A. Pursuant to the authority granted in § 58.1-3703, the governing body of any county, city or town may levy and collect a license tax, the amount to be fixed by the governing body of such county, city or town, for each performance held in such county, city or town given by or upon carnivals, circuses or speedways which are operating within the limits of such county, city or town. Until such tax has been paid, the county, city or town shall have a lien upon the property of such carnival, circus or speedway to the extent of the unpaid tax.Every person, firm, company or corporation which exhibits or gives a performance or exhibition of any of the shows, carnivals, or circuses, above described in this section, without the license required shall be fined not less than $ 50 nor more than $ 500 for each offense.The governing body of any county, city or town may also levy and collect, in addition to any other license tax imposed by this section, a license tax not to exceed $ 1,000 for each performance of a traveling circus, carnival or show giving performances in this Commonwealth in the open air or in a tent or tents, within fifteen days previous to, or during the week of, or within one week after the time of holding any agricultural fair in any such county, city or town in this Commonwealth. The license taxes provided for in this section shall be assessed and paid before any performance is permitted to be held.It shall be unlawful for any circus, carnival or show to publish or post in any way, in any county, city or town, at any time within fifteen days prior to the holding of such fair, in such county, city or town, advertising of the exhibition of any such circus, carnival or show.The governing body of any county, city or town is hereby authorized to levy and collect a fine not to exceed $ 2,000 for each offense of any person, firm, company or corporation violating any provision of this section. The provisions of this section shall not apply to circuses, carnivals or shows inside the grounds of any agricultural fair held in any county, city or town.For the purpose of this section a “carnival” shall mean an aggregation of shows, amusements, concessions, eating places and riding devices or any of them, operated together on one lot or street or on contiguous lots or streets, moving from place to place, whether or not the same are owned and actually operated by separate persons, firms or corporations.
B. A resident mechanic or artist may exhibit any production of his own art or invention without compensation and no registration, bond or license may be required of any industrial arts exhibit or of any agricultural fair or the shows exhibited within the grounds of such fair or fairs, during the period of such fair, whether an admission is charged or not. In addition, no registration, bond or license may be required of resident persons performing in a show or exhibition for charity or other benevolent purposes, or of exhibitions of volunteer fire companies, whether an admission is charged or not. Whenever such show, exhibition or performance is given, whether licensed or exempted by the terms of this subsection, those persons performing or acting in a show, exhibition or performance and operating under either license or exemption, shall be exempt from such tax.The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall not be construed to allow, without payment of the tax imposed by this section, a performance for charitable or benevolent purposes by a company, association or persons, or a corporation, in the business of giving such exhibitions, no matter what terms of contract may be entered into or under what auspices such exhibition is given by such company, association or persons, or corporation. It is the intent and meaning of this section that every company, association, person, or corporation in the business of giving exhibitions for compensation, whether a part of the proceeds are for charitable or benevolent purposes or not, shall pay the tax imposed by the authority of this section. Such tax shall not be imposed on a bona fide local association or corporation organized for the principal purpose of holding legitimate agricultural exhibitions or industrial arts exhibits when they rent or lease fair or exhibition grounds or buildings for the purpose of giving such exhibitions or performances and exhibit therein agricultural or industrial arts products as a part of such exhibition.
Code 1950, § 58-266.7; 1982, c. 633; 1984, c. 675.