Clydesdales, crab cakes and crafts have a lot in common when it's the end of August and you're in Maryland. You'll find these and many other attractions at the 111th Maryland State LTC Fair, tomorrow through Sept. 7 at the Timonium Fairgrounds in Baltimore County
Tonight radio station WQSR will sponsor a preview of the fair, Family Fun Night, offering visitors a chance to ride all the rides for $6 from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. More than 30 rides will be available to whip and spin adults and kids alike. Game and food stands will also be open, and entertainment will be provided by Gene Vincent and the Cadillac Cruisers.
Tomorrow, livestock and horse shows will mark the fair's official opening at 8 a.m. The Midway will open at 11 a.m. and a hot-air balloon race will begin at 7 p.m. The infield will open at 6:30 p.m. so spectators can watch the pilots prepare their balloons for the race.
Sunday, the reigning Maryland Farm Queen, Ms. Kelly Holland of Worcester County, will crown her successor during the Maryland Farm Queen Contest at 7 p.m. in the Cow Palace.
Those with star quality and an act could be on the road to fame after tomorrow. From 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. on the Midway stage there will be auditions for Ed McMahon's "Star Search." At 7:30 p.m. local celebrities, including Rob Roblin of Channel 11 News and Stan Stovall and Mary Beth Marsden of NewsChannel 2, will belt out some country favorites for charity.
And speaking of belting out, the seventh annual Husband Calling Contest and Hoe Down scheduled for Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. will find the woman who knows best how to get her husband home for dinner. Contestants must sign up no later than 7:45 the evening of the contest in the Swine Show Ring.
New this year, fairgoers can learn the latest line dances with Jim and Mindy Ratliff, thanks to Nashville's in the Holiday Inn Timonium Plaza. Those aching to learn the "Achy Breaky Heart" dance or the two-step, can do so from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Monday and from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Sept. 5 on the Midway stage.
The "Trial by Jury" demonstration will return this year, with Maryland judges and trial lawyers participating in a series of live mock trials on various days during the fair in the tent next to the Maryland food pavilion. Fairgoers can act as members of the jury.
For those 4-H members who have animals willing to take on a new identity, the Costume Animal Contest will return at 8 p.m. on Monday and will feature animals and their owners in costume.
The animals that look their best without costume, the Budweiser Clydesdales, will be at the fair tomorrow until Tuesday in the Horse Show Ring.
In traditional fair fashion, the State Fair Park will offer visitors a look at wildlife. And for agriculture enthusiasts, the Farm and Garden, 4-H and Home Arts buildings will be open, as well as the Cow Palace and Horse Show Ring. Daily horse races will be held at the racetrack. Post time is 1 p.m., with additional races on Saturday and Labor Day.
Of course, everyone can plan to fill up on traditional fair foods and Maryland delicacies. Corn dogs, cotton candy, crab cakes, rib-eye steak sandwiches, fruits, ice cream and more will be available each day.
MARYLAND STATE FAIR
Hours: The fairgrounds will open at 8 a.m. for livestock and horse shows, demonstration halls will open at 10 a.m. and the Midway will open at 11 a.m. on weekends and at noon on weekdays.
Admission: $3 for adults and free for children younger than 12. Admission to the racetrack is included in the price.
Coupons for rides are 60 cents, and two to five coupons are required per ride. Pepsi discount coupons are available at participating stores. Monday through Sept. 4 from noon until 5 p.m., fairgoers can pay $4.50 plus admission to ride as many rides as they want. On Labor Day, fairgoers can pay $8 plus admission to ride from 11 a.m. until closing.
Parking: Lots are located on both sides of the north gate entrance off of York Road. Parking for horse races is available on the south lot of the fairgrounds, which can be entered through the Timonium Road gate. Fees ranging from $1 to $3 will be charged per day for parking on the grounds. Free parking is available at the Park and Ride facility behind the Cow Palace on the west side of the fairgrounds.
Information: (410) 252-0200.