RVA Mag covered a lot of tough subjects and put a lot of perspective into the collective atmosphere this week. While our arts, music, and cultural reporting by Angela Huckstep, Malik Hall, and Christoper McDaniel brought to bear the more prepossessing side of life, including ballet performances, the RVA Street Art Festival, and parties down in Norfolk, we still had to wade into the murky underside of political life and everything that encompasses. This started with Rich Meagher, a professor of political science at Randolph-Macon College, dropping a scathing editorial on Republican Ed Gillespie’s new campaign ad for governor. Meagher quite rightly pointed out the racist dog whistles that accompanied Gillespie’s fear-mongering ad over the Central American gang MS-13. This was followed by our continued coverage of all things Confederate, when our field reporter David Streever joined activists at city council to support a resolution calling for the removal of the statues from Monument Avenue.
Not long after that, our editorialist Matthew Sporn dialed in some serious point-of-view on how young people in Virginia are understanding and articulating the idea of free speech in a political climate where hate speech is on the rise. And just when we thought the editorial atmosphere could not get any more balmy, Nidhi Sharma challenged everyone to consider that maybe – just maybe – Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has a point on proposed plans to re-work campus sexual assault guidelines.
This doesn’t even take into account what happened over at GayRVA when Ryan Persaud bucked the usual trend of support for VA Pride Fest in a provocative and thought provoking opinion piece called Why I didn’t Go to PrideFest by stating, “The community is often seen by some as its own separate community, away from struggles of race and class. This line of thinking is why organizations such as No Justice No Pride and Black Lives Matter protest at pride events.”
However, there is always a way to pivot towards the less intrusive, less intense side of life, with RVA Mag’s Sunday Strolls. A casual meander into a world away from the comprehensive chaos of full contact politics and into something much more obvious, such as Virginia’s State Fair.
Some might find it interesting to learn that the Virginia State Fair was established by the Virginia State Agricultural Society in 1854, yet the fair was put on hold due to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1860. The fair was finally resuscitated in 1906 in the general vicinity of where The Diamond on Boulevard Avenue currently is. In 1946 the fair moved to Henrico County and eventually co-signed a lease with Richmond International Raceway. Many years later, in 2008, the fair inaugurated an $81 million dollar complex at the Meadow Event Park where you can still find it today.
The Virginia State Fair is much more than funnel cakes, rides, and games, and speaks to a much deeper idea of Americana that has become endangered due to the hyper connectivity of the 21st Century. As young people migrate towards cities and choose professions much more suited for contemporary times, things like the Virginia State Fair take on a different meaning, one filled with the nostalgia (for good or bad) of simpler times. Yet on this Sunday, we can simply take a step back and enjoy the weird and wild world which is the Virginia State fair.
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