Summer's Best: Arlington County Fair

Published on August 15, 2016

  • 17 — 21 at Thomas Jefferson Community Center

  • "Groovy since 1977" -- 40 years of family fun

  • Largest free-entry County Fair in Virginia

Summer wouldn't be summer without the Arlington County Fair. This year's fair opens Wed., August 17 at 5 p.m. and runs through Sun., August 21 at Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 2nd St. S.

As always, entry is free, with nearly 100 free events planned. There will also be carnival rides, local vendors, food trucks and competitive exhibits highlighting area talent.

[caption id="attachment_9089" align="alignright" width="300"]girl looks at exhibits Let the competition begin.[/caption]

"Our theme this year, 'Groovy Since 1977,' not only celebrates our first fair but every year since as we come together as a community to showcase the best of Arlington," said Rene Gornall, Arlington County Fair Board Chair. "Come by the fair to have fun and meet neighbors, and also consider joining the Fair Board. Together we can keep this great tradition moving forward."

County government at the fair

Arlington County government will be well represented among the fair's indoor vendors.  Explore some of the many services and programs the County has to offer — we'll have information and displays on public engagement, sustainability, families, history and voting. Learn about our solar co-op and home energy rebates from AIRE, the County's sustainability and energy conservation program. Check out a sample voting booth and ballot.

Tell us what you like about Arlington's parks; what you want to see more of in our parks. Learn what you need to take with you in an emergency, and find out what goes in to recycling our waste. You'll also have a chance to learn more about our many commissions and find out how you can get involved.

Outdoor fun

The outdoor fun begins with the 5 p.m. ribbon-cutting on Wed., August 17 in front of the Thomas Jefferson Community Center. There will be pony rides, True Health Kids Obstacle Course and animal races. The following days will feature free musical performances, Harlem Wizards, dancers, exhibitions and more.

[caption id="attachment_9088" align="alignright" width="300"]aerial fair ride Thrills and chills.[/caption]

On Sat., August 20, there will be a parade to the fair, starting at 10 a.m. outside the Arlington Career Center, proceeding along S. Highland to 2nd St. S., and finishing at the fairground.

What's new?

This year you'll have even more culinary delights to choose from, with an expanded array of food trucks. There will also be a Photo of the Day Contest and a "Find the Disco Ball" contest (a tribute to the Fair's 1977 birth), with prizes for the winners. A Photo Booth will honor dedicated fair volunteer and two-time fair board member Terrance Miller, who passed away this year.

Getting there

There is no public parking at the fair, and parking on nearby streets is restricted to neighborhood residents with temporary permits. However, there are numerous ways to get to the fair, including shuttle service (Ballston Metro, the Arlington Career Center, Pentagon City Metro and the I-66 parking garage), public transit and a bike valet service.

2016 County Fair hours

Ribbon Cutting: Wed., Aug. 17 5 p.m.

Parade: Sat. Aug. 20, 10 a.m.

Indoor HoursOutdoor Hours
Wed., Aug. 17N/A5 — 10 p.m.
Thurs., Aug. 18N/A5 — 10 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 194 — 10 p.m2 — 11 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 2010 a.m. — 9 p.m.10 a.m. — 11 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 2111 a.m. — 7 p.m.11 a.m. — 10 p.m.


For more information, visit the Arlington County Fair website. You can also follow the event on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.