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Eat and drink for a cause at one of the State Fair’s special events


Eat and drink for a cause at one of the State Fair’s special events

DOSWELL—This year’s State Fair of Virginia is offering fairgoers several opportunities to experience an event within an event—two of which benefit scholarship and agriculture education.

During this year’s fair, which will be held Sept. 22 through Oct. 1, Virginians will be able to immerse themselves in Virginia foods, enjoy craft beverages and kick up their heels in their fanciest boots while enjoying a VIP night at the fair.

A brand-new Taste of Virginia ticketed event on Sept. 28 offers fairgoers the opportunity to sample foods and beverages grown and produced across the commonwealth. Local produce will be transformed into culinary delights by celebrity chefs inside the historic Meadow Hall.

One of the chefs is Hampton Roads’ Kip Poole, who has appeared on the television show The Big Brunch and on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games.

Another celebrity chef is Steve Glenn, a finalist on Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, and the culinary director at The Underground Kitchen in Richmond. The Underground Kitchen provides a platform for chefs of color, women and those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Other chefs include Leah Branch, executive chef at The Roosevelt in Richmond and a contestant on Cooking Channel’s Sugar Showdown, and Mike Lindsey, owner, founder and executive chef for Lindsey Food Group, which operates Lillie Pearl, Buttermilk and Honey and Bully Burger restaurants in Richmond.

Additional chefs creating tasty fare during the event are Keya Wingfield, the Food Network’s 2020 baking champion; Tammy Brawley, owner of the Green Kitchen catering company in Richmond and chef on Virginia Farm Bureau’s Real Virginia television program; and Kaniyah Cary, a top contestant on the Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship, season 3, and owner of KC’s Buttercream Sweet Shoppe.

Only 250 tickets are available, and can be purchased here. If you purchase between Aug. 1 and Sept. 1, they are $75 each. After Sept. 1, tickets will be $100 each. Tickets include fair admission, premium parking and access to live music on the Main Stage. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom and the State Fair of Virginia Scholarship Program.

Another tasty event is the Blue Ribbon Craft Beer Fest on Oct. 1. Dozens of Virginia breweries will be at the fair for attendees to sample their craft beverages. Past breweries included Ballad Brewing, Harpers Ferry Brewing LLC, Lost Barrel Brewing, New Realm Brewing, Strangeways Brewery and many more.

Tickets will go on sale Sept. 1 and include fair admission as well as unlimited 5-ounce pours and a souvenir glass.

For those who want to get a little fancy, the annual Black Tie & Boots gala is back—this year on opening night, Sept. 22.

The celebration will be an indoor-outdoor event at The Meadow Event Park’s Meadow Hall and lawn in Caroline County, with proceeds benefiting the State Fair of Virginia Scholarship Program. Since 2013, the fair has awarded 2,000 scholarships and has given over $700,000 to support youth education in agriculture. Last year’s fair offered more than $92,570 in scholarship funds through 4-H, FFA and vocational competitions as well as specific equine, fine arts and horticulture competitions.

Gala-goers are welcome to explore the fairgrounds in their semi-formal attire, but leave the stilettos at home, advised The Meadow’s event planning and marketing assistant, Alexis Boyd.

The event will feature exclusive access to Meadow Hall, delectable bites by Mosaic Catering, desserts by Publix, an open bar featuring a signature cocktail, and a dance floor hopping with the modern-country sounds of Blair’s West Band. Virginia-grown oysters and an artfully carved fruit display will add to the ambiance.

Free premium parking will be available to Black Tie & Boots guests, with a shuttle for transportation to and from Meadow Hall.

“Ticket holders can expect a VIP experience during the opening night of the State Fair, starting with a red-carpet entry!” Boyd noted.

Admission to Black Tie & Boots is by advance purchase only, and the event historically sells out. Gala tickets can be purchased starting Aug. 1 here. Tickets are $125 per person through Aug. 20, and $150 per person Aug. 21 through Sept. 14.

The 2023 State Fair of Virginia will run from Sept. 22 through Oct. 1. Information is available at

The State Fair is held each fall at its permanent home at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County and attracts over 225,000 fairgoers. The event celebrates the best of Virginia’s past, present and future through scholarship initiatives, creative programming and a focus on the commonwealth’s agriculture and natural resources industries.

Contact Marlene Jolliffe, State Fair executive director, at 804-994-2802 or Pam Wiley, vice president of communications, at 804-291-6315.

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