84°Partly Cloudy

Arlington County Fair Kicks Off Next Week

by Katie Pyzyk July 31, 2012 at 10:45 am 6,598 86 Comments

(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) Hold on to your stomach, because rides and fried foods galore await you at the Arlington County Fair next week.

The fair begins on Wednesday, August 8, and runs through Sunday, August 12. The theme for this year is “Live Green, Learn Green.”

Official opening ceremonies for the fair take place on Thursday, August 9th, at 6:30 p.m. Entertainment begins at 6:00 p.m. with a performance by the U.S. Army Brass Quintet, followed by the program at 6:30 p.m., with a joint presentation of Colors by the U.S. Army Color Guard and Arlington County Color Guard. The program will include remarks from a County Board member and the Arlington County Fair’s Board of Directors.

Other events include the crowd favorite racing piglets, pony rides for the kids and performances by the Harlem Wizards basketball players. Friday night (August 10) there will be an outdoor showing of the family friendly movie “The Muppets.” Another outdoor movie aimed at teens will be shown on Saturday night (August 10), but that movie has yet to be announced.

There will be a new outdoor stage this year, showcasing local entertainers such as a magician and performers from the Synetic Theater. As always, there will be plenty of fair food, games and rides outdoors and exhibitors indoors.

The fair will be held at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 S. 2nd Street). There is no parking on site, except for handicapped spaces, and nearby streets will be closed to non-local traffic. There will be shuttles running every 30 minutes from the Ballston Metro, the Arlington Career Center (816 S. Walter Reed Drive) and the I-66 parking garage (near Washington-Lee High School). The shuttle fee is $2 round trip, and free for anyone 12 and under or 65 and older.

Volunteers are still needed for helping with various tasks at the fair. Applications can be filled out online.

More information is available on the fair website.

  • novasteve

    Look! They’re indoctrinating kids! Rainbow? Where’s my medication?

    • WeiQiang

      Indoctrinating kids to look for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? huh. what do you mean?

  • Gypsy

    “Live Green, Learn Green.” Bringing in a ton of unnecessary power-hogging rides, lights, and food vendors is not exactly green. Give me a break.

    • ccres


    • novasteve

      Sometimes you gotta be a hypocrite, like Al Gore telling us to cut back on greenhouse gasses while he lives in a mansion and flies around in a private jet.

      • Confused

        I thought Al Gore was for carbon pricing, which would let you generate as much GHG as you want, as long as you pay for it. Why are conservatives so against paying for what you use? Such freeloaders.

        • novasteve

          Didn’t they already pay for what they used? Was the gasoline free?

          • Confused

            two different resources – first is gasoline. second is the capacity of the planet to absorb more green house gases. theyve paid for one, but not the other.

            When you take stuff to the dump, have you paid by buying the initial products to begin with? Dont I also have to pay a dumping fee?

          • novasteve

            What are fossil fuels made out of ? Dead plants.

            By your logic, people who have more kids should pay more taxes to make up for the services their many kids take up, like education, roads, etc, but in fact, people with large families are more likely to not only pay no taxes, but in fact get subsidies from others.

          • malaka

            And your point is????

          • Confused

            well we kinda indirectly do that, by taxing property – larger families in larger houses. I agree, thats imperfect.

            But we have a cultural aversion to trying to incentivize smaller families, which a family cannot change in the short run anyway. Whereas there are loads of things we can do to change our GHGs – some are long run (like our choice of house) but many are short run – like not idling our car.

            And the growth in GHGs is threatening us in a way that funding education for large families is not – at least not in the USA.

    • drax

      “Living green” does not require you to give up all carnival rides or county fairs. Nice straw man.

      • Gypsy

        Come on, this type of activity is clearly not “environmentally friendly.” It is full of gas guzzling generators. So yes, if you are trying to be “green” and teach “green” this is not the place to bring your kids, try a campground or something. Stop defending hypocracy.

        • drax

          No, you come on.

          “Living green” is an incredibly vague term. It can mean driving a Prius and putting extra insulation in your home, or it can mean living in a cabin with no power and riding a horse everywhere, or anything in between. Your definition of “green” is not the only possible one, and you don’t get to impose it.

          • Gypsy

            That’s fine, and as a non-profit, they can use whatever definition they see fit. And I can point out that I think it’s hypocritical.

            I guess this sliding scale of what being “green” means doesn’t apply to politicians, since they continuously try to impose their own blanket policies and standards of “green” on us.

          • Confused

            how so?

            A carbon tax for example, would merely charge you for how much GHGs you were responsible for. You would get to choose who you reduced – or you could choose to not reduce and just pay the tax. OTOH you could pay much less by reducing much more. A policy that would fit many possible standards of green.

          • Gypsy

            As an example, in D.C. when I wish to receive my groceries in a plastic bag, (which, incidentally, I re-use as bathroom trash bags), I have to pay five cents because politicians (or committee members or what not) decided as an environmental policy that trash bags shouldn’t be part of my lifestyle, and thus make it more difficult for me to use them. When, in fact, I consider them a perfectly appropriate part of my lifestyle. I believe I heard rumblings of them doing something similar in Arlington, but either way, there’s your example.

          • Confused

            This seems to completely contradict what you said. You CAN keep the plastic bag as part of your lifestyle in DC – you just need to pay for the privilege. Given the high tendency of plastic bags to end up in waterways (and eventually in the oceans) with serious consequences thats reasonable – though of course it ends up effecting folks who would dispose of their plastic bags responsibly. If you know a way to determine which purchasers of groceries are responsible in their disposal of plastic bags, and which are not, Im sure that would be very useful.

          • Gypsy

            I was just trying to point out that those who are defending the carnivals theme of “green” because “green” is a sliding scale, “vague” and different for everyone would be disingenuous if they then supported voting for individuals who legislate their version of green in laws and regulations.

            It’s either a personal choice or it’s not. If the carnival can be “green” for you because your kids really want to go and you drive a Prius there, then why would anyone with that philosophy elect someone who decides, because of their definition of ‘green’ I have to be taxed to use a plastic bag? (If you vote for individuals against implementing these types of laws, then you’re excused from me calling you a hypocrite)

          • Confused

            because one is a matter of public policy, and we cannot each have our own public policy. Public policy must be based on an evaluation of costs and benefits. Inevitably we will not all agree on how we value different outcomes – we can try to achieve consensus through negotation and logrolling, but failing that, the majority must rule (in our system)

            Thats different from private actions, where everyone will use their own standards. As for the terminology, I am pretty sure that refers to specific things at the fair, and not to its greenness relative to a camping trip.

          • Confused

            ” If the carnival can be “green” for you because your kids really want to go and you drive a Prius there, then why would anyone with that philosophy elect someone who decides, because of their definition of ‘green’ I have to be taxed to use a plastic bag? ”

            ah, I see the problem. I do not vote for someone like that because I evaluate you as ungreen for using the plastic bag. I vote for them because I believe that the benefits of imposing the tax exceed the costs. Thats a policy judgement, not an evaluation of whether your lifestyle is green or not.

          • Gypsy

            Gotcha. Interesting points. Enjoy the fair. : )

          • speonjosh

            Gypsy –

            Are you advocating anarchy? It’s really not clear what your concerns are. As far as I know, no one got rich as a result of the DC Council voting to impose the 5 cent bag fee. Even District coffers were not significantly affected since most people have chosen to not use a bag, or bring their own, etc. So if there is no fraud involved, then you have to accept that the decision was made using fairly ordinary democratic methods. Is this a problem for you? The fee appears to be having real and impressive impacts on the amount of plastic bags used in the District, with all the accompanying positive outcomes – less trash, less use of oil in the manufacture of the bags, lower costs for business owners, etc. In short, since it is easy to avoid the 5 cent fee and even if you can’t – it’s only 5 cents – why would you be opposed to this rule?

            There is plenty of reason to be frustrated with hypocrisy and duplicity in the world these days. But why pick on the county fair and their decisions regarding what theme to use? If they had promoted diversity, for example, would you have gone around and taken a demographic census of all the fair employees? The fair exists for fun. The county then takes advantage of the stage to promote a given societal good, like good hygiene or safe driving. There has never been any expectation or promotion that the fair IS the message. But who knows, maybe they did make behind the scenes efforts this year to green the fair.

            My main concern is that they finish with the repaving of Irving St in time…..

          • drax


            The problem is that THEY didn’t even offer a definition at all! YOU assumed one. You can’t call them hypocrites for not living up to something they haven’t even said yet.

          • Gypsy

            The problem is YOU assumed I don’t have a better idea of what they consider going “green.” It’s on the Arlington County website. After eating some fried oreos (from a fryer utilizing a generator) and riding the carousel (ditto), please join Arlington County for a panel, Sunday, 2:00-2:15 on “Tips for Energy Efficiency.” You can then walk on over to the car free diet booth, (but don’t forget to go on the gas guzzling teacups!) to sign the ‘car free diet pledge.’ Hahaha..Do you not see the irony?


          • Confused

            arent there lots of riders on the teacups? isnt that a form of mass transit?

          • Gypsy

            Also, you’ll probably try to talk Arlington’s way out of this one too, but at the Courthouse farmer’s market, I watched as two individuals dressed in “car free diet” shirts set up a booth, going to and from their car to bring out the materials. When I laughed and said “isn’t that ironic?” to them, he said “I know, but it’s a big table!” All I’m saying is, it all seems pretty hypocritical. We all have reasons to drive cars, some more avoidable than others, but why are they so judgmental?

          • Confused

            what makes you think everyone with a carfree diet shirt thinks EVERYONE must be carfree? I thought the idea of that program was to promote it as an OPTION.

          • speonjosh

            You are having a problem with scale here, I think. Just because there is something called the “Car Free Diet” doesn’t mean that the county (or anyone else) thinks that no one should use a car, ever. It’s simply a promotion of the use of other forms of transportation. End of story.
            Would you find it “ironic” if somebody passing out free samples of Pop Tarts was later seen eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwitch?

          • Gypsy

            You are having a problem here, speon. Their name is “car FREE diet.” Is it so difficult for those of us being shoved brochures to believe that that is what they’re advocating? A car FREE diet? If they meant that we can and should use cars whenever it’s convenient, than they should call themselves something else. In this case, they could have walked over with a table, had friends help, brought it on the metro, partnered with another booth who already had a table, etc. They used a car because it was convenient.

          • confused

            car FREE diet means that for those individuals who CHOOSE to take that option, they do not own a car AT ALL, thats true.

            But car free diet does not mean all arlingtonians need to be car free. Some can continue there autocentric lifestyles, and otheres (MANY OTHERS) can be car lite, owning one car and not using it that much.

          • Gypsy

            No one said anything about “all” Arlingtontonians…Shouldn’t those passing out pamphlets and setting up booths advertising it at least adhere to a car free diet whilst in the act of promoting one? If not, agree to disagree. I wish I could handle hypocrisy with as much tolerance as you, because it does get tiring..so much around here.

        • WeiQiang

          Maybe they bought carbon offsets.

        • Confused

          Sure camping is better. But sometimes kids want rides, ya know? Certainly rides that are a short drive away, or better yet, you get to by transit, walking, or biking, are a lot better than ones that you have to drive a long way to (like Kings Dominion) or fly to.

          Thats not hypocracy, its compromising with human nature, which is what moderate environmentalism is all about.

          • drax

            Now that most of that is over (steve is still here though), it would be a good point to ask the county to live up to the green theme in some ways. For instance, why not run power cords so we can get rid of those damn gas generators? They spew pollution much worse than from even a coal-fired power plant. Is there recycling and all that nice stuff at the fair? It’s legit to push them a little on this since they chose this theme.

          • speonjosh

            Hmmm. I’m not sure that’s exactly right, either. You said “it’s compromising with human nature” as if it’s human nature to want to drive to King’s Dominion and ride roller coasters. I think you’re overstating the case.
            It’s certainly about acknowledging that the mainstream American lifestyle involves enormous environmental costs that are not currently captured in any way. And that perhaps that lifestyle will need to be modified in order to preserve the environment we have.

            Or not. As Dick Cheney famously said – “The American way of life is not negotiable.” Nice, generous point of view. But perhaps he’s right and technology will save the day. Imagine planes powered by tiny nuclear power plants. Growing corn in 95 degree heat with no rain. Nanobots that eat CO2. It could happen.

          • Confused

            “You said “it’s compromising with human nature” as if it’s human nature to want to drive to King’s Dominion and ride roller coasters”

            its human nature to dislike being told to sacrifice what we want (whatever that is) for someone elses austere notion of the moral life. (I realize that some would dispute that statement about human nature, but I am enough of a child of both the enlightenment and romanticism to believe it)

            So moderate environmentalism, that calls for some change for social goals, but allows induldgence in private desires (whether thats a ride at kings dominion, a plate of rice and lamb, or building a stone monument) IS a compromise with human nature.

          • Confused

            yes a technical fix is POSSIBLE. Its also possible (in fact rather more likely) that it will be a sunny day for the fair – nonetheless we expect rides to be capable of quick shutdown and evacuation in the event of a thunderstorm. GHG policies (and private choices) need to be made in the context of the LIKELY outcomes. The likely outcome is that technical fixes will be only part of the solution. Much will likely be conservation. How much of a change to lifestyle that will be is not altogether clear. maybe we will ride to Kings dominion in efficient vehicles and go on solar powered rides. maybe we will bike to the county fair and go on conventional rides. And eat rich foods made without high methane generating beef. Or maybe we will camp in the backyard. Its the equation of lifestyle change with extreme austerity that I wish to challenge.

          • Confused

            pardon – likely and also the possible worse outcomes

  • Courtlander

    After the piglets race do they get fried up?

    • Winnie the Pooh

      Oh MY!!!!

    • Tasty

      Only the losers do.

    • dirty biker

      Sadly, yes… the racers “graduate” to the auction when they get beyond a certain size…

  • Not Me

    The fair begins on Wednesday, August 8, and runs through Sunday, August 10.

    August 10th is not a Sunday.

  • Scott

    “The fair begins on Wednesday, August 8, and runs through Sunday, August 10.”

    The Sunday is Aug 12th.

  • itstim

    According to this article, August 10 is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! “Squeeze 3 days into 1!” should be the fair slogan.

  • William

    Any suggestions for best places to park in the area?

    • Chris B

      It’s right in the article:

      There is no parking on site, except for handicapped spaces, and nearby streets will be closed to non-local traffic. There will be shuttles running every 30 minutes from the Ballston Metro, the Arlington Career Center (816 S. Walter Reed Drive) and the I-66 parking garage (near Washington-Lee High School). The shuttle fee is $2 round trip, and free for anyone 12 and under or 65 and older.

      • William

        I know what’s said in the article but I also know people who have driven to it in previous years. I’ve heard suggestions about S. 7th street and over 50 in Lyon Park but was wondering if anybody had any other suggestions.

        • The Career Center

          The Career Center is actually a pretty good spot. It’s only about a 10 minute walk – and avoids having to cruise the neighborhoods RIGHT next to the grounds for 10-15 minutes to find a spot…

          • William

            Thanks – that’s a good option to consider. Appreciate the response.

        • nom de guerre

          In past years I have parked across 50 in one of the church parking lots (not on Sunday) near the pedestrian bridge.

      • drax

        Plenty of bike parking too.

        • Confused

          OMG – how GREEN

          • drax

            Well, yes, it is.

            It also reduces the need for parking and keeps traffic congestion down.

    • Gypsy

      Ballston Mall was easy–the bus picks up right outside.

  • South Awwlington

    I heart fair season in the DMV. So Dukes of Hazzard.

    • John Fontain

      Saying ‘the DMV’ is like shouting from the rooftop, “I’m not from around here!” Only transplants use that term.

      • South Awwlington

        Perhaps you prefer NCR.

        • John Fontain

          northern Virginia or the DC area thank you.

          • South Awwlington

            Maryland has County Fairs statewide also. I was referring to the region in a non-scientific way, hence my usage HOT 99.5 lingo.

          • John Fontain

            As long as you’re keeping it real up in the field, you aight.

          • drax


      • speonjosh

        I don’t even know what the heck it means.

  • RedShirt

    What ever happened to free shuttle.

    • UA

      Decided you needed to pay your Fair Share.

    • DarkHeart

      There are still free categories, but using the footbridge over 50 can be more convenient.

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    For all those folks that gripe about the cost of the streetcar, I suggest you turn your attention to this.

    Do we really need a county fair?

    • WeiQiang

      simply, no.

      do people want to congregate and eat cheese curd and puke cheese curd from a ferris wheel and adopt pit bulls from AWLA? apparently, yes.

      • SoArl

        That’s right. Watch for my 5 yo barfing on the farris wheel next weekend! She’s been talking about the fair for months.

      • South Awwlington

        I needed that laugh. I am all for an ARLnow pie eating contest at the fair. I have few people I would like to visit that upon.

  • John Fontain

    Really wish the County would take a serious look at hiring another vendor for the rides. The pricing on the rides is very high and they make no distinction in pricing the kiddie rides so you end up paying $3 for your tot to go down the big slide, which is completely ridiculous.

    The Fairfax Fair sells wrist bands for unlimited rides, which is significantly more affordable for anyone wanting to ride more than a few times.

    • that’s what she said

      The County does not run the Fair. It is operated by an independent nonprofit with its own Board. The County cooperates with the Fair Board, but does not pick the vendor(s).

      • John Fontain

        I stand corrected and officially amend my previous post by inserting the following after the word “County” and before the word “would”:

        ‘s sockpuppet non-profit

  • DarkHeart

    One of the competitive exhibits is “Country Carving or Whittling”. I have never heard anyone use the phrase “Country Carving”. Is this brought to you by the people who use the term “Run” instead of “Creek”?

  • Fair Foer

    Having lived across from TJ for several years, I can tell you that I am never happier than when the fair packs up and I get to park in front of my own house again. That said, this isn’t a real county fair.

    This is a real county fair: http://www.canfieldfair.com/

    • speonjosh

      Real, schmeil. It is what it is.

    • drax

      A real county fair that’s a really long way away. Not many county fairs in this country accessible by subway.

      • PikePlace

        How, exactly, is is ‘accessible by subway’? There isn’t a Metro station within walking distance.

        • AL

          Ha! Try getting to the Fairfax County Fair with public transit!

    • Clarendon

      The county fair where I grew up in Virginia (York Co) brings back memories of gasoline and flying dirt. We had a demolition derby and the cars that do acrobatics (drive on two wheels and stuff). And, of course lots of cheezy carnival folks.

  • Vision Quest

    US Army Band?

    Rampant militarism indoctrinating our kids! All on our dime!

    • brian

      they need practice, right?


Subscribe to our mailing list