Harford Farm Fair brings them out Friday, despite heat

The return of triple-digit temperatures didn't seem to be keeping too many people from enjoying the Harford County Farm Fair Friday.

With fans and water bottles in tow, families and groups came out to admire the 4-H animals, play some games, look at crafts or cheer on Dock Dogs.

Fair organizers offered air-conditioned trailers this time, which was a draw for people like Jennifer Evans. The Jarrettsville native came down from Delta, Pa., with 5-year-old Andrew and 1-year-old Sarah.

The heat "was a consideration but I read online that they have an air-conditioned pavilion," Evans said.

"We usually come every year," she said about the fair.

Evans comes "to show the kids some farm animals and have some fun."

The fair is also a chance "to support local farms and to encourage the [4-H] kids," she said. "We usually have kids from our church who have animals in 4-H."

Andrew agreed, saying, "It's fun to see them here." He also said he liked the play area and Dock Dogs, which they had yet to see that day.

Dyann and Kilo Mack, of Belcamp, said they were impressed by the 4-H-ers' knowledge about their animals.

Dyann is assistant principal at Wakefield Elementary School in Bel Air and Kilo Mack is assistant principal at Aberdeen High School. They brought their children, 10-year-old Kiana and 7-year-old Kilo Jr., who were enjoying the goat pavilion.

"It's awesome. I like all the animals," Kiana exclaimed, while the younger Kilo said he liked the pig races that were held on Thursday.

Dyann Mack said the fair offered "a nice family day out," and was impressed by the pride 4-H members take in their craft.

"We just wanted to come out and support all the agriculture and all the kids," she said, explaining she asked one girl how her animal was judged and the girl excitedly told her different aspects of her animal.

"Just being able to talk technically about their animals with such pride" was impressive, she said.

Kilo Mack agreed, saying, "It's nice to see all the boys and girls."

Smiling, he also said he was embarrassed to admit he was a newcomer to the fair.

"Being from Harford County all my life, it's nice to see this go on. I don't want it to go away with all the development," Kilo Mack said. "I'm ashamed to say this is my first time."

Meanwhile, Patti O'Hare of Churchville brought out her grand-nieces, 11-year-old Karina North and 8-year-old Ava North.

She said she didn't think they had been to an event like this before because they're from the city, although the girls recalled coming to the fair when they were younger.

Karina and Ava said they liked the animals, crafts and face-painting.

"I actually just thought they'd never been to anything like this before, and they're spending the weekend," O'Hare said.

She said she used to go to the fair with her son, who is grown now.

"I have friends that show pigs," O'Hare said, noting that the fair is inexpensive. "It's just a fun, great day."

Others also thought the fair was a good bang for the buck, since children under 4 years old get in free and those up to 11 are only $3.

Rachel and Eric Leach, of Bel Air, said this was their second year coming to the fair with their son, Jake, who is 2 1/2 years old.

"I think we like the fact that it's almost like a zoo experience, with the animals," Rachel said. "The cost is not too bad."

They had also been to a petting zoo at the library, but "this is significantly better," she said.

Jake was busy running around the swine pavilion while they were talking, eager to see every pig.

"He loves the animals," Rachel said. About the heat, she said, "it's not great, but it doesn't keep us away. We brought lots of sippy cups."

The Farm Fair definitely continues to be a family event where the focus is on the kids, whether it's casual attendees or 4-H members.

Sherri Freeman was representing My Lady's Manor, an estate at the edge of Harford and Baltimore County, in the dairy barn.

"We come for 4-H, so the kids can show their dairy cows," she said. "This is probably our ninth year."

Freeman said the fair is the main agricultural event her three children attend, in addition to the Maryland State Fair.

"I think it's a great family environment and it gives a sense of community," she said. "We definitely do it for the kids."

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