The second day of the 72nd annual Howard County Fair was a comfortable, sunny day for funnel cakes, carnival games and the fair’s grand opening parade.
President of the Howard County Fair Association Mickey Day announced the parade as it rode down Midway Boulevard. Former 4-H participants Ann Pickett Sansing, of Columbia, and Debbie Mullinix Wilk, of Ellicott City, started the parade with their rendition of the national anthem.
County Executive Allan Kittleman was back in the parade this year after missing last year’s due to the Ellicott City flood that had occurred days earlier. Kittleman walked with several of his supporters sporting gold T-shirts emblazoned with “Allan Kittleman Howard County Executive,” gearing up for his race for reelection in 2018.
Kittleman said that he’s been attending the fair for more than 50 years, and that the annual event reminds him of his childhood. He lives only a few miles from the county fairgrounds in West Friendship.
“It’s my favorite week of the year,” Kittleman said.
He was one of two politicians with groups in the parade; Democratic Circuit Court Clerk Wayne Robey also made an appearance.
Other participants included the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services Honor Guard, Howard County League of Women Voters, the county school board and the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department.
The parade’s route went past typical county fair stands offering such treats asfried Oreos, and a 4-H exhibit, but the route also included political outlets, with booths for both the Howard County Democrats and Republicans on the boulevard. County Council candidates could be found shaking hands and passing out literature at each booth, including Republican District 5 candidate Jim Walsh and Democratic District 3 candidate Hiruy Hadgu.
Jennifer Jones, who was volunteering to work the Democratic booth on Sunday, said she had talked to several people that day who were happy to see the Democrats’ presence in a typically Republican portion of the county.
“When you live in a red part of the county, you like to see like-minded people, a tribe,” Jones said.
More politicians are set to attend the fair later in the week, including Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford on Wednesday evening.
The fair continues Monday with more entertainment, exhibits and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association All-American Pro Rodeo at 7 p.m.