About the Fair
|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.
The Isle of Wight County Public Recreational Facilities Authority was then 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 over 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 14 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.
In 2018 the Isle of Wight County Fair was canceled due to a State of Emergency as a result of Hurricane Florence.
In 2019 the Isle of Wight County Fair came back stronger than ever and had a NEW record breaking year with an overall attendance of 35,107. The fair was also presented with several awards for Communication, Marketing, and Sponsorship Continuity at the International and State levels.
In 2020 the Isle of Wight County Fair was, unfortunately, canceled for the second time since 1994 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Although the traditional fair was unable to take place, a virtual fair that included social media contests, follower participation, a virtual vendor fair, and a walk down memory lane of fairs past was held on the Isle of Wight County Fair official Facebook page. The Fair received awards for its virtual fair efforts and placed 1st in its division for Virtual Contests and 3rd for Agricultural Education at the International level.
2019 Virginia Association of Fairs Conference
(left to right: Jenilee Hallman, Regine Walme-Edwards, Danny Byrum, Maria Tumminello, Theresa Woodall, Gary Askew)