To be the premier entertainment center in the region and provide memorable experiences for our community's residents and visitors.History of Augusta Expo:
In the late 60s,with the help of a group of business leaders and farmers, along with local Ruritan Club members, the vision of an Entertainment Center in the Valley was born. Through their efforts, Augusta Agricultural-Industrial Exposition was established receiving its Certificate of Incorporation on July 22, 1969. The 25-acre Yost Miller Farm was purchased that year and Expo was on the go.
We are a 501(c)3 non-profit, member-based organization with the purpose of promoting the agricultural and industrial assets of Augusta County by providing a multi-purpose venue for all types of agricultural events, trade shows, concerts, fairs and business meetings.
In the 70s, the volunteer Board of Directors and committees worked tirelessly to build structures to organize a variety of events. As the organization and facilities grew, so did the events they offered. In 1972 the County Agricultural Fair was held on the new grounds, which continued for 22 years.
During the 70s and 80s, the schedule was full of all types of events, from cattle sales to formal dances. The Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians Orchestra played for Expo’s first Christmas dance in 1972. And the list of celebrities continued to grow – Expo was THE place to go – and still is!
Many of us have great memories of celebrity visits over the years, to name a few:
- Les Brown and his Band of Renown, Sammy Kaye Orchestra and the Glenn Miller Big Band
- Paul Harvey and Ronald Reagan held rallies here with Wake Up America
- Billy Graham Crusade held here in 1984
- Concerts held by Conway Twitty in 1980, Anita Bryant, Merle Haggard, Charlie Daniels, Lester Flatt, the US Marine Band and the US Navy Band, Ricky Skaggs, Gene Watson, the Fabulous Hubcaps, Wilson Fairchild, Ronnie McDowell and Las Vegas Elvis impersonator, Michael Hoover.
- We participated in NASCAR’s Hayride 500 in 1988 as a gathering center for hay bales to be taken to the flooded areas of the Mid-West
- A Boy Scout Jamboree was held here in 2010 with thousands of Boy Scouts attending
- Mitt Romney held a campaign rally here in 2012
- Even the Budweiser Clydesdales were here in 1977!
Our events have ranged from the ever-popular tractor pulls, horse shows, monster truck shows, circuses, rodeos, barn dances and pig sales to formal dinner dances, concerts, arts and crafts fairs, food shows, business training meetings and car shows.
The first joint Spring Fling with Staunton and Waynesboro Chambers of Commerce was held here in 1974.
One of our greatest partners is the Augusta County Fair Board which has held the County Fair here for nearly 20 years. Other long-standing partners call us home, most more than 25 years – the Western Virginia Sports Show, Shenandoah Antique Expo, Performance Motorsports Monster Truck Show, C & E Gun Shows, Virginia Farm Show, Skyline Kennel Club Dog Show, Victory Worship Center’s Kids Fun Night, and more recently American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the 4-H FFA Market Animal Show and Sale. Our own Expo sponsored Home and Garden Show is going into its 36th year and our long-standing semi-annual Arts and Crafts Shows get more popular each year.
In 2008 Expo became the Designated Disaster Site for Augusta Health, Augusta County SPCA and local utilities as command centers. The hospital installed a backup diesel generator out back, therefore should the power go out tonight, you will not notice more than a flicker!
As you probably remember during the derecho several years ago, our whole property was turned over to Dominion Power as a command center for help coming from neighboring states.
We have facilities to suit most any type of event. The largest building is Expo Hall, 21,600 square feet in which you’re standing now was completed in 1972 at a cost of $250,000. Other facilities added over the years include additions to both sides of this hall, one named in memory of George Beam, an original incorporator. There are several barns, a multi-purpose building, tractor pull track, horse ring and the Pavilion. This Pavilion was built in 1979 and named the Dick Coffey Pavilion in memory of the very popular Extension Agent through a large donation by the 4-H Clubs in Augusta County.
We have a long and proud history. Our success has been due to the efforts of many people over the years, businesses who donated funds and equipment, and our many loyal volunteers who complement our small staff in numerous ways from collecting trash to flipping burgers.
With heartfelt thanks to many for bringing us this far, we’re planning an even bigger and better future for our next 47 years!