I hope you were one of the lucky ones to make it out to the Virginia State Fair during its 11 day run. If you were, I hope you took the time to find the Virginia State Park exhibit in the Natural Heritage Park area. I have been part of this exhibit for about a decade; at first one of the worker bees and in recent years became the coordinator.
Without a doubt, this was the busiest year we ever had at our exhibit. Maybe it was due to the near perfect weather, maybe it was the new venue for the Fair in Caroline County, or maybe it was just because more people are seeking us out to find more about our extremely affordable, family friendly, award winning State Parks. The exhibit had 3 main stations that included, hunting for sharks teeth in the sand, panning for gold and discovering fairy stones around a campsite. We also had a new addition in our line up, the “Ranger Smith” cut out for picture taking. In addition we had several special displays brought in by rotating interpreters from our parks in the field.
Special programs included, fossil frenzy, tracks and scat, birds of a feather, reptiles alive, the wonder of the peanut, skins and skulls, and the whitetail deer. The staff did an excellent job helping visitors discover the many wonders of our parks and what recreational opportunities await their visit. I always enjoy seeing the “kid” come out in adults when it comes to a visit to the State Fair and more specifically our exhibit. I had one gentleman on his hands and knees for over 15 minutes looking for the “perfect” fairy stone. There were also some adults hunting for sharks teeth as if they were on the beach at Westmoreland itself. There were several more adults that panned for gold for long periods of time with the hopes of striking it rich. And there were so many others that got involved in the many programs that were offered throughout the Fair. It was the real kids though that couldn’t get enough of our exhibit and eventually teachers or parents had to pull them away.
Although many could only spend a little time with us, the good news is that everything we had at the fair is available at your Virginia State Parks. So please plan a day trip or an overnight trip to one of our many beautiful parks. Don’t miss the splendor and beauty of the changing of the leaves this fall, or the tranquil peacefulness of a first snow fall this winter.
My thanks to all the park staff and volunteers that made this year at the Fair such a big success, especially the wonderful staff at York River State Park which not only helped man the exhibit, but also helped with the set up and take down!