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Howard County Fair returns this weekend with livestock, tractor pulls, food, fireworks and more

Last year marked the 75th anniversary of the Howard County Fair. While there was a livestock show and an online indoor exhibit, the fair was not an official 4-H event and was not open to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A year later, with most COVID-19 restrictions lifted, the fair is back in all its glory, with rides, live entertainment, food, animals and exhibitors filling every day of the weeklong event from Aug. 7 through 14.

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So, organizers thought, why not call it the 75th Howard County Fair?

“We’ll let historians try to figure it out,” said Mickey Day, Howard County Fair board president. “We are so excited we’re going to be able to have a fair.”

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While there are a few new events scheduled for this year, the fair is keeping to the basics.

“It seems like we’re learning to pedal a bike again,” Day said.

A new event this year will be a mini tractor pull on Monday night. Two parades — an opening parade at 2 p.m. Sunday and the parade of floats at 5 p.m. Aug. 14 — are scheduled. Other events scheduled include a talent show, a mule pull, a lawn mower contest and the annual livestock sale. The horse pull, typically held during the heat of the day, has been scheduled for Saturday evening.

“Pretty much all the main stage entertainment is back this year,” Day said, with local favorite bands including Appaloosa, the Fabulous Hubcaps and Billy Harrison & Haywire lined up to play.

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Everybody’s favorite fair food should be back, too, with the Lions Club returning, Marriotts Ridge High School Booster bringing its fried Oreos and the Glenelg High School marching band offering fried dough.

“I’ve been dieting the last two weeks to make room,” Day said.

In recognition of the fair’s 75th anniversary, there will be special exhibits set up throughout the fairgrounds. A fireworks show is also scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on the closing night Aug. 14.

“It is not something we normally do,” Day said. “We wanted to do something special.”

This will be the first year the fair has been able to take advantage of the fairgrounds’ new exhibit hall completed last year. Indoor 4-H exhibits and farm crops are now located in the building.

“There is also a nice honeybee display,” Day said.

In an effort to keep human contact to a minimum, tickets to the fair can be purchased in advance online. Tickets for rides will be available at kiosks located throughout the fairgrounds.

“The county health department and fire department will be giving COVID vaccines at various times during the week,” Day said. “We are doing more disinfecting than in previous fairs, too.”

As per relaxed state and county guidelines, face masks are not required at the fair

Day is most excited by the number of volunteers returning to help.

“Our fair would not happen if not for the thousands of volunteers,” Day said. “We also get great support from the county.”

The 75th Howard County Fair opens at 8 a.m. Saturday and runs through Aug. 14 at the Howard County Fairgrounds, 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship. Admission is $10 for ages 13 and older, and free for those younger than 13 when accompanied by an adult. The cost for those ages 62 and older is $5. Tickets can be purchased and more information can be found at howardcountyfairmd.com.

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