Jay DuBree of Churchville received the 2013 Harford County Farm Fair Pulling Award, given each year to the outstanding fair volunteer as selected by the Farm Fair Board of Directors.
DuBree has volunteered in various capacities at the Farm Fair for 24 years. The major area of this work has been in support of the tractor pulls. He has been an invaluable asset to those events, the directors said in bestowing the award to DuBee on Friday evening.
Both Aberdeen and Bel Air Rotary clubs, which support many community activities that emphasize the value of volunteers in their local communities, are major sponsors for the Farm Fair Pulling Award. Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts of Bel Air and Tri-State Trophies in Edgewood are also sponsors.
"Thank you for your volunteerism," Farm Fair Board member Amy Siler said while presenting the award to DuBree before the tractor pull event Friday.
The award is a framed print of a painting of a pair of draft horses pulling a wagon with a large crowd of people cheering them on.
"He's always quick to help out, to move things, to pull out stuck cars, relocate mulch," Siler said after the presentation.
"He's handy as a pocket on a shirt," Siler's fellow board member Reg Traband added.
DuBree, who grew up on a farm, called the fair "a nice thing for the community."
He said it helps expose people to agriculture and lets them understand where their food comes from before it gets to the store.
"They actually get to see where things start, so they appreciate it better," he explained.
The Pulling Award print – a team of horses in a pulling contest in a fair setting – is from a painting, found on the wall of the Harford County Office Building at 220 S. Main St. in Bel Air.
The picture is a small way to recognize the commitment of the many volunteers who give countless hours to make the Harford County Farm Fair so successful, Traband noted.
The painting reflects the enthusiasm of a horse-pulling contest in a fair setting with cheers and expressions from those in the grandstand. The original picture of a horse team in a pulling contest was on the wall at the end of the grandstand at the old Bel Air Race Track. Earlier Harford County Fairs were held on the racetrack property, today occupied by Harford Mall.
The idea for the Pulling Award originated with Dr. Richard O. Cook, who was chairman of the Farm Fair Board of Directors during the early years of the fair's revival.
The Farm Fair had its beginning in 1988 when a group who wished to develop a county-wide fair asked the then ongoing 4-H Fair to join in the effort. For 25 years before that, the 4-H Fair had been held at the Harford County 4-H Camp near Rocks State Park in Street.
Since then, the Farm Fair has continued to showcase 4-H project work. The four-day event, held annually at the Harford County Equestrian Center on Tollgate Road in Bel Air, is family oriented with many activities for children. Everything that goes into preparing for and holding the fair is done by volunteers like DuBree.
Aegis staff member David Anderson contributed to this report.