How to give a chicken a bath (and win a barnyard beauty contest)

By Julie Reardon

How to give a chicken a bath (and win a barnyard beauty contest)

Yoga with goats, chicken bathing tutorials, watermelon seed spitting contests, lawnmower races and junk food—you know you want to! It is county fair season in Virginia and Fauquier’s fair has these interactive events and more July 11-14th near Warrenton. Billing itself as “It’s all about family, friends and fun!” the 68th annual Fauquier County Fair has something for everyone. Some of the highlights include live music, a comedian/hypnotist, bucking bulls and stunt motorcyclists, along with the usual fare of funnel cakes, fried food and family fun.

County Fairs were started in the 1800s to exhibit local produce and livestock, and this tradition continues today as the Fauquier County Fair approaches its seventh decade. There are vegetable, fruit and field crop exhibitions competing for prizes, along with flowers, plants, arrangements and herbs, and food preservation/preparation. There is even a “malformed vegetable oddity” category! Along with the edibles, a large variety of crafts compete for prizes including handiwork and sewing, fine arts, computer graphics, photography, woodworking and shop crafts, even scrapbooks.

Livestock competitions provide the young and old alike to meet and interact as well as learn about farm animals and their care. This year the fair will have a Livestock Meet & Greet, a sheep and goat clinic, rabbit agility demonstrations along with a chicken parade (held after the chicken bath tutorial) and a livestock obstacle course. And yes, yoga with goats, a milking demonstration and bucking bulls.

Special attractions this year include the Triple R Rodeo at the fairgrounds on Thursday July 12th.Magic will happen all four days of the fair with Brad Matchett, a comedy hypnotist with a popular act featuring extreme illusions and escapes. Moto Madness, a motorcycle stunt show, will be held July 13th. But you don’t have to limit yourself to spectating: many of the funky fair competitions are open to anyone, some even offer cash prizes.  There’s an ATV rodeo, lawn mower races and a kids’ bike rodeo (children bring their own bikes and safety helmets) along with horseshoe pitching, corn shucking, a corn hole challenge, hot dog eating contest and more. How about a bedazzled bra contest? Or for the men, a pretty legs and longest beard contest—all are on the schedule.

And did we mention food? This fair has plenty. You can compete in one of the many eating contests—in addition to hot dogs, you can gobble down pizza, pies or watermelon (if you’d rather not pig out on watermelon there’s a seed spitting contest, too). But no need to enter a contest to have your fill; the Saturday finale starts with an all you can eat breakfast put on by the Bealeton/Remington Ruritan Club and a Blue Ribbon supper at 5 pm with all-Fauquier raised beef and pork products along with local produce and goods for just $10 per person. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyplace else serving a fresh farm to table meal for that price! All four days traditional fair food like funnel cakes, corn dogs, cotton candy, ice cream, sausages, candy apples, snow cones and more, will be available from vendors.

On opening day you can buy a combined admission ticket and all-you-can-ride carnival pass for just $25 online only. Daily admission is $10 for adults (13 & older) and $5 for youth (12 and under) and seniors (65 and over) and military with ID. Hours are 2 to 11 pm Wednesday July 11 through Friday the 13th and 9 am until 11 pm on Saturday July 14th. A complete schedule and more information can be found on http://www.FauquierFair.com

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