot of interest in seeing the fair succeed. Her family business in Doswell helped build the infrastructure four years ago.

The fair opens Friday at 2 p.m. and runs through Oct. 8.

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