There are traditions, and then there are half-century traditions. The Washington County Fair is an enduring part of summer in Rhode Island and a throwback to the state’s agricultural past, blending a carnival midway and live country and rock music from national acts with such down-home activities as tractor pulls, livestock competitions, and a watermelon-seed spitting contest. All this for the family friendly price of just $10/5 tickets for $40 (ride tickets extra).
The fair has several key attractions: livestock and agricultural exhibits (yes, you can meet prize cows, pigs, rabbits, and more!), a carnival midway, copious food stands (most benefitting local charities and community organizations), artists and others hawking their wares, a pair of stages for live music, and an arena where tractor pulls, tug of war contents, and other competitions are held. It’s an immersive experience — you’ll probably be surprised how “country” Rhode Island can be — and there’s plenty here to keep you occupied and entertained for half a day, especially if you have kids.
The Fair, held at the fairgrounds in Richmond (78 Richmond Townhouse Road) runs all day and into the evenings from Wednesday to Saturday, then knocks off around dinnertime on Sunday. Beat the crowds by going Wednesday night to see country music from performers like John Michael Montgomery and you’ll enjoy a free fireworks show, too!
(All photos © Bob Curley)