With the pandemic canceling its traditional fundraising events this past year, the staff at Harford County Public Library had to “think outside of the box,” according to Mary Hastler, chief executive officer of the library system.
“We are very excited to bring a professionally sanctioned rodeo back to Harford County,” Hastler said. “It’s been a very long time. The buzz is really exciting to hear.”
Once Upon a Rodeo will take place Saturday, June 19, at the Harford County Equestrian Center, located at 608 North Tollgate Road in Bel Air. It will feature top rodeo contenders bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling and more.
“It is interesting for us to learn the process and what is involved,” Hastler said. ”We have to follow center rules for them.”
The rodeo starts at 1 p.m. Events continue with live music starting at 4 p.m., including a concert by rising country star Jimmie Allen, a Delaware native and the Academy of Country Music Award winner for New Male Artist of the Year 2021.
“Jimmie Allen has a huge following in this area,” Hastler said. “It’s fantastic to have him come.”
Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, and Ed and Rick Duo, will also perform.
The event will also feature food, beer and a kids’ corner with a petting zoo. Story times will also be presented by the Harford County Public Library.
Tickets are $30 for adults and are available to purchase at onceuponarodeo.org. Children ages 10 and younger are free of charge. General admission parking is at Bel Air High School, with a free shuttle service running continuously throughout the day. A coupon for a $5 discount on a general admission ticket may be picked up at any Harford County Public Library, while supplies last.
Youth ages 17 years and younger can get in free to event with a youth or young adult library card. A limited number of free tickets for veterans, active military personnel and first responders are available, and folks are encouraged to register for them in advance online at onceuponarodeo.org.
VIP tickets are available for $100 per person and includes catering by Andy Nelson’s BBQ, beer, wine, moonshine and bourbon tasting, and on-site parking.
The event will be rain or shine, Hastler said.
“We had our first virtual 5K over the holidays. Our first virtual golf tournament and putt-putt,” Hastler said. “It is exciting adding this, especially now, trying to keep everyone’s spirits up.”
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Funds raised by Once Upon A Rodeo will be used to provide additional funding for children and adult programming at Harford County Public Library throughout the year. The even is being organized by the Harford County Public Library Foundation.