The Maryland State Fair will return to full capacity in August, a year after the annual tradition was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to fair organizers.
The fair will run from Aug. 26 to Sept. 6 at the Maryland state fairgrounds in Timonium.
“We are thankful to have the opportunity to continue to fulfill the Maryland State Fair & Agricultural Society’s mission to preserve Maryland agriculture and promote its importance to our state, our country and the world,” said Maryland State Fair & Agricultural Society Chairman Gerry L. Brewster in the news release. “We are pleased that the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, enabling us to host the traditional 12 Best Days of Summer. Safety of our exhibitors and fairgoers is our first priority, so we will continue to monitor COVID-19 safety recommendations and make necessary adjustments.”
The fair will feature new entertainment this year, including a Paul Bunyan lumberjack show and street performers roaming the fairgrounds, according to Andy Cashman, general manager of the Maryland State Fair. Bakers can also enter the new Smith Island Cake, Maryland’s state dessert, and éclair contests for the home arts competition.
There will be two concerts held during the second weekend of the fair this year, Cashman said. The performers will be announced later this week.
Cashman said the fair organizing team also brought back popular acts from past years, including a 12-foot tall performing robot who strolls the fairgrounds.
“We have a dog show that we’ve had here in the past but that’s coming back again, ‘Canine Flights,’ and then we have Max the Robot coming back, which was a big draw. The kids will love him,” Cashman said.
With the statewide COVID-19 emergency mandates and restrictions ending July 1, attendees will not have to wear masks or practice social distancing outside or inside fair facilities.
“If they wish to [wear a mask], they’re more than welcome to do it. But we’re not going to have what I would call the ‘mask police’ walking around saying you have to put a mask on. … Folks need to be comfortable,” Cashman said.
In 2020, the Maryland State Fair was closed to the general public and only open for livestock shows. It was the second cancellation in the fair’s 142-year history since World War II.
The fair this year will include its typical rides, horse racing, live music, games and summer food fare, according to the release. 4-H and Future Farmers of America members will also be able to participate in competitions, including horse shows and garden exhibits.