Around the county this week, 4-H'ers are gearing up for the MarylandState Fair. They're singing, juggling, driving tractors and cleaningcattle in preparation for the big show.
Kelly and Kristin Myers of New Windsor each will show three Holstein dairy cows in various competitions at the fair, which begins Saturday in Timonium, Baltimore County, and runs through Labor Day.
The state fair provides stiffer competition than the Carroll County 4-H/FFA Fair, said their mother, Donna Myers. But the girls aren'tnervous.
"They love it," she said. It's tougher "because they're competing with the best the state has to offer."
Kelly, 13, said, "It's a lot of fun. You're tired by the end of the week, but it's worth it."
The family will stay in a hotel near the fairgrounds for most of the week, Donna Myers said. She and her husband, Jason, will show cattle in the open shows at the end of the week.
"It's kind oflike a culmination of summer," she said.
Kelly will show her cows, Koala, Joy and Krystal. Kristin, who's 10, will show Kristine, Kristy and Karolyn.
County 4-H records show that 207 Carroll 4-H'ers, many of them champions at the county fair, will take exhibits to the state fair.
Overall, 2,800 4-H'ers from around the state will bring 12,000 exhibits, said Betty L. Bures, state coordinator for 4-H activities at the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service.
The number of animal exhibits is up this year, she said.
At 7 p.m. Sunday, Maryland Farm Queen Jenell Rinehart, 18, of Taneytown will crown her successor during a contest in the Cow Palace. Carroll County Farm Queen Laura M. Kaminski, 19, of Manchester is one of 23 contestants.
Kaminski is spending the days leading up to the contest learning as much as she can about agriculture in the county, "and I'm trying to get the jitters out," she said.
Contestants are judged primarily on their knowledge of agriculture and working experience, and they are competing for scholarships worth up to $2,000.
At 7 p.m. Friday in the Cow Palace, five Carroll 4-H'ers will be entertainingin the 4-H variety show. Of the 30 performers who auditioned for theshow, 12 were chosen to compete, Bures said.
Rinehart will sing one or two solos and will perform a skit with her sister, Jeena, 9, and a puppet named Molly the Magic Cow. Jenell developed the skit whileserving as the state dairy princess.
Sisters Kelly and Tracy Clagett of New Windsor will sing three duets, including "Wherever We Go" from the musical "Gypsy."
Kelly Clagett, 19, said she and her 15-year-old sister have been taking voice lessons and practicing two or three times a day for the show.
In the third act from Carroll, Matthew Blauvelt and Daniel Herlocker, both 17-year-old Westminster residents, will juggle. They'll pass clubs and balls and add "a few surprises," Blauvelt said, including pulling volunteers from the audience.
Aug. 31, siblings Karen and Michael Myers of Frizzelburg, age 16 and 17, respectively, will compete in the automobile driving competition. They'll demonstrate their knowledge of cars and maneuver an obstacle course. Michael Myers also will participate in large and compact tractor driving contests.
Admission to the fairgrounds for the 110th annual state fair is $3 for adults, while children younger than 12are admitted free. Parking is $1 in lots on both sides of the north gate entrance off York Road and free at the Park and Ride lot behind the Cow Palace on the west side of the fairgrounds.
For information, call 252-0200.