While encountering a giant pumpkin at a state fair means you're in the competitions tent, encountering a giant pumpkin in your driveway means your fairy godmother just did away with your Ferrari or you live in a pumpkin patch. Observe pumpkins in their competitive form with today's Groupon: for $11, you get a season pass for one person (a $23 value) to the State Fair of Virginia at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, a 20-mile jaunt north of Richmond, VA. The season pass is valid for the duration of the fair from September 29 to October 9.
The State Fair of Virginia packs a lifetime of bucolic bedazzlement into 11 days of competitions, shows, concerts, and educational animal displays that run from opening to sundown. The agricultural area puts onlookers in optimum marveling distance of alpacas, horses, newborn piglets, adorable baby centaurs, and other rural wildlife. Otherwise, head to the competitions arena to cheer on wines, baked goods, and arts and crafts as they compete for prizes. Daily animal shows—including Rosaire's Racing Pigs and K9's in Flight—enthrall audiences of all ages and hoof-shape preferences. On September 30 at 7:30 p.m., Tracy Lawrence's "Time Marches On" will tickle ear canals and prep the fairgrounds for the Marshall Tucker Band's timeless ballad, "Can't You See" on October 6 at 7 p.m. Check the schedule for a full listing of events.
Free parking and free admission for children ages 2 and younger keep families from having to walk to the festival or hide newborns in their marsupial pouches. Although rides are not included in today's deal, visitors can ride any number of the fair's mechanical beasts for an extra fee.
Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival
The Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival gives visitors a chance to get an up-close view of more than 20 hot-air balloon teams from across the country, and then observe them in their natural habitat: the sky. The weekend-long festival is held on the grassy expanse of Meadow Event Park. The main attractions are the morning and early-evening flights, when all 20 colorful vessels take to the air at once and gracefully interrupt the annual paper-plane migration.
On Saturday, a sweeping balloon-glow display will light up the night sky. Meanwhile, off-site rides instill wonder with dawn or near-dusk flights in one of the balloons—and include transportation back to the grounds in the chase car. And yet balloons aren't the festival's only draw: regional crafts vendors display their hand-made apparel and arts, while craft beer and wine tastings pair with food from local restaurants. Throughout each day, live bands play classic rock and new wave, old-school jazz and R&B, and folk-infused country.
Meadow Event Park
13111 Dawn Blvd.
Doswell, Virginia 23047