Duke Zeller, a virtually unknown Republican candidate for the Viriginai House of Delegates, suddenly found himself one of the most popular men in town today.

Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), whose former Senate page roomed with Zeller 20 years ago, came to campaign for him at a rally this afternoon, and three other Republican candidates and two potential ones decided to come along and bask in the glow of photographers' flashbulbs as well.

Zeller almost got lost in the crush.

A state senator, A. Joe Canada, who is running for lieutenant governor, and state Sen. J. Marshall Coleman, who's running for attorney general, were here, and Republican gubernatorial candidate John N. Dalton was represented by former party chairman Richard Obenshain, who is reported to be considering a Senate race next year.

John Warner, who was Zeller's boss at the American Revolutionary Bicentennial Commission and who is also thinking about running for the Senate also joined the crowd this time without his wife, Elizabeth Taylor.

A crowd of about 300 men, women and children to Jarrell's Camp Grounds in this town north of Richmond for what was billed as a "Barry Goldwater Barbeque." They were attracted by the senator's presence and by free food, provided by local sponsors, one of whom also flew his plane up to Washington to pick up Goldwater.

Another sponsor was Oran V. Jarcell, who owns the camp grounds. He also owns the adjacent truck stop, Jarrell's Cafeteria, Jarrell's Motel, a Golden Skillet Restaurant, part of two Holiday Inns and a Howard Johnson's, an ice-manufacturing company and a BP Distributing Co.

The official truck stop chaplain, Dr. James R. Bryant, gave the invocation at the rally.

Goldwater won cheers and applause from the crowd when he said that the proposed Panama Canal treaties should be rewritten, and attacked unions, which he said are causing a decline in the quality of American products by demanding equal pay for workers "regardless of ability."

He said he had been to the White House yesterday to talk about the panama Canal with President Cater. "I said (to him) I would forget about this treaty and start working on a new one where we don't wind up helping Panama economically," Goldwater said.

He said that originally he had hoped that Carter "had the prospects of being a good President. But I'm beginning to wonder. In fact I'm getting a little frightened."

Goldwater appeared to be very popular with the crowd, most of whom seemed to be conservatives. They crowded around him when he arrived, asking for autograph, and snaping pictures. "Goldwater has been my idol for years and years," said a retired teacher, Royall Jones, who drove her from her home in Montpelier, "just over the way."

Canada reiterated the refrain of most of the speakers in attacking Dalton's opponent, Democrat Henry E. Howell. "He hit an all-time low (in his campaign style) when he criticized Eddy Dalton's cookbook the other day," Canada said. "I've got a new recipe . . . it's called crow, and were going to feed it to Henry Howell' on Nov. 8."

Before the celebrities arrived along with the dusk and increasing chilly weather. The crowd was entertained by 10-year-old Beth Ann Brann, her banjo and her bluegrass band, and later by the Dixie Belles, who performed a special anti-Howell song written by one of the Belle's fathers, Louis Quaries, as he was driving along in his truck one day.

Two verses of the song went: "Jim my said to Henry/ You go back south/ Stay away from banking/ Keep your foot out of your mouth.

"Go back home, Henry/ Dalton's on the prowl/ When he gets to Richmond/ You'll hear old Henry howl."