The 30th annual Arlington County Fair is opening today, and every Arlingtonian should make it a point to drop by sometime this weekend.
The fair is at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center on South Second Street in Arlington, just a block from the intersection of Second Street and Glebe Road. It will be open tonight from 7:00 until 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, and on Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. The outdoor activities will be open until 10:00 pm every evening.
This is the one event of the year that you can experience the great diversity of the Arlington cultural and civic life and the celebration of Arlington as a distinct and vibrant community. You will see everyone here – political, business, community, and religious groups; ethnic communities from us WASPS to the exotic Mongolian community I described in a previous column; to the Arlington government programs such as the park, social welfare, fire, and police departments that serve us so well.
If you want to find out anything and everything about life in Arlington, go to the county fair! It’s the urban equivalent to the great rural county fairs all over the country that helped define American life for many generations.
At the top of the list, of course, are the outdoor activities that define a county fair. There will be a variety of midway rides and games supplied by the famous Cole Shows Amusements. Then there will be the famous racing pigs, a petting zoo, pony rides, police K-9 demonstrations, and food booths that cover practically every kind of fair “delicacy” you can conceive of.. And, of course, you wouldn’t want to miss Betsy the Milking Cow Demonstrator or the Alberti Flea Circus sponsored by Verizon!
Entertainment on the outdoor stage will include country music performers “The Boys and Me;” Paul Storm with Groovelily “Music Without Boundaries;” Gonzo’s Nose, a beach party band; Edwin Ortiz y su Orchestre; and the reggae band DKGB.
ven more will be featured on the indoor stage including Steve Flynn as Frank Sinatra; the Children’s Spanish Chorus; headliners from Comedy Sportz in the Ballston Mall; the Arlingtones; the Old Dominion Cloggers; and the Midnight Special Quartet, to name just a few. The full schedule of events can be found at www.arlingtoncountyfair.org.
At the real heart of the fair are literally hundreds of booths of virtually every civic, cultural, academic, government, special interest, political, and church group in Arlington. And there are the traditional county fair exhibits such as honey and bees wax, decorated food products and baked goods, needlework, wearing apparel, crafts, stuffed animals, fine arts and photography, and flower arrangements and potted plants. You name it and it will probably be there.
Some 40 to 60,000 people are expected, so you can imagine what he parking situation will be like. The county strongly recommends that you take a shuttle bus from the Arlington Career Center at 816 South Walter Reed Drive, the Barcroft Sports Complex at 4200 South Four Mile Run Drive, the I-66 parking garage at W-L High School on the corner of North Quincy Street and North 15th Street, or the Ballston Metro station. The shuttles will begin one hour before the fair opens to one hour after it closes.
And if all of this is not incentive enough, your intrepid columnist will be manning the Arlington Learning in Retirement booth from 1 until 4 pm on Saturday.
This is really the must do Arlington event of the year. “See You at the Fair.”