Farm Bureau acquires State Fair of Virginia
DOSELL – The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation has acquired full ownership of the State Fair of the Virginia and Meadow Event Park, the agricultural organization announced Friday.
The Virginia Farm Bureau entered into an agreement with Tennessee-based Universal Fairs on Thursday to acquire the remaining interest in the State Fair and the fair site. Terms of the agreement were not immediately disclosed.
The Virginia Farm Bureau had owned a 50 percent interest since last July after Universal Fairs acquired the State Fair of Virginia and Meadow Event Park at a bankruptcy liquidation auction.
The farm organization will continue to operate the State Fair and other special events at the historic 331-acre property, which was once home to Secretariat, the legendary Thoroughbred that won the 1973 Triple Crown.
“This is a very proud day for Virginia Farm Bureau,” said Wayne F. Pryor, president of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, in a statement issued by the organization. “Universal Fairs was a great partner for the first year, and the two groups were able to work together to continue uninterrupted operation of the State Fair after it had gone into bankruptcy just months earlier.”
“Farm Bureau’s mission is to preserve, protect and promote agriculture, and help it prosper,” said Pryor. “We’ve realized there’s no better way to showcase this great industry than through the State Fair.”
“We learned a lot and gained tremendous insight into how to operate a fair during 2012. Now, the pressure is fully on our shoulders,” Pryor said. “But we plan to expand and improve this wonderful event beginning this year and well into the future.
Mark D. Lovell, president of Universal Fairs, said keeping the State Fair open in 2012 was “a welcome challenge and an extremely rewarding opportunity.”
“It’s a unique and much-loved event,” Lovell said in the statement issued by the farm bureau, “and we were proud to open those gates and light up that property last September. I’m sure the State Fair of Virginia has a long and promising future.”
The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation will continue to promote agricultural through the State Fair with teaching exhibits, shows, and competitive events that include livestock, dairy, equine, sheep, and goats and much more, said Pryor.
“We also plan to continue the Skills USA competitions as well as competitions for photography and arts and crafts and the ever-popular Educational Expo, which hosts approximately 14,000 schoolchildren who participate in a Standards of Learning-based program and tour.”
The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest advocacy organization for farmers.