It's always fair weather in Timonium when the Maryland State Fair comes to town. This year is no exception, as the 110th edition of Maryland's annual homage to its agricultural community today kicks off a 10-day series of non-stop activities that will last through Labor Day.
Last year's fair was plagued by a disastrous series of events at Timonium's half-mile thoroughbred race track. Unsafe track conditions led to an opening-day cancellation, break-downs by horses on the track and a paucity of horses to fill the race cards. A repeat performance might doom future racing at the state fairgrounds.
Now that the track surface has been revamped, there are plenty of entries for today's opening card, simulcast wagering will be available for the first time and Timonium officials have their fingers crossed that horse-racing will experience a new burst of popularity with fairgoers.
Thoroughbred events, though, are only a part of the fairgrounds story. Even with problems at the track last year, the fair drew a record 618,000 visitors. With pleasant weather this weekend and next, the 1991 fair could top that mark. After all, there is so much to do at the fair: the dozens of agricultural exhibits and judging contests; the midway activities, including a Kiddieland section; live mock trials with real-life judges and lawyers, and entertainment featuring the Drifters, the Platters, the Shirelles and Marie Osmond.
There's always something special at the fair. Today, you can get in free if you bring along 12 recyclable aluminum cans (fair officials hope to collect 300,000 cans to be recycled). Tomorrow, the state's 130,000 volunteers have been invited to partake in a special program to honor their contributions in volunteerism. Once a year, folks throughout Maryland get to savor the down-home atmosphere and fun of old-time state fairs. Don't miss your chance.