WESTMINSTER — As chairman of the Carroll County 4-H/FFA Fair next year, Donald E. Lippy of Hampstead knows he wants to improve things, but he's not quite sure how.
"It went great this year," he said.
Current chairman Calvin W. Brothers of Gamber said crowds each night at the week-long fair were larger than he's ever seen.
The 94th annual fair ran from July 28 through Aug. 3 at the Agriculture Center.
4-H Extension Service Agent Robert M. Shirley estimated attendance at between 18,000 and 20,000 for the week, up about 10 percent from last year.
He arrived at the attendance figure in part by looking at how many cars were in the field that serves as a parking lot. This year, cars stretched out farther than in years past, he said.
The number of exhibits entered by 4-H'ers and Future Farmer of America members also increased this year by about 200, Shirley said. About9,200 exhibits were entered and judged during the week.
"It was an exceptionally fine fair," he said.
Brothers, who was chairman for two years, said, "We were pleased with everything that happened this year -- no complaints whatsoever."
Fair goers and participants showed their generosity this year by donating about $5,500 to the Kimberly Dawn Baile Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund.
"It was overwhelming -- fabulous," her mother, Judy Baile of Union Bridge, said. "I can't believe the response."
Kimberly Baile, a 4-H member for eight years, died in a car accident last May. The endowment fund will provide a scholarship annually to a county 4-H'er. The first scholarship will be awarded next year, her mother said.
The money from the grand champion baked item at the cake auction -- $1,900 -- was donated to the fund, as well as $530 from other baked goods sold at the sale.
The cake auction, one of the most popular events at the fair, raised $16,380, which was $2,407 more than last year. The money is used to pay for next year's fair.
Shirley said organizers did not expect the total to be higher than last year because of the slow economy.
"It was a pleasant surprise," he said.
The livestock auction,another highlight of the week, raised at least $3,130 for the scholarship fund, sale chairman David Geiman of Deep Run said. Seven animals were donated to the fund and have yet to be sold at various livestock auctions, he said.
A lump sum came from Monica Feeser of Taneytown, who donated the proceeds from the sale of her reserve grand champion market lamb -- $1,750.
The livestock sale raised $102,556.75 this year, which was $28,671.50 less than last year but more than organizers expected.
"It was a lot better sale than what we expected with the economy," said Becky Geiman, sale committee secretary.
The top buyer at the sale was Martin K.P. Hill of Masonry Contractors Inc. in Manchester. He spent $15,586.75, Becky Geiman said. Among other animals, Hill purchased the grand champion market hog, which was raised by Feeser.
Giant Food Inc., which opened a new store here in April, was a first-time buyer at the sale and spent $10,992.25. The company bought the grand champion steer, raised by Feeser, and the grand champion market lamb, raised by Jessica Fogle.
The Westminster Livestock Auction was the third-top buyer, with purchases totaling $4,588, Becky Geiman said. J.D. Mullinix and Sons of Howard County was fourth with $3,329.29.
Meetings to evaluate this year's fair and look ahead to next year's have begun already, Lippy said, adding that he's looking forward to overseeing the event.
He said he hopes attendance will continue to increase.
"Every year more people know about it, and it's free," he said.
For information about 4-H programs, call the Cooperative Extension Service at 848-4611.