Organizers have canceled the majority of outdoor activities scheduled for Tuesday at the 31st annual Harford County Farm Fair — including carnival rides — because of continued rainy weather.
The 4-H shows will continue as scheduled at the fairgrounds of the Harford County Equestrian Center in Bel Air, plus admission will be free Tuesday, fair board co-chair Aimee O’Neill wrote in an email Tuesday morning.
The general public can park in the Red Lot on the left-hand side of North Tollgate Road just north of the fairgrounds and take a shuttle to the fair. The lot is usually reserved for 4-H youth members and their families, but will be open to the public Tuesday, according to O’Neill. Shuttle service will not be available from satellite parking areas at Bel Air High School or Red Pump Elementary School.
The 4-H activities are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. with a weigh-in for beef cattle. The rabbit show begins at 2 p.m., the market goat show at 3 p.m. and sheep show at 5 p.m., according to the schedule posted on the fair website.
The carnival, vendors, children’s activities at the Kidway, food court and on-stage entertainment, as well as the second annual Harford Chef’s Challenge, scheduled for Tuesday were canceled, according to O’Neill.
O’Neill said she is working to rescheduled the chef’s challenge, in which Harford restaurant chefs prepare meals using ingredients provided by local farms, for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Fair visitors can purchase food Tuesday from either Chik-fil-A at the livestock barns area or the Harford County Farm Bureau — corn on the cob, hot dogs and ice cream — at the Pavilion, according to O’Neill.
“We are giving everyone the day off to dry out, and we look for a better day, tomorrow! [Wednesday],” she wrote.
Harford County has experienced a deluge of rain in recent days, following a few weeks of dry weather.
Heavy rain is forecast through Wednesday, and a flash flood watch is in effect for Maryland, Washington, D.C. and northern and central Virginia until 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service website.
Visitors braved weather that alternated between short but heavy rains and breaks where the sun peeked through the clouds during the opening day of the fair Monday afternoon.
The carnival was closed because of the weather, and vendors stayed open until about 7 p.m. The rest of the activities continued as scheduled, including the annual Miss Harford Farm Bureau contest, according to O’Neill.
Bel Air South resident Florence Adams stressed she had committed to working a shift as a volunteer.
“I volunteered, so I’m here,” she said while riding a shuttle bus from Bel Air High.
It was her first time volunteering at the fair — she said she met O’Neill, who encouraged her to participate. Youths and adults can work at locations such as the Kidway or ticket booth and get free admission for a two-hour shift, plus a free food voucher for working for four hours.
“She said she really needed volunteers, they really need help, so I said, ‘Okay, put me down,’” Adams recalled.
Sarah Craley, of Churchville, and her three children — Nathan, 10, Ryan, 8 and Rachel, age 6 — checked out the indoor exhibits created by the Craley children and other 4-H members.
Ribbons had been placed on many of the exhibits, including arts and crafts, baked goods, plants and produce.
The children wanted to come to the fair straight from their day camps to see the exhibits and check out how they did, Sarah Craley said.
“The weather hasn’t really slowed them down at all,” she said. “They look forward to [the fair] every year.”
All three children are members of the Mad Scientist 4-H Club. Rachel is at the Clover level and Ryan and Nathan are Juniors, according to their mother.
Nathan won an overall reserve champion in metal artwork for his wind chimes. He said it did not take long to make the wind chimes, “but I still put a lot of thought into it,” as he had to design it so the individual chimes would hit each other, that they would all hang together properly, plus make sure the creation could be hung from a tree or wall.
Nathan is going into the fifth grade at Churchville Elementary School.
“I like coming here because I like seeing all my [projects] on display for everybody to see,” he said.