Fairly tempting

Youngsters enjoyed food at last year's Midtown State Fair. The event returns to Libbie Mill July 16. (Citizen file photo)
If you've been hankering to cruise bountiful displays of produce and pies, or to laugh at wacky contests like chicken impersonating and pickle-face making – and you don't feel like waiting months for the state fair in September – you're in luck.

The Midtown State Fair returns to Libbie Mill July 16 and features all of the above and more, amid the cozy surroundings of Midtown's brick walks and waterside breezes.

A preview of November's Fire Flour & Fork, the summer fair is designed to capture the same intimate, down-to-earth feel of the fall event.

"No one on stages, and no one in vast, crowded tents,” said co-founder Susan Winiecki in a 2014 interview, describing the vision for the inaugural FFF.

As originally conceived, the state fair was part of FFF festivities in the fall. But Winiecki and co-founder Maureen Egan felt that the 2014 fair got "lost in the shuffle of things." And with the completion of the Libbie Mill library and surrounding area the following year, a new "fairgrounds" presented itself – and the Midtown State Fair was born.

Last August, some 1,500 fairgoers of all ages turned out to sample food vendors and craft beer, check out culinary demonstrations and blue-ribbon contests, and participate in activities from watermelon seed-spitting to square dancing.

Emily Waters of Glen Allen, one of the young Richmonders seen recently on Chopped Junior, won the 2016 Kids Culinary Spelling Bee, while Manakintowne Specialty Growers took home top honors in the hard-fought Farmer Cook-off.

This year, the cook-off will feature Virginia Beef and Kudu Grills, and the urban agriculture non-profit Tricycle Gardens – which will offer local produce for sale – will again share in proceeds from the event.

"The theme of Fire, Flour and Fork this year is 'Globally Inspired, Locally Made,'" said Maureen Egan, "so we're adding a global spice to the festivities."

Entertainment will include dancers from the Filipino Festival and Sacred Heart Center, in addition to square dancers.

Leading the list of new activities this year will be aluminum foil origami, a tribute to Reynolds Wrap's hometown connection. Among other attractions will be a petting zoo and hands-on crafts and games for the kids, including art with Crossroads Art Center.

And for a small fee, the kids – or sweet-toothed grown-ups – can join in on a Bake Walk for the chance to win treats from Sugar & Twine, WPA Bakery and others.

Another highlight of the games and competitions is sure to be the Human Chicken Impression Contest, according to Maureen Egan, who describes last year's contest as "remarkably vibrant and entertaining."

And if you'd rather bake a cake or pie than win one in the Bake Walk, be sure to submit your original recipe by July 10. C.F. Sauer, which is celebrating its 130th anniversary, is sponsoring the "Pretty as a Peach" pie and cake contest, so recipes for the desserts (and the "Perfect Pickle" contest) must include at least one Sauer's spice, herb or extract.

Admission and parking are free at the fair, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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For contest entry forms and a tentative schedule of events, visit midtownstatefair.com. Midtown State Fair attendees will receive a special discount code for tickets to Nov. 4 classes and talks at Fire, Flour and Fork (fireflourandfork.com). Tickets go on sale Aug. 1.
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Rolls-Royce supplier lands in Henrico


A United Kingdom-based supplier for Rolls-Royce has established an office and manufacturing center at the Byrd Industrial Park in Eastern Henrico, the Greater Richmond Partnership announced July 18.

Erodex Ltd., a graphite products maker, recently signed a five-year agreement with Rolls-Royce to supply goods to the automotive company's Crosspointe campus in Prince George, Va. Erodex invested $2 million and hired four to quickly ramp up production for its client. > Read more.

New Walmart opens in Eastern Henrico


JULY 19, 7 A.M. – Eastern Henrico's first Walmart Supercenter opens to the public today at 5001 Nine Mile Road. The store, which occupies about 190,000 square feet and employs about 300 people, is located at the site of the former Fairfield Commons Mall, which is now known as Eastgate Town Center. > Read more.

Unattended oily rags cause fire in commercial building near Richmond Raceway


Unattended oily rags that spontaneously combusted caused an early morning two-alarm fire Tuesday in a commercial building in the 3800 block of Carolina Avenue, across from Richmond Raceway.

Henrico firefighters were called at about 5:10 to respond to reports of smoke coming from the building. Once they arrived five minutes later, they found thick smoke pushing from the rood on two sides of a warehouse whose tenant specializes in woodworking and hardwood floors. > Read more.

Crime Stoppers’ Crime of the Week: July 17-23, 2017


Crime Stoppers needs your help to solve a Hit & Run in the City of Richmond.

The crime occurred in the Carver neighborhood at the intersection of West Broad and Goshen Streets, around 6:45 p.m. on Sunday, May 7. Officers were told the victim was on his motorcycle and traveling westbound on West Broad Street. > Read more.

Henrico County property transactions, July 3-9


A sample of property transactions during this period appear below:

5304 Coxson Rd. – $126,500, 1,819 SF (built in 1953), from Madeline M. Weaver to Kyle and Aja O. Powers.

2451 Yarnell Rd. – $140,700, 1,196 SF (built in 1972), from Albert C. and Mary E. Nolan to Albert C. Nolan Jr.

909 Bowitch Ct. – $194,500, 1,824 SF (built in 2001), from Agnes H. Jones to Mark A. Dawkins. > Read more.

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West Broad Village will host Movies on the Lawn starting around 9 p.m. at “The Pad” next to Aloft. The movie will be 2017’s “Beauty & the Beast.” Bring a blanket or lawn chair. Movies will continue every other Friday throughout the summer. Admission is free. For details, visit http://www.westbroadvillage.com. Full text

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