Fair History

Black and white photo of first fair committee

1991 Fair Committee

Beginning in 1991, a committee was established to explore the potential of re-establishing the fair as an “Old Fashioned County Fair.”  This committee was chaired by George Winslow, with assistance from Evelyn Chandler, Grace Keen, and many other interested and dedicated community leaders.  The group conducted prolific research and held countless discussions as they determined that the most reasonable approach to making the fair a reality was to establish a committee under the direction of the Isle of Wight County Public Recreational Facilities Authority, and request that the Board of Supervisors provide seed money as the initial funding.

In 1994, the first Isle of Wight County Fair since 1941 was held with Joel Clinton Bradshaw Jr. and Richard Turner as the Co-Chairs.  Since 1994, the fair has experienced several weather situations, including the 1999 arrival of Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd, which took its toll on the fairgrounds but strengthened the spirit of the committee.

About eleven years ago, the Isle of Wight County Public Recreational Facilities Authority was disbanded and the Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation Department was established.  This new county entity in conjunction with an active and passionate Isle of Wight County Fair Committee took ownership of the Fair and managed and expanded the Fair to its present status.

In 2004, the Fair was moved to the newly opened Fairgrounds at Heritage Park on Route 258 near Windsor.  In 2007, the Isle of Wight County Fair took a one year hiatus, so that a much needed fairgrounds improvement project for the site could be undertaken.  During the hiatus, the Parks and Recreation Department along with the Isle of Wight County Fair Committee hosted Ag Fest, a scaled down version of the Fair featuring many of the wonderful agricultural components of the Fair.

In 2008, the Isle of Wight County Fair re-opened to welcome Isle of Wight County residents and visitors alike to the newly renovated Fairgrounds at Heritage Park.  The Fair Committee witnessed a turn around and attendance grew considerably over previous years. In January 2011 the fair was recognized at the Virginia Association of Fairs as one of the fastest  growing fairs in Virginia!

The fair has grown over the years under the excellent leadership of past Fair Managers, Allen Noegic, Mark Furlo and past Fair Chairman Richard Turner, Joel Bradshaw Jr., Tom Baise, David Sawyer and Mike Stephens.  In October 2013, Danny Byrum was elected Chairman of the Isle of Wight County Fair.  Danny has worked with the Fair Committee for 10 years in multiple positions.  With Danny’s experience and a seasoned Fair Committee, we look forward to a bigger and better fair than ever!  Fairgoers will experience national entertainers on the main stage and plenty of regional and local acts as well.  Plus popular events such as the exciting mid-way rides, Tractor Pull,  agricultural competitions, craft demonstrations, and of course, everybody’s favorite…fair food!

In 2013 the Fair had record breaking attendance and was recognized as having the best overall marketing efforts for Large Fairs in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In 2014 the first permanent building was donated and built at the Fairgrounds.  It is known as the Agricultural Education Center.  Inside this center is an interactive learning experience for children and adults.  There are iPad’s and televisions with farming tutorials, agricultural games and live birthing shows.  This is a site to see for Fair Goers!

The Isle of Wight County Fair has received recognition at the state, national and international levels, providing us much clout among our peers in the fair industry throughout the country.  We received numerous awards, including first place awards in our division for agricultural education exhibits and in marketing at the International Association of Fairs. Isle of Wight County Fair also was awarded 13 first place overall awards for Communication and Marketing, as well as recognition in several other categories, competing with sixty-seven other fairs & festivals in the state at the Virginia Association of Fairs.

 

Picture 1

2016 Isle of Wight County Fair Committee

Photo Credits:  Amanda Byrum

 

2016 Isle of Wight County Fair By-Laws

 

2017 Virginia Association of Fairs Gala

Photo Credits:  Catherine Jones
 

Fair Committee Members

Executive Board
Danny Byrum, Chairman, VAF Vice-President
Robbie Lee, Vice Chairman
Robie Claud,  2nd Vice Chairman
Debbie Braswell, Treasurer  Terri Kudsk, Secretary
County Staff
Lauren Wood, Fair/Events Coordinator
David Smith, Director of Parks and Recreation
Gary Askew, Parks & Grounds Manager
 
 

Subcommitees

   
Agriculture/4-H
Michelle Billups, AG Chair,  Pete Edwards, 4-H Chair, Mel Atkinson, Vice-Chair 4-H, Kimberly Atkinson, 4-H Agent,  Janet Spencer, ANR Agent

 

Admissions
Ernest Powell, Chair

Commercial & Nonprofit Vendors
Robbie Lee, Chair

Stage 1 Entertainment
Robie Claud, Chair
Donna Claud, Vice-Chair

Budget & Finance
Debbie Braswell, Chair

Communications
Albert Burckard, Chair

 

Pageant
Cathy Richards, Chair

Food Vendors
Cindy Goodman, Chair, Kim Garrett, Vice-Chair

Livestock
Mark Edwards, Chair
Clifton Clark, Vice-Chair

Heritage Food & Crafts Competition
Catherine Jones, Chair Tasha Hedgepeth, Vice-Chair

Craft Vendors
Theresa Woodall, Chair

 

Talent Show, Car Show & Blackwater River Stage
Jamie Pearce, Chair
Terri Kudsk, Vice-Chair

Midway
Allen Brown, Chair

Logistics
Larry Regula, Chair

Motorsports
Billy Goodman, Chair

Sponsorship    Alice Lee, Chair

Volunteer Tent
Ronnie Byrum, Chair