One goal of Maryland's Ag Center on Shawan Road is to promote agriculture. And there's no better way to do that than to invite people to roll up their sleeves and try a farmer's trade themselves.
On Sept. 10, the Ag Center is open from 1 to 4 p.m. for a free Family Farm Day, featuring a cow-milking contest and demonstrations on how to make butter, keep bees, shoe a horse or spin wool.
Visitors can ask Master Gardeners about their cultivated plot at the Ag Center and watch as sheepdogs go through gates, chutes and obstacles. There are also pony rides for kids and everybody gets a chance to get face-to-snout with a whole corral of farm animals owned by Baltimore County 4-H kids.
The evening's party, a Full Moon ShinDig, is a fundraiser dinner and dance where blue jeans and cowboy boots will be the norm.
"We are really trying to highlight every aspect of agriculture, from farming to the horse and wine industries," said Alice Chalmers, a member of the nonprofit Maryland Agricultural Resource Council, which is sponsoring both events. "This is an activities-driven day for the whole family."
There will be a farmers' market selling fresh produce. Visitors can buy meat, poultry and eggs from Springfield Farm in Sparks, Gunpowder Bison & Trading Co. in Monkton, Roseda Beef in Monkton and Greenes' lamb farm in White Hall. Shaw Orchards of Stewartstown, Pa., will be selling fruit.
The Prigel Family Creamery in Long Green will sell organic ice cream and Richardson Farms of White Marsh is grilling corn on the cob.
Visitors who watch Roger Williams of Lineboro explain how he manages the beehives at the Ag Center will also get a taste of the 180 pounds of honey he made this year. His honey will also be sold that day.
There is no admission charge for the day's activities. Tickets to the dinner and dance are $75. The ShinDig, from 6 to 11 p.m., includes food and drinks, music, a square dance caller, Texas two-step dance lessons, and a silent auction.
The Ag Center is located at 1114 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley.