They were right in thinking that pride in local agriculture would draw exhibitors into friendly competition for blue ribbons, cash prizes, and bragging rights. And it would lure visitors from near and far throughout New England for a heady dose of the country life, novelty entertainment, games of chance, thrilling rides, and sweet and salty well-oiled flavors of fast-food favorites. It’s a formula whose ingredients haven’t changed much in over a century.
Veering away from the booths, fairgoers enjoy the more social cooking demonstrations with local chefs, craft beer competitions, and even a martini bar to compliment the beer tent.
Still, it’s that scent of fried dough and burgers wafting across the midway; the whoop of a winner choosing a huge plush panda; the shriek from atop the Ring of Fire, aerialists swinging high above the crowd, an eight-year-old leading her Holstein calf to their first blue ribbon – all this and more is why the Champlain Valley Exposition’s signature Champlain Valley Fair has grown to become the largest annual event in Vermont – aptly described as the “Ten Best Days of Summer.”