A Brief History About the Page Valley Fair
(From the archives of the Page News and Courier)
Before the Page Valley Agricultural and Industrial Fair began, there was a rival fair in Luray, which was staged by a non-local company and all the proceeds left Page County. It also included ‘girlie shows’ that people were not very happy about.
To counter the other fair, the original fair committee decided to take a chance and host an event that encompassed the many things that Page County had to offer, including their agriculture and businesses. They also wanted a fair that had a family friendly feel, and that would bring people to visit Page County. After months of planning, the fair made its debut on August 7-8, 1953, with admission set at $.25!
The first fair was a two day event that took place at the field beside Luray High School (now Luray Middle School). They put up temporary barns, light poles and had bingo and other things run by local people. In addition to the outside field being used, the first floor had exhibits in the rooms and hallways. The gym had fruits, veggies, flowers and homemaker products. Pony and cart rides were featured as well as a man climbing up a ladder and jumping off and doing a back flip into a tub of water from 100 feet in the air!
The current grounds were purchased and the event was moved there in 1957. Many construction projects over the years included the livestock barn, crop exhibits and commercial building, with additional buildings added over the years. The fair became a weeklong event with rides and games, and grandstand events, including truck and tractor pulls, concerts, and the demolition derby.
Another memorable fair moment was when an airplane almost landed in the center of the ring in front of the grandstand, because he was almost out of gas and he couldn’t find the airport! He was rescued by board members, as they moved their cars to create a makeshift landing spot with their headlights.
Throughout the years, the fair has tried to maintain and build on the vision of the original committee and will continue to do so.