Baltimore Sun

Horse racing, The Band Perry and one massive crab cake at the Maryland State Fair

Horse racing and midway rides are two of the main attractions of the Maryland State Fair, which formally opens Friday, Aug. 24, in Timonium. A special preview night for rides is set for Thursday, Aug. 23.

Rides, food, entertainment and a celebration of Maryland's farming and agricultural heritage are all part of the Maryland State Fair, opening Friday, Aug. 24, and running through Monday, Sept. 3 at the at State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Timonium.

Over the course of the fair's 11-day run, Timonium will play host to a number of special events and attractions, including the Battle of the Beast bull riding and barrel racing event on Monday, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m.; and the Sept. 1, 10 a.m., attempt to make the "World's Largest Crab Cake," an effort by Handy International Seafood, of Salisbury. (The current record is 253 pounds.)

Music is always part of the fair agenda, and three main concerts will take place during the 2012 edition. The Christian pop band, Newsboys with the Afters, will perform on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 7:30, in the racetrack infield. Tickets are $24 and include fair admission.

On Friday, Aug. 31, Victoria Justice will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for that show are $34.

And, the main attraction for concerts is the Saturday, Sept. 1, performance by the 2012 Grammy-nominee The Band Perry, also 7:30 p.m., at the racetrack infield. Tickets are $39.

Live thoroughbred horse racing will again be a prime feature at the fair. Racing on the 5/8-mile oval will be held Friday, Aug. 24, through Sunday, Aug. 26, and Friday, Aug. 31, through Monday, Sept. 3. Post time is 1 p.m.  Admission to the racetrack is included in the admission price of the fair.

Other daily attractions at the fair include "Swifty Swine" pig races; pumpkin carving with Ray Villafane, a grand champion winner on Food Network; chain saw sculpting, with an auction of artwork on Wednesday, Aug. 29, and Monday, Sept. 3,  at 4 p.m; and also the animal birthing center and "Milk It Yourself" center, conducted by the Maryland Guernsey Youth Association.

The 4-H/Home Arts, Farm and Garden, Exhibition and the Museum/DNR buildings are open Monday to Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. On Fridays to Sundays (and also Labor Day, Sept. 3), hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Agricultural fair tours are also hosted daily by volunteers from the University of Maryland. Livestock and horse shows start at 9 a.m. daily.

The midway rides, games and food stands are open Monday to Thursday from noon to 10 p.m. and Friday to Sunday, and Labor Day, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Rides are individually priced. There will be a Ridemania Preview Night, with rides, games and food stands open, on Thursday, Aug. 23, from 5 p.m. to close, for $16 for unlimited rides.

Admission to the fair is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors (62 and older), and $3 for children (6-11). Children 5 and younger are admitted free.

Limited parking is available on the fairgrounds for $3. Free parking is available at the park-and-ride location on Deereco Road, west of the fairgrounds. Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Handicapped parking is available. The Timonium Light Rail Stop is located a short walk from the entrance to the fairgrounds near the Cow Palace. The MTA No. 9 bus line also serves the Timonium Park and Ride/Light Rail Stop. For details, call MTA at 410-539-5000 or go to  

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