Are you ready for the fair?
The 27th annual Harford County Farm Fair begins Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Harford County Equestrian Center on North Tollgate Road in Bel Air.
Fair organizers say this year's fair will be a hit with visitors of all ages, featuring loads of exhibits from the Harford agricultural community, including 4-H animals, a carnival, tractor pulls and, new this year, a rodeo on the final afternoon.
For many Harford County young people participating in 4-H programs, the fair is the time for them to show off their hard work caring for their animals over the previous 12 months.
"The thing is that our 4-Hers have a good time, they learn something and the make new friends," Cynthia Werner, 4-H educator, said as she helped set up some of the exhibits on the fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon.
Werner said the younger 4-H exhibitors at the fair are able to "learn something from the older kids, learn something from the judges, which is such an important part" of the experience.
"All of our judges, indoors and outdoors, critique the kids and give them some good positive feedback," she added.
Leah Anderson will be showing her chickens and goats at the fair and said she is most looking forward to showing her two Nigerian dwarf goats, Dixie and Paisley.
She's also looking forward to showing her rooster, named Fluffy Feet, with whom she appeared in an Aegis front page photograph following last year's fair.
Some of the 4-H plant judging was already under way Tuesday afternoon.
"Last year was a tough year for growing," said judge Jo-Ann Chason, who was looking over some of the arriving plants and flowers. "This year has been absolutely excellent; we've had water every time we've needed it, and the temperatures haven't been too excruciatingly hot... I look for us to have a good, full show."
The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 4 to 11, with children 4 and under admitted free. Tickets for members of the military with ID are $5. Senior Day is Thursday with $5 admission for anyone age 60 and older.
Free parking is available throughout the fair at the blue lot on the east side of Tollgate Road, across fairgrounds, and on Vale Road, just north of the overpass, with satellite parking at Red Pump Elementary School and Bel Air High School. Free shuttle buses will run between the fair and parking locations beginning at 9 a.m. until one hour after closing.
This year's carnival and midway will be open on all four fair days with the same hours as the fair. Carnival ride tickets are accepted every day of the fair. A ride-all-day carnival armband will be available on Sunday only.
New to the 2014 fair is a rodeo on Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. with bull riding, mutton busting for the children and barrel racing events.
Just before the rodeo at 1 p.m. will be an exclusive presentation by the Muddy Creek Horse Vaulters. Fair sponsors are invited to pay to Name a Bull at the 2014 Fair.
See the Farm Fair website http://www.farmfair.org for details on these and all other events and attractions.
Tractor pulls, fireworks
The 2014 fair will kick off with the traditional prayer breakfast on Thursday morning at 7:30 followed by 4-H shows and exhibits throughout the day and the antique tractor pull and fireworks in the evening.
The annual Miss Harford County Farm Bureau Contest will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. in the large enclosed pavilion.
The Lucas Oil National Truck & Tractor Pulls are featured on Friday and Saturday evenings with the seasonal culinary competition and ever-popular peach pie contest on Sunday. The fabulous 4-H Livestock Auction is a Saturday evening standard.
An original Farm Fair quilt will be the kick-off item at the 4-H auction. Designed exclusively for the 2014 Harford County Farm Fair by Jeanne Kehl of GG's Quilting (www.ggsquilting.com), the quilt features the 2014 Fair mascot – a rooster. The proceeds from the quilt auction will benefit the 4-H activities at the fair.
For a single admission price, fairgoers can enjoy the 4-H and open exhibits; antique and professional circuit truck and tractor pulls; pig races; barnyard; Wildlife Adventures; Kidway; pony rides; draft horse pulls; Parade of Horse Breeds; horse vaulters. Visitors also will be able to enter various contests, such as farm baby costume, watermelon eating, pie eating and literary spelling bee.
On Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health System will hold a "Teddy Bear Clinic" in the Kidway.
Free bingo games will be played in the Kidway several times throughout the day. Enjoy local entertainment will be performing on the showmobile or bring your talent to the Annual Farm Fair Talent Contest on Friday and Saturday evenings.