220811ind Washington County Fair

The Washington County Fair has been a tradition in Southern Rhode Island for over 50 years and this summer will be no exception as the annual five-day festival takes place in Richmond beginning next Wednesday.

Since 1967, the Washington County Fair has been the ideal family-friendly event to have fun at while basking in the summer sun. Numerous rides, exhibitors, games and contests are available to check out and partake in along with a variety of food and concessions made available for purchase. Each day also has premier country music artists performing live on stage doing both renditions of popular songs and pleasingly original material. It’s a fun time with a lot going on and attending the fair is a memorable experience that gets the local community involved. This year’s edition will take place from August 17 - 21 at 78 Richmond Townhouse Road in Richmond.

In addition to a ferris wheel, there will be an abundance of numerous carnival rides at the fair, including the largest traveling roller coaster in all of New England. For the games and contests portion of the fair, there will be a pie-eating contest, an annual tug-of-war, an egg toss, the farmer olympics and even an opportunity for people to milk their first cow. The tug-of-war takes place on August 21 at 6 p.m. with six-person teams competing in a double elimination tournament in each weight class with the prizes being $120 for first place and $60 for second. The pie-eating contest also happens on the same day at 2 p.m. for adults only with a variety of kids games happening throughout the entire event.

August 18 is Military Appreciation Day at the fair and there will be a series of contests divided amongst various age groups. Children between two and five will be able to take part in a patriotic coloring contest while those between six and 11, 12 and 16 and 17 and over will be able to get involved in the military-themed photography, art and essay contest. Each age group will get a cash prize for first place, second place and third place with the deadline being August 12. The winners will be chosen and announced on August 15 and they’ll have to bring their artwork to the fairgrounds on the following day. If the artwork isn’t received, the winner will forfeit their place and the person who placed behind them will be called.

There’s always a ton of exhibitors at the Washington County Fair and each of them bring something different. Meaning “head, heart, hands and health”, the local 4-H chapter has children and adolescents accomplish hands-on tasks that pertain to health, science, agriculture and civic engagement in a positive way where they’re guided by adult mentors and learn leadership roles. With the fair being Rhode Island’s largest agricultural event, there will be vegetable, junior vegetable, flower, grange and scarecrow exhibits happening along with various arts and crafts competitions. The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers Of America, will be showing how to operate a tractor safely, landscape exhibits and a woodsman contest. Last but not least, there will be various livestock shows and tractor pulling exhibits taking place as well.

When it comes to music, each day will have a country artist taking the stage with their band. August 17 will have tribute act Ultimate Aldean performing at 9 p.m. and playing songs originally written by country music superstar Jason Aldean. Knoxville, Tennessee native and award-winning vocalist Rodney Atkins will be performing on August 18 at 8:30 p.m.

 The Eli Young Band from Denton, Texas are going to be taking the stage on August 19 at 9 p.m. with a tripleheader happening on the following day with Nick Bosse & Northern Roots at noon, The Dugger Band at 6 p.m. and Frank Ray at 9 p.m. Closing out the fair on August 21 will be Luke Combs collaborator Drew Parker at 6 p.m.

As you can tell, the Washington County Fair has a whole abundance of activities and fun happening for a few days, if you got the time then you should go see what it’s all about. For the complete rundown of all the details, visit washingtoncountyfair-ri.com/

Rob Duguay is a Rhode Island-based music writer. Send him email at rob.c.duguay@gmail.com.

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