In All Fairness

We love the state fair. Call it what you will, but for some reason (maybe the fried gutbombs on a stick? or the array of non-chihuahua animals?) we just get a kick out of going every year. So when the State Fair of Virginia rolled around again this year, of course we were there.

We honestly didn’t expect to see anything blogworthy there – since photos of us stuffing funnel cake down our traps doesn’t quite qualify as “decor inspiration.” But as we snapped pictures of our trip for our own little album we kept coming across cool shots that had us saying “Man, you could almost throw a frame around this and call it art” (which you know we’ve been known to do).

So with that in mind, here’s some visual fare from the fair that we think could be frameworthy – especially if you happen to be better photographers than us.

We snapped these at a vendor selling bulk candy. We didn’t buy any (bummer, I know) but we at least treated ourselves to these colorful close-ups that could brighten up a kid’s room or be a sweet addition to an office (or kitchen!). Though I think I put on a few pounds just looking at them…

If our last name was Eatersik or Neatersik, these snapshots of lighted carnival letters would make great, punchy monogram art for our house (and you know we love a good monogram). Maybe if we’d looked harder we would’ve found a sign for Pie or Pumpkins. I guess there’s always next year.

In keeping with the circus theme, we found the bold stripes of the tents to be quite interesting – almost sophisticated with the right color affect on them (picture it as a graphic high-contrast black and white print with a large white mat in a sleek black frame).

And since it wouldn’t be the fair without farm animals, we risked life and limb to get this close-up of baby ducks (actually, the one in the foreground did poke our digital camera with its beak through the cage. We survived, thank goodness). Who knew ducklings huddled under a heat lamp could be such a nice pop of soft and fuzzy yellow art? And the one in the foreground is really connecting with the camera. Tyra would be proud.

But if ducks are too cutesy for your space, Sherry snagged this pic of bees on honeycomb at one of the agriculture exhibits. Our shot was thwarted a bit by the protective glass casing (not that we’d have it any other way), but the resulting blurriness still had an interesting look to it (we picture this blown up huge in a modern space). Buzzworthy, no?

So that’s a sampling of the potential art we uncovered at the state fair. The lesson? You never know where taking the time to tote your camera along could result in some free wall art (well, it may cost a few bucks to get it blown up at CVS or Kinkos but it’s still majorly affordable- plus you get the pride of saying you snapped the shots yourself). And of course we got this non art-worthy obligatory shot of me in funnel cake heaven. Ahhh, the powdered-sugared memories. Sidenote: do you like how I powdered my pants and struck my best Zoolander pose?

Anyone else been to this (or another) state fair recently? We know our Facebook friends seem to be big fans, but would love to hear if anyone else has discovered some inspiration there as well. Even if it was just your mouth “discovering” some strange-but-delicious fried treats.

PS: The State Fair of Virginia runs through this weekend (October 4th) if you want to check it out for yourself. Sherry and I were quite wow-ed by the new location too. And don’t forget your camera!


  1. Kristen says

    We have a big regional fair called the Big E. It is for all of New England. I went on Tuesday with my family and we took some pics of the carnival rides with their lights. There is something wonderful about a fair.

  2. Christin says

    Nice pics. :) This is totally off topic from your post, but I was in Target the other day and thought of you guys (I know I don’t actually know you, but I swear it’s not creepy!) I was at Target and looking at the seasonal section full of Fall colored plates and cups etc. I saw a set of small white ceramic fall leaf plates. I tried looking online for a link to send you guys, but I couldn’t find one. They looked right up your ally. They’d be perfect as small candy dishes or maybe to hold a votive or two. Just thought I’d let you know. :)

    • says

      Hey Christin,

      Ok, we totally know what you’re talking about because we saw them too! And I was immediately smitten. Of course our basket was full of other stuff so we resisted, but now that you’ve reminded me of those lovelies I just might have to make them mine. Fingers crossed for a sale…


  3. Noelle says

    Well, we over here in Minnesota are fair fiends. I don’t know how big state fairs are in other states, but here it’s HUGE. It’s a “food orgy” as my mom described it, where you can get just about anything you want to eat on a stick – hot dogs (natch), bacon, steak dinner, giant dill pickle, hotdish (casserole to you non-MN folk)….it goes on and on. There’s also tons of kooky options like fried alligator nuggets (“gator tators”) or deep-fried fruit. This year I went…twice…and gorged myself on a couple Pronto Pups, a pickle on a stick, Sweet Martha’s chocolate chip cookies (MN state fair classic), mini-donuts, cheese curds and deep fried Oreos. Remember this was two trips so it wasn’t all in one day, thank goodness.

  4. says

    I absolutely LOVE the large typography letters and think they would look fantastic in a grouping with some other art. It’s amazing where you’ll find inspiration. And the picture of John is priceless! :)

  5. Chirsta M says

    “And the one in the foreground is really connecting with the camera. Tyra would be proud.” Haha…that was so unexpected…thanks for the chuckle!

  6. says

    Great post – I love these pics. I think the candy ones would be great in a kids playroom! Funny, I was just thinking about doing a similar post on some great pics I took at the fair just the other day! Now, I am going to do it, and link to you guys as inspiration!

  7. Tracie says

    Wish it was closer to Harrisonburg! With grad school in full swing, we won’t be able to make the drive to Richmond this year. Looks like you guys had a blast, though! Thanks for sharing the pictures!

  8. says

    I love the bold architectural letters. To improve my photography skills, my current project is to get photos of all the letters of the alphabet. So far, I have found a lot of interesting M’s, W’s and E’s. I’m always on the look out for the uncommon letters – X, Y, Z and so on. I usually find them though when I dont have the camera with me!

  9. Meredith says

    The Iowa State Fair rocks my socks off. I saw your post and was like “State Fair in October? BRR!” but I realized you are in VA, which is perhaps a bit warmer than the Midwest. Iowa State Fair is in August every year; there’s always a cow carved out of butter and then some other cultural icon; 2008 was Shawn Johnson, this year it was supposed to be Michael Jackson but there was a great controversy (seriously; there was voting) and they wound up celebrating the 40th anniversary of the moonwalk instead. I don’t know that butter sculpture has a place in my living room yet, but it would be different!

  10. Sara says

    I love the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. It’s awesome and so much fun to go to. We are taking my son this year for the first time.

  11. Robyn C. says

    I’m actually going to the Tennessee State Fair tonight(Lawrenceburg). They too have awesome fair grounds. I have been every year since I was a lil’ tot. The only difference… we use to ride rides for 25 cents! Nothing “fair” about the fair anymore, but I would’nt miss that footlong corn dog for nothing! :) Oh, I also LOVE the exhibits. It’s cool to see all those blue ribbons!

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