City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Catch the Fun!

The Chesterfield County Fair is back and better than ever after COVID forced its cancellation in 2020

Article by Mary Ellin Arch

Photography by Courtesy Chesterfield County Fair

Originally published in Midlothian Lifestyle

After a year of COVID cancellations, the Chesterfield County Fair is back and better than ever for 2021.

The fun begins Aug. 27 and runs through Sept. 4 at the County Fairgrounds, 10300 Courthouse Road, where the fair has operated since 1989.

“To say that we’re excited to have the fair this year is an understatement,” said Brenda White, general manager of the fair.

This year marks 110 years since the fair was first held October 25-26, 1911, at what is now the Chesterfield government complex area. The idea for an agricultural fair originated with Sen. John Benjamin Watkins, a co-founder of Watkins Nursery and the Fair Association’s first president.

The 2021 event is the 108th fair to be held – in addition to the cancellation last year due to COVID-19, the fair did not take place two other times due to war.

“We are grateful that the governor has lifted restrictions so that our visitors can fully enjoy themselves,” said Brenda, who has overseen all aspects of the fair for eight years. “Of course, we’ll take the necessary precautions for sanitation and cleanliness to keep our visitors safe.”

At its inception, the fair gave local farmers a place to display agricultural items and gather with friends and the community, and this focus continues today. Since 1998, the Arts & Crafts Building – named for Mary Chalkley, who has been in charge of it for 50+ years – has brimmed with canned goods, flowers, vegetables, needlecraft, and artwork, many entered for judging with winners receiving blue ribbons.

Today, though, the fair is more than agriculture. It’s become an annual extravaganza showcasing an eclectic entertainment mix of live music, parades, rodeos, chainsaw art, comedy and magic shows, barrel train rides and train displays, animal exhibits, pig races and even a high-wire pirate show.

The Fair’s midway provider, Jolly Shows, offers an array of rides including kiddie rides. Riders pay general admission to access the fairgrounds and then purchase ride tickets/wristbands (all rides for one low price).

Historical attractions include Heritage Village, where visitors can step back in time to see blacksmithing, Civil War artifacts and hospital display, primitive tools and utensils, American music demonstration, weaving, woodworking, and even a World War II naval equipment exhibit. 

Food fun includes the Chesterfield Cheers Beer Garden, funnel cakes, fried Twinkies and other goodies offered by Jolly Shows.

An annual highlight is the Miss Chesterfield County Fair Pageant, with the winner crowned during the fair’s run and advancing to the Miss Virginia Association of Fairs pageant. The fair also presents several scholarships.

“It’s time for us all to get out of our houses, meet up with friends and family — and come catch the fun at the Chesterfield County Fair!” said Brenda.

Fair hours:  5-11 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. weekends. Tickets: adults (13-59) $10, seniors (60+) $7, children (4-12) $5, and kids 3 and under free. Admission ticket includes all entertainment. Rides, food, and souvenirs not included in the admission price. For details, or to purchase admission and ride tickets online: