The Mountain Times

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The Vermont State Fair opens Labor Day weekend

RUTLAND-The Vermont State Fair in Rutland has been celebrating the states agricultural heritage for over 100 years. As time goes on more and more events are added to the fair and it now stretches over 10 full days from August 31 to Sept. 9.

Everything you expect from a modern fair is there: Deep fried foods of every shape and size, demolition derbies, vertigo inducing rides, tests of skill and strength, and grandstand entertainment from country music to pop stars.

But the core of a State Fair is the judging that takes place inside the large fairgroud buildings. Everything from dairy cows, dogs, rabbits, arts and crafts, fruits and vegetables, photographs, preserved foods and floral arrangements will be entered from contestants around the state. Cash prizes are up for grabs as well as the coveted blue ribbons.

When you go to the fair this year, make sure you allow for plenty of time to wander around all the different exhibits and entrants. In between sessions of fried dough, ferris wheel rides and winning stuffed animals, take a few moments to marvel at the hard work that produces Vermont's most valuable resources. Talk to some of the experts at the forestry exhibit and learn what Vermont's forests produce, talk to a maple producer or learn what it takes to raise a prize winning thoroughbred horse. 

The Order of Patrons and Husbandry is better known as The Grange. Formed in 1867 The Grange is the oldest agricultural society in the country with over 300,000 members in 36 states. It provides support for Vermont's agricultural families and is an advocate for legislation and helps preserve a way of life that has supported the community for generations.

The Grange has been an integral part of The Vermont State Fair and this year you will find their exhibits inside the Bergstrom building where members will have submitted produce, arts and crafts, preserved foods, flowers and photographs to be judged. It is always amazing to see what it is possible to grow and produce right here in Vermont. The Grange exhibits the best of the best to fair attendees and shows off the local bounty well.

The Vermont State Fair also has an open event so anyone can enter. The categories are exhaustive. If you can grow it, raise it or make it in Vermont, it is at the Fair vying for that blue ribbon.

Another group with their hard work on display are the local 4-H clubs. The University of Vermont 4-H program has offices in every Vermont County and the organization is proud to  support "a community of young people learning leadership, citizenry and life skills." 4-H stands for Head, Heart, Hands and Health and the Bergstrom building will also show off what club members have been working on all year. The many different kinds of livestock that Vermonters raise will be on display as well. Most of these have been entered into judging competitions as well. There are animals that prove their value in tests of strength in pulling contests and harness racing.

The Vermont State Fair prides itself in being inexpensive entertainment that the whole family can enjoy.

Some of the better deals to be had include "dollar day" Tuesday, September 4 where admission is a dollar for all ages. All rides on Tuesday are also only a dollar. Then there is Customer Appreciation Day on Wednesday, September 5 where admission is free. Donations to the Mentor Connector of Rutland County will be accepted. Another bargain is Family Day the following Thursday, September 6 where admission is $15 with free unlimited rides.

Grandstand entertainment like the demolition derbies and the music concerts are always extra. But free shows and exhibits are plentiful around the fairgrounds on a daily basis. Don't miss the racing pigs! They race several times a day, every day. For a complete list of events and schedules visit www.vermontstatefair.net.

Tagged: Vermont State Fair, Labor Day Weekend