4-H & Livestock Competitions
The Washington County Fair educates young people, builds their confidence and teaches leadership skills through the various 4-H, FFA, and Scout programs and competitions. Livestock competition classes included sheep, beef, dairy, goat, rabbit and poultry. A dog show was held on Sunday, August 18.
Many successful livestock competitors go on to the Big E (Eastern States Exposition) held each September in West Springfield, MA. Learn more on this event at here.
Exhibit Halls at the Fair display competitions including Arts and Crafts, clothing, photography, baked goods, food preservation, vegetables, scarecrows, sewing, knitting, cut flowers and grange exhibits. One Hall houses a display of antique farm tools while another holds 4-H project posters. The Rhode Island Spinner Guild demonstrated making yarn with their spinning wheels.
Celebrating its 47th anniversary, the Fair entertained another 100,000 people from across Rhode Island and Southern New England for five days in mid-August.
The Fair is owned and operated by volunteers at the Washington County Pomona Grange, a non-profit community service organization. The individual Granges making up the Pomona Grange perform extensive community service in their respective communities. Their work includes kitting hats for newborns at hospitals, donating new dictionaries to elementary schools, giving food to local food banks, donations to local charities and offering scholarships to high school students. The Granges support Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H clubs, FFA and other Agricultural organizations.
This Fair is Rhode Island’s largest agricultural event with 4-H livestock competitions, exhibits and a dog show. In 2013, the Fair added a new event called Battle of the Fisherman.
Another big draws to the Fair are the giant midway and country music Stars! This year’s headliners included The Roomful of Blues, Cactus Gang, Jon Pardi, Tim Charron, Lexi James & Kryer Creek plus Skyler, Randy Houser, The Rhode Island Rednecks, Phil Vassar, Illusions (with Kim Thomas) and JT Hodges.
All food concession stands are owned and operated by local non-profit organizations fundraising for community services. These non-profits raise over $250,000 each year.
Admission included access to all daily concerts, special acts and events, all agricultural events and shows and the tractor and horse pulls. Admission also included access to the exhibits and displays, a farm museum, a giant midway and kiddy land area featuring New England’s largest traveling roller coaster! Rides in the midway require separate tickets.
The 2013 Fair ran five days, Wednesday through Sunday, August 15 through 19. Fair hours were Wednesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
There are four annual Fairs held across Rhode Island that include 4-H competitions. The Southern Rhode Island Fair is held each June at the Washington County Fairgrounds. The Eastern Rhode Island 4-H Country Fair is held each July in Portsmouth. The Northern RI 4-H Club’s Foster Fair/Old Home Days is held at the end of July each year. The Washington County Fair is held in mid-August in Richmond, RI. For links to RI’s 4-H Fairs, click here.
A similar story ran in the September 9, 2013 edition of Country Folks.