For the second year, GrowRVA will partner with the State Fair of Virginia to provide fair-goers with the taste and variety of Virginia’s farmers markets. The fair returns from Sept. 28 thru Oct. 7 to the Meadow Event Park in Hanover County.
This year’s GrowRVA tent again includes real farmers market vendors from around the state selling the freshest and best of Virginia’s farmers. Also on hand will be the many artists and artisans whose Virginia-made products make farmers markets a unique shopping experience.
This year also will include a variety of interactive activities for fairgoers, including artist demonstrations, crafting and sewing demonstrations, a potter’s wheel throwing demonstration, and cooking demonstrations using all fresh-from-the-farm ingredients.
“We are excited to again provide fairgoers with the authentic experience of visiting a model market that represents the amazing farmers markets that operate each week throughout the state,” says GrowRVA President Karen Atkinson, who once again also is partnering with Henrico County Public Schools Transition Services to provide training opportunities for special needs students.
This partnership seeks to expand work opportunities for students with disabilities by bringing nine participants in the Cooperative Work Experience Program from Hermitage High School to the fair for on-site work experience.
“These kids are some of the most dedicated, hardest workers there are,” says Atkinson, whose own child is autistic. GrowRVA markets have long featured opportunities for special needs students.
This year’s State Fair program is an important one for Hermitage students as a number of large retailers that traditionally have provided training options for Richmond-area special needs students have recently scaled back available opportunities.
“On-the-job training is critical for students with special needs, as skills are best learned through repetition,” says Denis Alsheskie, transition coordinator for Henrico County Public Schools. Perhaps equally important, Alsheskie says, is “having the opportunity to interact with the public in a work environment. This is a critical ingredient to these students’ future success in the workforce — at whatever level they and their families choose to participate.”
For more information on GrowRVA and on this year’s State Fair of Virginia farmers market programs, call Karen Atkinson at (804) 513-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.