Just One And Done?
State Livestock Show May Not Return To Rockingham County
Posted: October 15, 2012
HARRISONBURG — The Rockingham County Fairgrounds played host to the state’s signature livestock show over the weekend, bringing one of the commonwealth’s main agricultural events to its No. 1 agricultural county.
The Virginia Junior Livestock Expo kicked off Friday and wrapped up Sunday, drawing hundreds of participants to the facility south of Harrisonburg.
It was the first and could very well be the only time for the Valley to host the event.
Virginia Cooperative Extension officials decided to have the show at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in April after the bankrupt State Fair of Virginia in Carolina County announced plans to cease operations.
At the time, it was unclear whether there would be a State Fair this year.
Now under new ownership, the state fair’s future is more certain, and the question is where the youth livestock show will be held next year.
“That is the underlying question everybody wants to know,” said Jeff Ishee, general manager of the Rockingham County Fair.
The agricultural extension agency, based at Virginia Tech, organizes the contest.
All 4-H and FFA members in the state are eligible to show market cattle, sheep, swine and goats.
As the State Fair of Virginia organization slogged through bankruptcy proceedings, organizers of the livestock show set plans in place to hold the event in Rockingham County this year to ensure the show would go on.
In July, a Tennessee-based company bought the State Fair’s assets.
Universal Fairs partnered with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, and they put on the 10-day state fair in Caroline County, minus the livestock show. The fair wrapped up on Oct. 7.
No Decision On Future Site
Paige Pratt, youth livestock extension specialist, said it hasn’t been determined yet where the show will be held next year.
Extension officials will meet with the State Fair’s new owners and the Farm Bureau Federation at some point in the future, Pratt said, but she does not know when a decision will be made.
“We’re working to get that figured out,” she said.
Ishee said he has heard nothing but positive feedback about Rockingham County Fairgrounds as the venue, and he hopes the show will be back next year.
“Obviously I’m biased being general manager [of the fairgrounds],” he said. “But not a single person came up to me and said ‘Well, we probably ought to move it back to Caroline County.’”
Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or firstname.lastname@example.org