WESTMINSTER — Beef -- lots of it -- on the hoof, on the grill and on the palate will be in evidence Sunday as the Maryland beef industry's third-annualBEEFestival takes the field at the Carroll County Farm Museum.
Sponsored by the Maryland Beef Council, the Maryland Cattlemen's Association and Maryland's Organized Beef Breeds, the festival -- which replaces the county's seafood fest -- will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the museum grounds.
"We found we needed more space for the exhibits and the entertainment," said Anita Wehrman, director of education and promotion for the Maryland Beef Council. "The Farm Museum seemed a natural steppingstone, and I think we have found a new home."
For the past two years, festivals have been on the Mount Airy farm of Emmett Full, chairmanof Maryland's Beef Council.
"This was a longtime dream of his, tohave a festival promoting the beef industry," said Wehrman.
When the farm could no longer support the attendance of 1,500 people, organizers decided to move the event to the Carroll County Farm Museum.
"We feel (the beef festival) is more in keeping with Carroll County," said Dottie Freeman, the museum's director. "The seafood festival was just not generating the crowds that one of our special events should."
Farm Museum organizers predict that 3,000 people will attendthe festival this year.
In addition to sampling various beef dishes, visitors can gather new recipes at two cooking contests, one for amateurs and another for professional chefs.
Amateurs must bring their own utensils and grill to prepare their favorite beef dish. The winner will be sent -- all expenses paid -- to a national competitionin Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 22 and 24.
Four professional chefs from restaurants in the Baltimore-Washington area will display their skills.
John Robinson of Maggie's in Westminster; Ron Leese from the Westminster Inn; Jean-Louis Lepaige of the Comus Inn in Comus,Montgomery County; and Wilhelm Jonich from the Carlton Inn in Washington are competing this year.
"We sent out 50 letters, concentrating on the Carroll, Frederick,
Baltimore and Montgomery county area, but participants can be from anywhere in the state," said Cindy Hawes, director of the Maryland Cattlemen's Association. "Some people found out by word of mouth and contacted us."
Contestants in the annual chef's cook-off must present a full menu complementing their beefspecialty for the grill, said Hawes.
"The only thing that has to be prepared on-site is the beef," she said. "Chefs can prepare their other foods ahead of time."
The professionals are expected to decorate a table according to the theme of their meal, and will be judgedon presentation, taste and originality, Hawes said.
Judges this year are Ellen Cornelius from The Carroll County Times, Al Weinberg from Frederick magazine and Geoff Fielding from Maryland magazine.
Displays showing which cuts of beef are the leanest, cooking demonstrations, nutritional information and how byproducts of beef processing are used will be featured, said Wehrman.
Nine breeds of cattle also will be corralled on the grounds, she said.
"We had people from almost every county come last year," Wehrman said. "We even had visitors from foreign countries come with their friends. It is interestingfor them to see an American beef operation."
Aside from learning all about beef, visitors can tour the Farm Museum's 19th-century farmhouse and see artisans demonstrate their skills from the late 1800s. Musical groups -- such as Bob Paisley and The Southern Grass Band -- and the Gingham Square Dancers will provide entertainment.
Admission to the event is $3 for adults and $2 for children aged 6 to 18 andseniors older than 60. Children under 6 are free.