After a one-year detour to Rockingham County, the Virginia 4-H and FFA youth livestock shows will return to the State Fair of Virginia this fall, the organizations announced this week.
“We are very excited to return the state 4-H and FFA youth livestock shows to the state fair this fall,” said Edwin Jones, director of Virginia Cooperative Extension. “We look forward to collaborating with the fair and Virginia Farm Bureau Federation on these important educational events that provide youth an opportunity to learn important life skills and leadership.”
The 4-H and FFA shows will be held Oct. 3-6 and will serve as the culminating activity for youth participants’ livestock projects. The market and breeding shows for beef cattle, swine, sheep and meat goats will be open to all Virginia 4-H and FFA members.
Winners will receive premiums and scholarships.
After the state fair’s previous owners declared bankruptcy last spring, casting the fair’s future into doubt, 4-H leaders worked to organize an alternative event to showcase youth livestock projects.
Tennessee-based Universal Fairs LLC would later purchase the state fair property and name and eventually enter into partnership with the Virginia Farm Bureau to produce a fair last fall.
But plans for the alternative youth event continued as scheduled, and the Virginia Youth Livestock Expo was held in October at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg. The successful event drew nearly 300 4-H and FFA members from 42 counties, exhibiting more than 900 livestock projects.
The Virginia Farm Bureau was a major sponsor of the Rockingham County expo, but Farm Bureau officials said at the time that they hoped the youth event would eventually return to its original home at the State Fair of Virginia.
The Virginia Farm Bureau recently entered into an agreement to assume full ownership of the fair.
“We could not be more delighted to welcome the 4-H and FFA youth livestock events back to the state fair,” said VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor. “They are as time-honored a tradition as the fair itself, and we are committed to creating a fitting place for them this fall. I know there are many, many fairgoers who will be pleased to see them return, because the shows are an important part of many people’s state fair experience.”
All 4-H and FFA members who want to exhibit livestock at the state fair are required first to nominate their livestock projects. The nomination schedule and other show information will be posted on the Extension youth livestock web page at www.ext.vt.edu/youthlivestock as it becomes available.
This year’s State Fair of Virginia will run from Sept. 27 through Oct. 6. Information is available at www.StateFairVa.org.
The state fair is held each fall at its permanent home at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. The fair’s mission is to increase agricultural and natural resource awareness and interest through educational programs, exhibitions and competitions in a fun, family-friendly setting.