Local fair gives gifts, games and garlic fries


Izzy Siedman, Life Editor

The No. 2 Chittenden County bus pulled up to the Essex Junction stop and unloaded several gaggles of grinning college students just as the late summer sun fell.

From Aug. 25 to Sept. 3, a Green Mountain Transit bus released UVM students on the outskirts of the Champlain Valley Fair Grounds. The fair includes a 130-acre area with a racetrack, grandstand, livestock barns and numerous open fields.

The Champlain Valley Exposition, where the annual fair and other public events are held was first formed in 1922 by a committee determined to create a “true county fair,” according to the CVExpo website.

The fair is advertised in the Week of Welcome guidebook and offers free entry to anyone with a valid student ID on Thursday.

“I’m from Vermont, so I’ve known about the fair and always wanted to go,” first-year Morgan Dexter said. “I finally went this year because I saw that, in the UVM WOW packet, students get in for free.”

Dexter and three of her friends originally followed the packet’s advice and caught a shuttle at the Medical Center, she said.

They were not the only ones looking to use public transit; they found the bus filled to the brim and opted to take a friend’s car instead, Dexter said.

Each day at the fair was slightly different, with races, livestock shows, demolition derbies, raffles and live performances from groups such as Navytrain, winner of UVM’s Battle of the Bands last spring.

However, classic fair food, neon-colored rides and stuffed animal prizes are daily staples of the Champlain Valley Fair.

Some were there to see the sparkling grounds from atop the Ferris wheel while others took a 50-cent peek at the world’s smallest horse, but everyone was there for the array of fair treats.

Though most food stalls closed around 10 p.m., Dexter said she was lucky to find a tasty option after arriving at the fair late. “I stumbled upon a place selling garlic parmesan fries,” she said.

“My favorite part of the fair was getting a fried Oreo for free,” sophomore Deni Ranguelova said. “The guy was really nice to give it to me, but my tummy also regretted eating fried dough the next morning.”

Despite the chilly temperature of 52 degrees, nostalgia and the smell of kettle corn floated through the Champlain Valley Fair Grounds as students and locals enjoyed each other’s company with smiles.

“I think it’s a great way to end the week and segue into the first semester,” sophomore Cameron Smith said. “After a week of focusing on learning and what you will need for each class, you can sit back and enjoy a fair.”