To taste an unspoiled piece of Americana, be sure to attend the Carroll County 4-H and Future Farmers of America Fair.
This year's 94th annual fair, which showcases young farm and non-farm talent, will begin July 28 with pre-fair festivities and run till Aug. 2 at the Agriculture Center fairgrounds off Smith Avenue in Westminster.
Every year, the fair has grown and attracted record crowds to an event that is still relatively unspoiled by commercialism.
Fair promoters always have stressed that they have kept the event simple andfree.
In 1990, the fair attracted 6,635 exhibits, 2,090 4-H and FFA exhibitors, 767 volunteers and about 40,000 visitors.
Exhibits from young farmers -- as well as suburban dwellers -- include everything from pigs to 1,200-pound beef cattle to five-pound cakes and pies.
The fair actually is a miniature version of the Maryland State Fair, without the commercialism.
Exhibit winners go on to compete in the statewide event.
Every day a feature event, such as a parade, farm queen contest or horse pull, is sponsored to attract visitors.
The highlight of the fair could include one of two events: the cake auction, where cakes and pies sell for hundreds of dollars, or thelivestock auction, where youngsters who have raised and cared for their animals sell their livestock.
Proceeds from the events go toward making the fair free to the public.
Food also is sold at the fair -- in every variety typical at a country festival.
Fair promoters also have established a popular petting barn, where children and adults can touch and feel farm animals, such as pigs and sheep.
To get to the fairgrounds, take Route 140 toward Westminster.
Take Center Street south and go past Carroll County General Hospital and theFarm Museum. Turn right on Gist Road and then right on Smith Avenue.The grounds are at the end of Smith Avenue.