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Alexandria Fair and Horse Show (August 27–September 4)
When the sign outside Alexandria Drugs proclaims “Fair Books Are Here,” that’s a sure sign the season is winding down.
These free directories are the bible of summer’s last stand, a guide to the schedule of events (the parade on Wednesday, the pageants on Thursday, the cattle show on Friday, the karaoke contest Saturday, the hat contest Sunday, the pedal tractor pull Monday) that serves as your planner, scorecard, yearbook, and all-around souvenir of the festivities. The centerpiece of all the action is the horse show, which runs in seven sessions; more than 100 classes will take to the show ring before it’s all said and done. You’ll see riders of every age, in English and Western styles, in saddle and driving a variety of carriages. Once you’ve seen all that horseflesh, wander over to the exhibit hall and check out the bounty: hams, tomatoes, beans, squash, giant zucchini, pumpkins, canned goods, cookies, cakes, candies—the winners bearing blue first-place ribbons.
The livestock barns and their 4-H-raised denizens are worth meeting too, the steers, lambs, and hogs faithfully tended by their young owners. It all seems a little bit out of time, in the late summer darkness, this winding down of one season and the gathering in to cooler days ahead. So head to the neon midway’s bright lights and order that funnel cake. It’ll be a while before the fair rolls back into town again. 100 Fairground Rd., Alexandria, alexandriafairandhorseshow.com