ALL'S FAIR AT ANNUAL FESTIVAL

THE BALTIMORE SUN

When the 39th annual Anne Arundel County Fair opens tomorrow afternoon thousands of people will see the carnival rides, food vendors, games, crafts and hundreds of exhibits and farm animals.

What they won't see are the dedicated volunteers who spend hundreds of hours year-round to pull it together.

Gen Solomon, 72, of Millersville has volunteered at the fair since it first opened in 1952.

She's handled many jobs over the 39 years -- from judging entrants in home arts to working the front office -- but what she likes best about the fair is the people.

"All my friends are here, my loved ones," she said. "I just blossom up when it's fair time."

Charlie Ruby, 66, of Hanover has worked the fair for 31 years.

"I've been treasurer, president, vice president, 4-H president, a board member," said Ruby. "I enjoy it."

Volunteers used words like, "hooked," "addicted," and "in your blood," to describe why they keep coming back to the hot and dusty job of getting the fair set up each year.

Even though the work is hard, the rewards are great, volunteers said.

"It's really rewarding to see so many people enter and be so happy with their ribbons," said Marie Gish of Odenton, who has worked as a volunteer the past 18 years.

"It's a great way for people to get recognition," said John Overstreet of Severn,who with his wife, Fran, has run the farm and garden exhibit for thepast 10 years. "When you enter, it shows someone appreciates your work.

"Last year, we had a doctor from Annapolis. He entered five orsix things (from his garden) and won five ribbons. You would have thought he won the lottery."

Linda Hall, general manager of the fairthis year, said she expects to work at least 12 hours a day for 10 days straight before the fair closes Sunday at 9 p.m.

But she wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's the people. We're all really intoit," she said. "We couldn't do this without these volunteers."

This year, the fair will feature almost 5,000 entrees from 1,400 exhibitors, who will show off their best in sewing, ceramics, painting, baking, home furnishings and needlepoint. They will exhibit their biggest vegetables (so far, this year's biggest pumpkin weighs 132 pounds),prettiest flowers, best livestock, even their finest honey and homemade wine.

Fran Overstreet said over the years she has seen the fair change from one that attracted mostly farmers to one that attracts farmers, suburbanites and urbanites.

"It's mostly suburban people now, with their own little gardens," who enter the farm and garden division, she said.

The fair, which is expected to bring in 50,000 people this year, will feature a concert by country singer Tammy Wynette at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15. The concert will last about 90 minutesand will be preceded by a performance by Prism, a county band that won the "Battle of the Bands" contest at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium this year.

For the first time, tickets for the concert willbe sold in advance. Tickets are $6, which includes the $4 fair admission. Tickets can be purchased at the fair grounds and five other locations in the county.

Other popular attractions are Saturday's baby contest, the children's pet parade on Sunday and the pie- and watermelon-eating contests both weekend days.

"This has got to be one of the last clean-cut, wholesome things left in the whole world," saidSharon Gertz, an assistant fair manager who has volunteered for the past eight years.

"It's totally family oriented. There's no shootings, no drunks. . . . For our kids, this fairground is like our second home."

Money raised from gate proceeds, space rental for vendorsand a percentage of the midway proceeds goes back into the fairgrounds, said Hall. The site is constantly in need of upgrading, she said.Last year, the fair association netted about $13,000 from gross sales of about $106,000.

4H, FFA EVENTS AT COUNTY FAIR

MONDAY, SEPT. 9

Entry Day -- Entries judged from 4 to 9 p.m.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 10

Livestock accepted between 4 and 8 p.m.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 12

7 p.m. -- 4H and open dairy goat show

FRIDAY, SEPT. 13

7 p.m. -- 4H swine show

SATURDAY, SEPT. 14

9 a.m. -- 4H poultry judgingcontest

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. -- Demonstrations

10 a.m. -- 4H horticulture contest

4H beef show

11:30 -- 4H bicycle safety contest

1 p.m. -- 4H senior consumer judging contest

2 p.m. -- 4H intermediate consumer judging

4H lamb show

3 p.m. -- 4H junior consumer judging contest

4 to 6 p.m. -- Horsemanship contest

7 p.m. -- Livestock sale

SUNDAY, SEPT. 15

1 p.m. -- Garden tractor-driving contest

2 p.m. -- Automotive contest

3 p.m. -- Dog obedience class show

4 p.m. -- Tractor-driving contest

7 p.m. -- Livestock released.

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY FAIR SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

MONDAY, SEPT. 9

Entry Day -- Exhibits will be accepted

10 a.m. to 7 p.m. -- Entries accepted in China and Ceramics, Farm and Garden, FineArts, Handicrafts, Herbs, Home Arts, Honey and Wine

4 to 9 p.m. -- 4H and Future Farmers of America entries accepted (except Livestock)

TUESDAY, SEPT. 10

10 a.m. -- Judging in China and Ceramics, Farm and Garden, Fine Arts, Handicrafts, Herbs, Home Arts, Honey and Wine departments

Noon to 8 p.m. -- Entries accepted in Flower Department for Division III, Potted Plants

4 to 8 p.m. -- Entries accepted in Rabbits and Small and Large 4H and FFA Livestock

WEDNESDAY SEPT. 11

8 to 10 a.m. -- Entries accepted in Flower Department forcut flowers and arrangements

11 a.m. -- Judging in Flower Department

4 p.m. -- Grounds and exhibit buildings open to the public

6 p.m. -- Midway opens

Beef, dairy cattle, sheep and swine exhibits in place

Opening ceremony at flagpole

6:30 p.m. -- Jousting exhibition by the Maryland Jousting Association

7 p.m. -- Lightweight draft horse pulling contest

K9 demonstration from the AnnapolisCity Police

7:30 p.m. -- Honey extracting demonstration

8 p.m.-- Fair Queen contest/Bay Winds Band

8:30 p.m. -- E.F.GT/D.T.T. (bikes)

11 p.m. -- Grounds close

THURSDAY, SEPT. 12

Senior citizens, disabled and homemakers day. Free entry for seniors 1 to 4 p.m. only

1 p.m. County fair opens

1:30 p.m. -- Senior citizen's talent show at the upper stage

2:30 p.m. -- Pascal Go Getters at the upper stage

6 p.m. -- Midway opens for family night

7 p.m. -- Heavyweight draft horse pulling contest

Open and 4H dairy goat show

Entertainment to be announced

7:30 p.m. -- Honey-extractingdemonstration

9 p.m. -- Entertainment to be announced

11 p.m. -- Grounds close

FRIDAY, SEPT. 13

Schoolchildren day

10 a.m.to 1 p.m. -- Schoolchildren admitted free

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- Children's activities for school groups

1 p.m. -- Grounds open to the public

4 p.m. -- 4H horsemanship contest

4:30 p.m. -- E.G. GT/D.T.T. (bikes)

6 p.m. -- Carnival midway opens

6:15 p.m. -- E.F.GT/D.T.T. (bikes)

6:30 p.m. -- Open dairy cattle show

7 p.m. -- Presentation of awards at upper stage

4H swine show

K9 demonstration by Anne Arundel County Police Department

Children's garden tractor pull

Live radio broadcast

7:30 -- Honey-extracting demonstration

8 p.m. -- Open swine show

Entertainment to be announced at the lower stage

8:30 p.m. -- The Stardells at the upper stage

11 p.m. -- Grounds close

SATURDAY, SEPT. 14

8 a.m. -- Grounds open to the public

Open English and Western horse show

Baby contest check-in

9 a.m. -- 4H poultry judging contest

Baby show at the upper stage

E.F.GT/D.T.T. (Bikes)

Exhibit buildings open to the public

10 a.m. -- Carnival midway opens

Children's tug of war with the Oriole Bird

Live radio broadcast

4H Beef Show

4H Horticultural Contest

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. -- 4H demonstrations

11 a.m. -- String Puppet Theater

11:30 a.m. -- 4H Bicycle Safety

Noon -- Open Beef Show

Scarecrow-making workshop at the barn area.

1 p.m. -- Disorderly conduct show at the lower stage

Antique tractor pull

4H consumer judging contest

1:30 to 2:30 p.m. -- Registration for the pie-eating contest

2 p.m. -- 4H Intermediate consumer judging contest

4H sheep show

Maryland gymnastics show/Home of the Docksiders at the upper stage

3 p.m. -- Pie-eating contest

4H junior consumer judging contest

Disorderly conduct show at the lower stage

3:30 p.m. -- Hog-calling contest

String Puppet Show

4 p.m. -- Talent show, with host Johnny Dark

5p.m. -- Weigh-in for all-adult tug of war

E.F.GT/D.T.T. (bikes)

6 p.m. -- Police vs. Fire departments' tug of war

Adult "grudge"tug of war

6:30 p.m. -- Garden tractor pull

7 p.m. -- 4H and FFA livestock sale

K9 and drug demonstration by Anne Arundel CountyPolice Department

7:30 p.m. -- Disorderly conduct show at the lower stage

Honey-extracting demonstration

9 p.m. -- The Second Conspiracy at the upper stage

11 p.m. -- Grounds close

SUNDAY, SEPT. 15

WCAO Radio fan appreciation day

8 a.m. -- Grounds open to the public

9 a.m. -- Open horse show

Exhibit buildings open to the public

10 a.m. -- K9 demonstration by the Annapolis City Police

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- Antique and classic auto show

10:30 a.m. -- E.G.GT/D.T.T. (bikes)

11 a.m. -- Open sheep show

Noon -- Carnival midway opens

4H English and Western horse shows

1 p.m.-- 4H garden tractor driving contest

The Friendship Squares

1:15 to 2 p.m. -- Registration for watermelon-eating contest

2 p.m. -- Watermelon-eating contest

4H automotive contest

3 p.m. -- 4Hdog obedience class show

WCAO outdoor country concert, featuring Tammy Wynette (sponsored by the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Annapolis and the E. L. Gardner Concrete Products)

4 p.m. -- 4H tractor-driving contest

Children's pet parade

4:30 p.m. -- Harbor Light Squares

5:30 p.m. -- E.F.GT/D.T.T. (bikes) at the lower stage

6 p.m. -- Mainline (rock and roll) at the upper stage

7 p.m. -- Livestock released

9 p.m. -- Grounds close

MONDAY, SEPT. 16

Noon to7 p.m. -- All exhibits released.

CONTINUOUS

Animal World, craft demonstrations, exhibits in buildings, meals, refreshments

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