Washington County Fair raises over $30K for Hasbro Children’s Hospital

RICHMOND – The Washington County Fair partnered with Rockwell Amusements and vendors and patrons at the five-day fair to raise more than $30,000 for the Hasbro Children’s Hospital. During the fair, which took place Aug. 14-18, Rockwell offered guests a complimentary merry-go-round ride for a minimum $2 donation to Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

September 3, 2019

Washington County Fair Mixes Old Time Feel with Modern Day Fun

There is something magical about preserving the old time feel of a county fair while keeping it relevant for tomorrow. Step through the gates of the 53rd annual Washington County Fair this August 14–18 and feel like a kid again – relive the sights and sounds you remember fondly and let the homegrown atmosphere bring you back to a simpler time.

Still, expect to be wowed by modern day excitement. This local tradition that welcomed more than 100,000 attendees in 2018 provides the best of both worlds by honoring the past and paying close attention to what keeps people happy today.

“People will say they haven’t been to the fair in fifteen or twenty years, and then they come back and say, ‘Oh, well, it’s just how I remember it.’ ” Washington County Fair Entertainment Manager Mike Camacho said. “It’s an old fashioned fair, but we try to up the game every year and keep people entertained and coming back.”

Camacho books all of the musical acts each year and does his best to bring the best of country music to the fairgrounds. Big names like Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, Trisha Yearwood, Cole Swindell and Randy Houser have all graced the fair stage in the past.

“We try every year to make sure we have a nice mix of not only the legacy country artists who have been around and have lots of hits,” Camacho said,

This year’s headliners include Hardy, Jimmie Allen, Lonestar, Danielle Bradbury and Matt Stell.

Camacho, an avid music fan, remembers saving his seat in front of the fair stage long before he worked behind-the-scenes. Though he is a Rhode Island transplant, his wife was born and raised in the Ocean State and grew up going to the fair, just like her parents.

Like many patrons, the Camacho’s and other committee members can trace their connection to the fair back generations. The 100% volunteer run organization is made up of a diverse group of doctors, accountants, plumbers, electricians, builders and people from all different professions who volunteer their time to make the fair come together. It’s apparent how much of their own passion and values have generated fuel for the fair’s successful, long-term run.

What began as an agriculturally focused, one-day fair in 1967 has evolved to include some enticing new attractions, such as the largest traveling roller coaster in New England and a tented circus featuring clowns, jugglers and traditional acts.

Hungry for more than excitement? Perfect! Fairgoers can satisfy their appetites for every specialty imaginable by stopping by one of 35-40 not-for-profit food vendors. Choices range from steak sandwiches and turkey legs to french fries and strawberry shortcake.

From pie eating and sunflower seed spitting contests to tug-of-war, egg toss and arm wrestling, it’s with the best of intentions that the fair grows better every year while staying true to its time-honored roots.

“Doing something that’s bringing a sense of community, which is the whole foundation of our fair, and remembering the roots of agriculture and keeping things like that alive,” Camacho said, “It makes you feel good.”

Something good the Washington County Fair and Rockwell Amusements will be doing again this year is raising money to benefit Hasbro’s Children’s Hospital. Each party matched the first $2,500 raised in 2018. With last year’s fundraising totals exceeding $26,000, the goal is to do even better this summer.

“The hospital is focused on the fight against childhood cancer,” Camacho said. “It’s something everyone in the county fair committee and Rockwell amusements feels very strongly about.”

When you’re on the hunt for food at the fair, you can help make the difference, too. Last year, the food vendors all took part in a contest to see who could raise the most money for Hasbro. The 2018 winning food vendor was Hope Valley Fire Department with $9,895.82.

Along with the fundraising efforts of the food vendors, fair patrons can opt to donate a minimum of $2.00 to Hasbro at the fair gates. Those who donate are invited to ride the special carousel which is dedicated solely to the people who have made a donation.

Something else the fair committee has long thought about doing is offering military discounts, and this year they will finally be implementing that effort on Thursday, August 15th.


“Obviously, the military is extremely important to everyone in the country,” Comacho said.

All active and military veterans will receive admission for five dollars on Thursday, more than half off the standard eleven-dollar rate. What’s more this year, kids from ages 6-17 participated in a 500-word essay writing contest answering the prompt, Why I am proud of our military.

Winners from three different age groups will read their essay aloud on the first day of the fair.

The Washington County Fair runs rain or shine from Wednesday, August 14th through Sunday, August 18th. Admission into the fair is $11.00 while children under ten are free.

Admission includes access to all daily concerts, special acts and events, the giant midway and kiddy land area (all ride tickets and games separate), all agricultural events and shows, exhibits and displays, tractor and horse pulls and the farm museum.

“The whole goal is to keep it an affordable, family friendly place where you can come and enjoy your day,” Camacho concluded.

By Melanie Pellowski – August 8, 2019

5 Reasons to go to The Washington County Fair

1. It’s a summer tradition. A Rhode Island tradition since 1966, the Washington County Fair is the state’s largest agricultural event and outdoor fair. Spanning five days and sprawling across acres of pastoral grounds in Richmond, the festival has something for everyone: food, shopping, concerts, farm animals, special events, midway rides and so much more. This year’s extravaganza – the 51st annual – takes place on August 16-20. Tickets are only $11 for adults, and are free to kids under 10.

2. It’s a taste of Rhode Island. Over 130 food and craft vendors set up shop throughout the fair for a day of tastings and shopping. From burgers to BBQ and seafood to freshly-squeezed lemonade, enjoy an enormous variety of Rhody delicacies and outdoor festival fare. Meet local artisans and browse through a unique selection of clothing, home wares, jewelry, accessories and more.

3. You get to be a kid again. One of the highlights of the Washington County Fair is the biggest midway in Rhode Island, complete with carnival rides and games for both kids and adults. The big ferris wheel, kiddie land and New England’s largest traveling roller coaster are just a few attractions not to be missed this year.

4. The concerts are amazing. Known for its always impressive lineup of country artists, this year’s fair features crowd favorites like Rhode Island’s own Billy Gilman, Tom Wurth, William Michael Morgan, Michael Ray, Alec MacGillivray, Rachael Fusaro, Runaway June and Sundance Head, 2016 winner of The Voice. Even better, daily admission includes access to all the concerts, events and special acts.

5. It’s good, old-fashioned fun. With a nod to the past, the organizers of the Washington County Fair aim to offer families wholesome and affordable entertainment the way it used to be. To boot, proceeds are generously donated to local non-profits in the community. The best of Rhody’s agriculture is on display here, with judges awarding professional, amateur and even kid farmers ribbons in everything from heaviest zucchini to the best miniature roses. 4-H shows, an adult pie-eating contest, tractor pulls, kids’ milking contests, bunny races and hundreds of other activities and acts are all for the taking at the 51st Annual Washington County Fair.