Celebration of the 25th year of the Harford County Farm Fair began a week early Tuesday with the start of a carnival that fair directors hope will provide some additional working capital for the popular event.
The annual Farm Fair will be held July 26 through July 29 at the Harford County Equestrian Center in Bel Air.
This year, the fair's directors decided to hold a carnival the week before the traditional fair as a fundraising vehicle. Several people close to the fair say the organization is financially solvent but has been facing higher expenses and has lost some sponsors because of the down economy.
The carnival, which is being held on the back side of the Harford County Equestrian Center in Bel Air, opened Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. and will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday.
Carnival attendees can buy a family pass for $20, as well as individual tickets.
Parking is free on the grounds of the Equestrian Center at 608 N. Tollgate Road.
There are clearly marked signs directing people to park off Tollgate Road, but Aimee O'Neill, co-chair of the fair's board of directors, also said Tuesday she believes drivers will be directed toward the entrance near the parks and recreation building on the north side of the Equestrian Center.
On Friday and Saturday, the carnival will also be accompanied by a beer barn with games and prize wheels for adults only.
The beer barn will sell beer and wine by the glass, O'Neill said. It will be an air-conditioned pavilion.
Entertainment also will be available on the adjoining fairgrounds, O'Neill said.
"If you attend the carnival, you will actually be able to hear the band," she said.
"We look forward to everybody having a good time and raise money for the Farm Fair," O'Neill said about the carnival and beer barn.
The Farm Fair itself will also have slightly lower ticket prices for children this year, O'Neill added, at $4 per child.
This year's fair will feature the usual staple of 4-H animal and home arts competitions, as well as truck and tractors pulls, games and other traditional activities and musical entertainment.
New this year to the fair will be a talent show on Friday and Saturday evening, July 27 and 28, beginning at 7:30, in the fairgrounds main pavilion. Auditions for the talent show will be held Thursday, July 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the main pavilion.
Check with http://www.exploreharford.com and in the upcoming print editions of The Aegis for more news about the 2012 Harford County Farm Fair.