Is it just me, or did anyone else notice the horrendous job those responsible for getting state fair goers in and out of the new location did? Did they not plan for the thousands that might show up?
First, there is only one long, 2-lane road into the new facility, which goes for miles after exiting 95. The glut of cars on this inadequate road created a backup all the way to 95 north, and stretched for miles -- all the way back to Richmond.
Then, the troupers who were supposedly responsible for directing traffic, were untrained and had no real plan for where they were directing cars once they were headed down this road, towards the fairgrounds. They only had one entrance into the parking area -- which you needed a 4-wheel drive to get across, the fields were so rutted and uneven.
The best part was yet to come -- trying to actually leave the fair! Did they forget there needed to be exits out of the acres of parking? We sat for an hour in a terrible gridlock of cars trying to get out the one exit we could find, that eventually was closed by a lone event employee. No signs, no one directing visitors to any other exits.
Out of frustration, we got out of out car and walked up to the nearest trouper who was only allowing traffic into the fair, not out. He said he was told to concentrate on getting cars in. (duh) Eventually even those cars couldn't get in, blocked by all the cars not allowed to exit. What a mess!
By chance, walking back to our car, we noticed one opened gate, unattended, that emptied out to the main street, away from the traffic snarl the troupers had created. We broke out of the line, headed across the acres of lot, and were at last free!
By the time we got onto 95 heading back to Richmond, we could see the full extent of the gridlock they'd created -- now thankfully for us, on the other side of the freeway.
What an example of ineptitude and poor planning for our own state fair! Is this really the best Virginia can do for an event of this size? If so, now I know why the Confederacy never had a chance!
In late September through to early October, the State Fair is held on Strawberry Hill on the Richmond International Raceway Complex. That will soon change, as the State Fair's lease for there will expire round about 2007 and it is not known for sure where they will set up next. The most likely spot is in rural Caroline County, well to the north of Richmond touching suburban Hanover County. There are plenty of agricultural exhibits, rides, and typical carnival foods (corn dogs- weiners on a stick surrounded by cornbread, funnel cakes, and candy apples). I'm not normally keen on the rides, games, and food at the fair because the rides are put up and taken down regularly, the operators seem dodgy, and the food is not what I would call the best. However, I was there in 2005 to help my favourite candidate together with friends. Adam wanted to get some sweet kettle corn after the event was over.