By Jillian Amodio
Organizers of the Anne Arundel County Fair are kicking into high gear, preparing for the highly anticipated return of five days of festivities. This year’s fair begins Sept. 15 and includes Friday and Saturday night concerts, a livestock auction, carnival rides, and a variety of exhibitors showcasing trades and talents in sectors such as agricultural, horticultural, culinary, and creative arts.
The county fair began in 1952 at Sandy Point State Park where it was held for 25 years before moving to its current location in Crownsville.
“The county fair has become a showcase of the agriculture and home arts which are slowly eroding from the landscape of a county which was once beaming with farms. It has become a place for the entire family to learn about Anne Arundel County’s past, present and future,” says Joseph Degreenia, Assistant Fair Week Manager and Fair Board Member.
Degreenia says they are doing things a bit differently this year. Tickets can be purchased online in advance through the fair website (aacountyfair.org/fair-week/).
“This year we are adding to our normal pig races and will have two additional shows called Barnyard Review and the Wild West Show,” he says. “The show is an educational display of domestic farm animals in an exciting display of their abilities. The cast includes a miniature cow, horse and goats.”
The fair exhibition space offers a wide variety of contests. Participants can enter their photography, artwork, crafts, baked goods and other culinary creations for a chance at a blue ribbon.
“We have received a lot of inquiries from county residents that are entering exhibits into the Exhibit Building for the first time this year. I think the pandemic will increase the amount of exhibits entered to the fair because during lockdown people were stuck at home and had time to learn new hobbies like painting, crocheting or woodworking,” says Degreenia.
Degreenia encourages families to enter the Cutest Kid Contest, the Fair Royal Ambassador Contest, and engage in scarecrow-making. Watch pig and duck races, livestock animal shows, kid-friendly entertainment, milking cow stations, and K-9 demonstrations. Following the fair’s Facebook page could net you some free fair tickets.
This year there is also a youth coloring competition. The Color Me Natural Competition is open for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Find the coloring pages and detailed instructions in the exhibitor catalog on the fair website or at locations across the county, including AACPL branches.
Thursday, Sept. 16 is Senior Citizens Day, when those 55 & over, as well as those who are disabled, and all children have free admission (10am-3pm). Special carnival pricing this day will include $15 for an unlimited ride wristband. The Antique Tractor Pull is Sept.18. Children’s Day is Friday Sept. 17 when children under 8 are free, and those ages 9 and up are $5 (9am-1pm).
The Maryland Jousting Tournament Association, Maryland’s Official State Sport, will also hold a demonstration Friday, Sept. 17.
Being that most of the fair takes place outdoors, it affords increased safety measures. Degreenia says the fair will be following all CDC and county Department of Health guidelines.