When the Harford County Farm Fair kicks off Thursday afternoon therewill be almost 1,000 volunteers making it happen.

From the peoplewho will manage the parking lot to the fair's board of directors, who organized the dozens of entertainment and 4-H events -- all are volunteers.

There's even a volunteer to manage all the volunteers: Mary Chance, who works as the volunteer coordinator for The Office On Aging.

About the only workers who won't be volunteers will be police on duty for traffic and safety control.

With a huge crowd expected during the four-day fair Thursday through Sunday, volunteers will have plenty to keep them busy.

Clifton Dowling, tourism coordinator for Harford County, said the fair on the grounds of the Harford County Equestrian Center drew 60,000 people last year. He expects an even largercrowd this year because of the fair's growing popularity.

For those who plan to attend the fourth annual Harford County Farm Fair as spectators, organizers have planned four days of jam-packed entertainment.

This year, the fair will not only include 4-H Club and FutureFarmers of America activities, but other events of interest to visitors looking for more than farm-related events.

Dowling said the fair will continue to have a strong focus on Harford County agricultureand that its main purpose is to allow kids in local 4-H clubs to show off their talents with animal husbandry and crop production.

Other features will include the popular pig races, which will take placeeach day of the fair, tractor-pull races and a Civil War encampment.

"The added attractions are just part of the entertainment and they seem to add scope to the fair," said Dowling.

But if countians arrive at the fair looking for Ferris wheels and other rides for the kids, they can forget it. Fair coordinators have steadfastly steered clear of adding mechanical rides.

Money raised during the fair willgo to the equestrian center and county 4-H clubs, Dowling said.

To help with parking, shuttle buses are scheduled every 10 to 15 minutes from Harford and Tollgate malls and from the landfill site across from the fairground, he said. Shuttle buses will operate each night until the last visitors have been escorted to their cars.

Admissionwill be $3 for 13 and older; $1 for children ages 7-12; under 7, admission is free.

Hours will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The fair officially begins Thursday, Aug. 1, with a 7 a.m. prayer breakfast. A hot-air balloon race will be featured at 7 p.m. that day.

Friday, Aug. 2, is Senior Citizen Day, sponsored by Hess Enterprises. Seniors age 62 or older will be admitted for $1 on Friday.

Friday's entertainment will include two shows by the nationally known family singing group, TheHollanders. The Pepsi Tractor Pull will take place beginning at 7:30p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 3, is Children's Day. Kids age 12 or younger will receive a free hot dog, a Pepsi and a snowball, compliments of county veterinarians and other sponsors. Kids also will be able to enjoy face painting, pony rides and participate in the annual smelly sneaker and balloon toss contests.

Saturday's entertainment will include the Virginia Giant Truck rally and The Tracked Equalizer rally inwhich two vehicles crush junk cars. Also on tap Saturday will be thepopular Sheer's Lumberjack Show of Champions and the W. D. Class Horse Pull.

Sunday's activities will include the ATV and Lawn and Garden Tractor Pull, Sheer's Lumberjacks and a Civil War encampment.

Dowling describes the Civil War encampment as a living history demonstration, with calvary units dressed in period uniforms of the North and South armies, musket and cannon firings, and displays of costumes typical of the Civil War period.

Dale McCabe, owner of The General's Tailor Civil War Shop on Main Street in Bel Air, is the organizer of the fair's Civil War camp.

McCabe said that he is looking for people to be in the cavalry, mounted and dismounted, and to act as infantry soldiers. Also needed are women and children to act as civilians.

McCabe pointed out that at least 60 soldiers and six to 10 horses are required to make the event a success. Participants will be reimbursed on a first-come, first-served basis at the time of registration.

The Civil War camp can be seen from noon to 5 p.m on Friday, Aug. 4, and will include 19th century activities such as dancing, a fashion show and a sing-a-long.

"This event will give people a tasteof what it was like to be a soldier or a civilian during the Civil War time," said McCabe.

The Harford County Equestrian Center is at 700 North Tollgate Road, Bel Air.

For more information, call the Farm Fair hot line at 838-8663.


* WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 1, until Sunday, Aug. 4

* HOURS: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

* ADMISSION: $3 for 13 and older; $1 for children ages 7-12; under 7, free admission.

* WHERE: Harford Equestrian Center grounds, located next to Heavenly Waters Park off Tollgate Road, Bel Air.

* PARKING: Shuttle buses scheduled every 10 to 15 minutes from Harford and Tollgate malls in Bel Air and from landfill site across from fairground. Shuttle buses will operate each night until the last visitors are escortedto their cars.

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