The Harford County Farm Fair is set to return for its 29th year, filling the Bel Air Equestrian Center grounds once again with 4-H shows and sales, animal exhibits, carnival rides and family-friendly events.
The popular 3S Bucking Bulls rodeo will be back at 7 p.m. Thursday this year, as will tractor pulls, the daily carnival and a "Buy Local" showcase.
The fair, with a theme this year of "Home Grown," will run Thursday, July 28, through Sunday, July 31.
A prayer breakfast Thursday will be held at 7:30 a.m., and the fair will open its doors to the public from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The timing is slightly different this year, with the rodeo on Thursday night and the Lucas Oil Truck & Tractor Pull on Friday and Saturday nights, co-chairman Amy Siler said.
"We think that's going to be a big draw this year," she said of the rodeo, which has a "different atmosphere" depending when it is held.
"I think it will pull a better crowd into the evening," she said.
Siler, a Havre de Grace resident who is a Realtor with former fair organizer Joan Ryder, is helping lead the event for the first time this year, along with longtime organizer Aimee O'Neill.
Siler's father, Gary Mills, was an avid tractor puller who helped start the fair's tractor pulls and oversaw the events until his death in 1999, when Amy took it over. Her family also still owns the Fallston Airport.
"Everything is kind of coming full-circle, and we are really excited that it's the 29th annual fair and we have been able to hang around this long," Siler said.
Her daughters, Tori, 16, and Kaylee, 14, also work at the fair. She was married to Gary Siler, the popular Harford Tech wrestling coach, who died in April 2015.
Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 5 to 11. Seniors get in for $5 Thursday, and military members get in daily for $5 with ID.
"We have to tried to keep that cost where it is, and offer the same entertainment," Siler said, pointing out "it's still cheaper than going to the movies. You can take a family of four and have a great day at the fair."
Other fair highlights include a Hot Farm tractor class, an artisans village and some local beer and wine tasting on Sunday, she said.
The "Buy Local! Eat Local!" showcase will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
"The Farm Fair is all about promoting our agricultural heritage and promoting support for the youth in the county, and that's a really nice way to do that," she said of the food and drink showcase.
Chick-fil-A, a previous sponsor of the fair, will also be a vendor this year, she said. The fair's major sponsor is Jones Junction, and the event is organized by an all-volunteer board of directors.
"We are really lucky to have so many great sponsors around the county," Siler said. "We are really solid with the events that we are offering again this year and we are hoping for another good turnout."
The weather forecast for that weekend looks like "a late July in Maryland, so, hot and humid," Siler said, although there may be some thunderstorms overnight.
"We are always prepared for everything," she noted.
Free shuttle transportation to and from the fair is available starting at 9 a.m. from parking lots at Tollgate and Vale roads, as well as from Bel Air High and Red Pump Elementary schools. Siler urged those dropping off people at the Vale Road lot to use a special drop-off area that will be available, to avoid backing up street traffic.
More information is available at www.FarmFair.org.