WINDSOR, Va. (WAVY) — The 2022 Isle of Wight County Fair opens Thursday, Sept. 15 for its 29th year with hopes of reaching record attendance.

In 2019, the fair set a record with 35,107 people attending over four days.

The forecast is looking fantastic for this year’s event.

Danny Byrum, who is in his 10th year as chairman of the fair committee said with good weather forecasted he believes that record can be broken.

“We started off with a record at the tractor pull on Saturday,” Byrum said. “We’re hopeful that is indicative of what is to come.”

The fair is held at the Heritage Park & Joel C. Bradshaw Fairgrounds in Windsor Thursday through Sunday.

Byrum said it is the largest fair in the Hampton Roads market, with a midway, more than 20 food vendors, monster truck rides, rodeo, demolition derby, a ninja experience, plenty of animals, entertainment and fireworks Saturday night.

However, he said the focus by far for him are the students in 4-H and Future Farmers of America.

“To me it’s all about the kids,” Byrum said. “Fairs were done primarily to promote agriculture and all the roots of agriculture.”

The importance of educating the younger generation of the importance of agriculture is only increasing according to Kirk Jones, chair of the 4-H program at the fairgrounds.

He is a seventh generation farmer himself.

86% of U.S. agricultural products are produced on family farms or ranches according to the U.S. Farm Bureau. However, the average age for a farmer in America today has increased to 59, according to AGAmerica Lending.

“Farming you know, is a dying thing,” Jones said. “4-H is helping.”

4-H is a national organization run through more than 100 public universities across the nation. It’s goal is to provide “experiences where young people learn by doing” according to the 4-H website.

In this case, that means showing animals.

“There was an exhibitor two years ago. She is actually at (Virginia) Tech right now because she fell in love with the animals in 4-H,” Jones said. “If we can influence one or two kids this weekend. It seems small. But it’s a big difference, it’s a big change. You never know where that kid may end up in the farming industry.”

Both 4-H and students from the county school’s Agricultural Land Lab can be found each day of the fair in one of three brand new steal barns the county paid $424,500 to build this year.

Smithfield High School students Damion Bailey, Jasmine Serrano, Jazmin Miranda and Labrice Bailey will be showing off their hydroponic table where they are growing lettuce.

“It’s almost like an escape from actual life almost,” Miranda, 16, said. “Because you get a new experience that you are not used to.”

The fair runs 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Thursday with “Carload Night.” The cost to enter is $50 online, or $55 at the gate per vehicle. This price includes admission to the fair and wristbands for “all you can ride” Midway rides for up to 8 persons.

The rest of fair prices and hours follows:

  • Friday September 16, 2022 (10 a.m. – 11 p.m.)
  • Saturday September 17, 2022 (10 a.m. – 11 p.m.)
  • Saturday September 17, 2022 (10 a.m. – 11 p.m.)
  • Ages 6 to 12 years $8 (online) $10 at the gate
  • Ages 13 and above $10 (online) $15 at the gate
  • Children 5 and under enter for FREE
  • 2 Day pass $18 (online only)
  • 3 Day pass $26 (online only)

More information can be found on the fairs website