Morning Poll: Will You Be Attending the County Fair?

by ARLnow.com August 8, 2012 at 9:55 am 4,161 106 Comments

For many, a trip to the Arlington County Fair is a special experience —  a fun, family-friendly summer evening activity that instills a sense of community and nostalgia.

For others, it’s something to be avoided — an event that’s inconvenient to get to and expensive to try to enjoy.

Depending on whether you’re a fair fan or not, the food there — fried Oreos, etc. — is either a delicious treat or unhealthy and of questionable origin.

So which end of the spectrum do you fall along? Will you be attending the fair this year? Feel free to explain why or why not in the comments.

  • Arlington cat

    Smallest county fair in the entire DC/Baltimore area, isn’t it?

  • WestoverNative

    Gotta love the piglet racing!

  • Andy

    Probably fitting for the geographically smallest county in the nation.

    • bred

      A small (so to speak) correction – Arlington is the 2nd smallest county geographically in the country. New York county New York (aka Manhattan) is slightly (I believe 2 square miles) smaller.

  • YTK

    I will be attending but WHY the abbreviated hours????? I also miss those church booths where the church ladies would sell baked goods– it’s too expensive now for many of those groups to have a table at the fair. So instead of County Fair, maybein the future it should be called Arlington Business Fair with Racing pigs…..

    • Jeff

      What did the price used to be for a table and what is it now?

      • nom de guerre

        2012 Prices for indoors Arts & Crafts category only:

        Base Fees
        Booth Size: 10’ x 10’ ($225)
        10’ x 10’ corner ($325)
        10’ x 20’ ($400)
        10’ x 20’ corner ($475)
        Additional Fees:
        Electricity (please review Exhibitor rules on use of electricity): $100
        8’ Table: $25 per table; folding chairs $10 per chair
        Helium Balloon (sale or distribution): $125
        Adhesive Sticker (sale or distribution): $125

        I believe that selling food items that were not prepared in a “commercial kitchen” or without the supervision of a Certified Food Manager are now prohibited.

        • charles

          only Arlington County government could ruin church baked goods for the rest of us.

          • BlueLoom

            No, Alexandria did the same thing. I belong to a coop art gallery in the Torpedo Factory. Each year in December, we have a holiday open house. In the past, each gallery laid on a mini-buffet of snacks, nibbles, dips/chips, homemade brownies/cookies, etc. The TF provided wine & soft drinks. People wandered around the Factory (some dressed in their holiday finest) tasting both the art and the snacks. Then the word came down: no food not prepared in a commercial kitchen. Now, instead of individual artists (or galleries) providing interesting, enticing, and sometimes exotic food, the TF hires a caterer who provides the same boring cheese/crackers/cookies you see everywhere. Damn shame.

    • Rosie

      I have to agree with some of the comments above. I have been going for YEARS, since I was a teenager, and I have seen the changes. To me the purpose of the fair should be to bring the community together. To put the local businesses up in front. To promote the businesses in the County, and to embrace the differences in the County. Non profits should be one of the highlights, local businesses and any initiatives the county may have. Also, the location needs to be changed. TJ is now WAY too small for this growing area, and a larger more parking friendly location should be chosen. I vote for W-L, perhaps Wakefield (whenever it is done), or even an open field.

      • YTK

        I agree

      • speonjosh

        TJ is fairly centrally located and has the large outdoor space needed, in addtion to a fairly large indoor space. None of the other places you suggest are a reasonable subsitute. I’m not sure that even Yorktown, with its expansive athletic fields, would be large enough.
        It is what it is.
        And you can’t expand the hours because the neighbors are already fairly grumpy about the whole thing.

      • suzanne bolton

        ADogs finally bowed out of the fair because the booth would have cost over $400 and we did not quality for the lower price as an arts and craft category even with our give away Dogma treats. Just too expensive for an Arlington centric volunteer organization.

        I went by to check the inside activities out this Sunday and was refused parking in the handicap parking area and told to drive around and try later to see if a spot had opened. In the past, I was always allowed in to wait until a spot opened up and have never had to wait long. Imagine the insanity of circling the area on the chance that you would make it back just as a spot opened up. Disappointed, I returned home and missed the fair for the first time in years except when I was hospitalized. And, yes, I have a mobility disability that limits my activity and ability to walk any distance. In the future, I will just not bother to support this activity.

    • Clarendon

      I’d prefer to see it replaced (or modified) to be more of a seriously good art fair. I went to the Melborne Art Festival in Florida a few years ago and it was quite amazing.


      Melbourne isn’t such a big town but the show was great because they had a really good volume and variety of artists (I’d guess about 300). Probably takes a lot to organize and Florida probably has a lot of artists to choose from, but they came from all over.

      • MC 703

        It’s a COUNTY FAIR not an art festival. Two different things.

        Maybe you should google Arlington Art Fest. You shall find


        • Kate

          lol, that’s not a proper arts festival.

          See here for the type of grand event Clarendon is referring to: bit.ly/lH0KC

          • drax

            The county fair is not a proper arts festival either, and isn’t supposed to be.

          • Kate

            I know, that’s what Clarendon was saying. See the top of the comments chain.

          • cyclist

            I see it:

            “I’d prefer to see it replaced (or modified) to be more of a seriously good art fair.”

      • Rick

        We have a art fair. It’s a year round money pit with a dome roof..

      • Vincent

        Artomatic wasn’t good enough for you?

      • speonjosh

        Glad you had a great time at the art fair.

        It’s not really the same thing, is it?

      • Out of towner

        Actually… I grew in Arlington and I still live here, but since it’s a small county obviously I support our neighboring counties too, so I’m not trying to pull from the city, but early in September (I know the weekend of 8-9, but not sure if the dates are longer than that) there’s a pretty awesome King Street Arts Festival in Old Town… I know, I know, it’s not Arlington and someone will get grumpy that I even mention it, but thought I’d share if you didn’t know that it’s nearby and it’s always got some really cool vendors and if the weather’s nice it’s not bad to walk around a bit. 🙂

  • jlm

    No, it’s pretty lame.



  • Denise Roller

    Will not be attending

  • few things i’d rather go to less.

    • DCBuff


    • BlueLoom


      Noisy, no parking, not handicapped friendly, yucky fair food…

  • BallstontoRosslyn

    Parking is non-existent. The bus/shuttle service? Well think about where you have to park to get on that? They should re-think the fair location and overall improve it. It’s so small. Make it a county fair more people can enjoy!

    • Williamsburg

      I’d like to see it maybe relocated to Washington and Lee HS. That way you could metro to it and you have all the parking that Ballston offers.

      • Andy

        Washington-Lee HS

      • RWarren

        I agree, move it to the north part of the county.

      • TJ

        You do realize that the fair shuttles depart from Ballston?

    • YTK

      Bus service= Metrobus (once an hour on Sundays, wheee!!) OR those schoolbuses that usually DO NOT have air conditioning. Way to go Arlington.

      • Ralph

        Get on a bike!

      • drax

        No AC to get to an outdoor event? The horror.

    • speonjosh

      I wonder why it is so small….it’s just weird that here in Arlington, VA, you know, the smallest co in the country, that we’d have such a *small* county fair. I just can’t figure it out. I mean, we’re so RICH – shouldn’t we be able to rent out the Dulles Expo Center or something?

  • DarkHeart

    Does the swine flu warning apply to the pig racin’?

    • nom de guerre

      Probably not, but they usually have a petting zoo. Not too sure if it includes swine, though.

      • drax

        I heard that today’s special at Sam’s features pork. True?

        • nom de guerre

          You are correct. Today’s Sam’s Food Truck features a local, free range braised diced pork belly topped with a julienne of daikon radish and baby carrots infused with rice vinegar and ginger on a Mantou (Chinese Steamed Bun) with a Siracha Provencal aioli.

          • drax

            I knew it!

            I adore Siracha Provencal aioli by the way. I have a huge jar of it from Costco in my pantry that I just dig into with my fingers sometimes, late at night.

          • WeiQiang

            … after killing the suitcase?

          • drax

            You know me oh so well, WeiQiang my friend.

          • nom de guerre

            or using the vaporizer with some type of hybrid?

          • WeiQiang

            Sriracha shisha?

          • nom de guerre

            I was thinking of something containing Δ9-THC.

          • WeiQiang

            Srirach HASHisha?

          • South Awwlington

            Geesh you make me laugh. Have you worked in the biz before, watch too much Food Network, etc?

            Next Up…Mange Fox Kebobs with black bean, corn and lobster salsa over jasmine rice and topped with a dollop of Cabernet butter.

          • drax

            Today’s Arlington County Fair special is funnel cake topped with a fried Mars bar, fried Oreo cookies, soft ice cream, a Polish sausage, a mushy candied apple, curly fries, two papusas, a Philadelphia-style cheese-steak sandwich, a chili dog and chicken pad thai, all covered with cotton candy.

          • nom de guerre

            These items are classified as Fair Fare. I would have at least included a corn dog and a fried stick of butter.

          • drax

            Forgot the corn dog. But the fried stick of butter is the drink special.

          • South Awwlington

            Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher feet.

          • South Awwlington

            The drink special tonight will be the…wait for it… Carnie Wilson!

            A delicious deep red swirl of crushed ice, kerosene, apple juice and Coyote blood.

            One sip of this and you’ll be just as skinny as the new-old Carnie!

            Come out and support your favorite gastro-redirects!

  • Rick

    To pay to sit on a school bus and ride from Washington-Lee, no thank you.

  • cyclist

    It will be a breeze getting to and parking at the fair.

  • Ren

    I don’t understand why more people don’t bicycle to the fair. The fair seems to be in the ideal location for bicycling. Also, just FYI that the 10B goes right past there from the Ballston metro.

    I agree with the commenters that its sad that the fair doesn’t do more to celebrate low-key community – church sale bake sales and the like. I’ll probably still go and find something to enjoy though. I go to my “real” county fair in an ag state and all they do is complain there about how much everything at the fair costs. Apparently, the have-nots are sufffering.

    • jlm

      forgot about the 10B. Thx.

      • YTK

        Runs once an hour on Sundays. Luckily there is the 41 — also the 23 — bus stop on Glebe Road — 2 block walk to the fair.

    • speonjosh

      Wait, people complain elsewhere, too?
      I was beginning to think that complaining about what you had was a strictly Arlington phenomena (and was even wondering if it was a requirement for living here).

  • runningtheWOD

    Funnel cake. Worth the trip just for that.

    • Bob

      More like funeral cake.

  • Drunk_IrishChick

    Get the Osullivans Doormen to work security

    • CL M4M

      Is he Serbian?

  • BreakPause02

    I will not be going, as they make it inconvenient to attend. There is no parking on site, or in the area, and you must take a shuttle bus.

    • DCBuff

      If only there were a street car or trolley nearby…

    • drax

      Parking = massive traffic jams to get there = inconvenient to attend.

    • speonjosh

      Who is “they”?

  • South Awwlington

    What about having it on Four Mile Run Drive?

    It’s fairly industrial still and seems like a larger space.

  • stephanie

    Yes, I’m going. If the Jesse booth is there and I can get my Arlington hoodies and t-shirts, I’ll be happy.

  • Hank

    I’d like to go, but it’s a pain to bring an 11 month old, stroller, and all of the necessary items on the bus. I mean, I know people do it regularly, but the thought stresses me out (probably unnecessarily).

  • Arlington Cat

    Will there be Arlington agriculture highlights?

    • YTK

      Beekeepers. Big Zucchinis. Best pumpkin. Best canned pickles. Stuff like that. Also the Extension and some of hthe Arlington Parks. Need to have an informational booth about growing your own food in Arlington.

      • WeiQiang

        Locally-raised eggs?

        • DCBuff

          That’s a cluck question, bro.

          • C Spackler

            I hear their will be suckling pig stands for the little piglets that lose in each race.

            – a 1987 Buff, BTW (BS, Aero)

          • DCBuff

            ’84, History. Aero at CU=impressive

          • DarkHeart

            Too bad the backyard chicken thing didn’t go anywhere. We could’ve had “competitive chicken contests.”

          • WeiQiang

            You actually may be able to find such a contest in ArlCo.

        • South Awwlington

          You mean Fox and Coyote food, bruh!

      • Clarendon

        Do they actually require the competative veggies to be grown in Arlington or just by Arlington residents ?

  • South Awwlington

    Step right up, Step right up!

    Let the carny games begin.

    Please register at the ARLnow booth for name tags, drink tickets and ride tickets!

    First up in the dunking booth will be…

  • ARLYuppie

    So excited for the Fair! Thanks to the Volunteer Board who plans it every year! Anyone is welcome to apply for the Board, http://arlingtoncountyfair.us/about-us/become-a-board-member/

  • Glebe Roader

    Will only be going because of young children. Otherwise, no. Hell, you can’t even buy beer on-site.

    • drax

      Children, beer, hence Westover Beer Garden.

      • Glebe Roader

        See you there. Can you keep an eye on my kids?

        • drax

          Wait, I thought you were watching my kids.

    • nom de guerre


      Bring Your Own Suitcase

      • Glebe Roader

        Another good idea! (These forums can be quite useful when NS isn’t commenting.)

      • WeiQiang

        CamelTap … like a CamelBak, but better.

  • emanon

    my kids love to go. And even though we live within the “walk zone”, I will, of course, be driving them right up to the front gate.

  • Camcam

    How come theres no F–K YES option in the poll??

    • Kitty

      Because there’s no H–LL NO option?

      As has been the case the last few years, I won’t be going. I was not overly impressed with the first ones — I was a volunteer at the first couple — since I was used to real, “out in the country” county fairs; but it was not too bad back then.

  • WeiQiang

    … and, don’t forget, AWLA’s Pit Crew will be there with adoptable dogs and valuable info!

  • DarkHeart

    Is there an app for the Fair?

    • Grindr


      • South Awwlington

        Well then, we can pick them out easily…

  • Tara

    I wanted to attend, but with the abbreviated hours, I decided not too – was going to bring my two children (2 and 4) and I did not want to fight the crowds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We had a lot of fun last year, so I am disappointed that they cut the hours this year.

  • Allen

    Do the shorter hours have anything to do with the funding fallout from the embezzlement that happened?

  • Kemper

    I think the Fair is generaly good for the area except for Bath Fitter as one of the sponsors with high end plastic bathrooms.Would love to see more Mom & Pop goods and love the pig races. Arlington can do better. Pud lickers !

  • Short Red Nails

    I enjoy the Arlington County Fair, but pig racing? C’mon, Arlington! I cannot comprehend why this particular form of animal cruelty is such a crowd pleaser? And it’s used in the headline, as if it’s one of the main attractions of the fair? Whether you eat pork or not, it’s not okay to scare the daylights out of baby pigs so they run around a faux track and “win” a race. This is what passes as entertainment in Arlington County? Fellow civilized citizens, let’s figure out how to lose the pig races!

  • Kemper

    Also healthier food choices and not to have to take a shuttle to get to the Fair. I also say they need Belly Dancers and good Blues Music. Also people who do not steal funds from the county like the last Fair Manager. Pud Lickers !

  • AJ

    nope. but i’ve been going to the montgomery county fair since i was a kid, and will continue to go there. the one time i went to the arlington county fair (two years ago, maybe?) i was hugely disappointed.

    but as others have pointed out, arlington county is a very small county, so a very small fair makes sense. but to me it seems more like a high school field day.

  • nota gain

    I can walk to the Fair and I do find it amusing with the same vendors at the same locations. Some of the vendors are interesting but others far from it.
    I too like to look at the bored volunteers faces.
    I tried the hearing booth one year, Lions, and found that I could barely hear the beeps using the head phones due to the noise outside of the booth which to have been sound proofed. Didn’t work but I passed the test.
    The food vendors are appalling but the food looks inviting.

  • Zelora

    There is going to MAYBE be a special senior citizen event at the fair….many people have spent hours preparing for it. In my case I have so far attended six hours of practice sessions for this event; some people have put in more time. Now it turns out that the location we’re being given is not in keeping with the nature of the event, and further, promised parking permits have not materialized (meaning that geezers will have to spend/waste significant time finding those darn shuttle buses or whatever), and if it rains at the time the thing is scheduled, MAYBE they will find us another time and MAYBE they will notify us….
    I guess the moral here is….??? Shouldn’t volunteer your time and effort, since if they’re not paying, they won’t think it’s worth anything?


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