All News & Blogs
Heat doesn't deter Orange fair visitors
Evan Dabney, 11, leads Buddy after grooming him.
Dan McFarland/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 7/29/2012
With temperatures in the 90s, keeping cool seems to be the first order of business at this year's Orange County Fair.
Despite a heat index that remained over the 100-degree mark for most of the evening, several hundred visitors enjoyed opening-night programs Thursday that ranged from a pretty animal costume contest to a clogging demonstration, parade and hog show.
In keeping with the county's rural and agricultural character, Orange puts on an old-fashioned county fair in the truest sense: no midway carnival, no high-pressure selling activities.
Ben and Laura Loveday of Rhodesville are regular fair attendees, and were wandering through the various livestock exhibit tents with their daughters on opening night.
"Last year," Laura Loveday said, "we hit the Louisa and Madison County fairs, as well as Orange."
Their 4-year-old daughter, Tarran, was looking forward to performing in the Orange Cloggers performance later in the evening. In addition to their opening-night demonstration, the Cloggers also host the 6th annual Orange County Clogging Competition at 10 a.m. today.
Much of the fair activity may be agriculture based, but not all of it is traditional. In a small tent near the food stands, Merian Burkett of Lagniappe Alpaca Farm was spinning alpaca yarn on a wheel.
"I hear people say that spinning is becoming a lost art," she said. "It is not. I must know 60 people who spin."
And although many of the contestants displaying their skills in the exhibit tent were competing in such categories as farm products, garden produce and food preparation, not all competitors lived on farms.
Lake of the Woods resident Katie Yarrow won several blue ribbons for her knitting, and judges chose Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney Diana Wheeler's eye-catching shot of her pet dogs, Poco and Priss, for a top honor in the photography contest.