Antique tractor show is new feature at 49th annual Howard County Fair

August 12, 1994|By Rona Hirsch | Rona Hirsch,Contributing Writer

Among the prize-winning zucchini and doilies and traditional cow-milking and canine shows, fairgoers can expect, once again, a new attraction.

The 49th annual Howard County Fair, opening tomorrow through Aug. 20 in West Friendship, has added an antique tractor show and pull to its long roster of events.

"There's always new ideas the board members come up with," said the fair president, Rob Moxley of Glenwood.

"We don't try to reinvent the fair from year to year. We keep a lot of traditions going and family entertainment. But it's always fun to have something new."

Last year, the fair introduced a "Touch Me Tent" for children, an educational exhibit featuring exotic and familiar animals.

Five years ago, the fair added pig racing, one of its most popular draws.

"A number of board members had seen the pig races at other fairs and felt it was a fun attraction, especially for children," Mr. Moxley said.

"Similarly, last year, we thought the petting zoo would be a good addition for younger children.

"We didn't want to compete with the livestock shows, but the petting zoo is different. Children can go in and handle them and feed them. They can't do that with cattle tied up in the barn."

Fair organizers expect at least 100,000 visitors to sample the new and traditional events, including a midway of rides and games, no matter Mother Nature.

"The weather is always good for the fair," Mr. Moxley said.

"We have some of our best people working on the weather. We have a lot of exhibits indoors, so people shouldn't be discouraged from coming."

About 3,000 exhibitors will display more than 10,000 exhibits -- from livestock and chickens to clothing and food.

Premiums totaling $165,000 will be awarded to winners in open class and 4-H shows.

This year, antique tractors and farm equipment, circa pre-1960, will be displayed daily by the Maryland Two-Cylinder Club.

The exhibit, said club president and board member Grant Hill, is actually a nod to fairs of old, where farm equipment was regularly displayed.

"They're from a bygone era," he said. "It is something neat to see. People will come and say, 'I remember when they used to have these.' "

The club's 100 members, from Howard, Frederick, Carroll and Montgomery counties, collect and restore John Deere tractors.

"They are famous for their putt-putt sound," said Mr. Hill, who keeps 15 of his own antique tractors on his Lisbon farm.

"Board members thought it would be an interesting addition to the fair for kids to see a full-sized tractor. Most tractors today are diesel and six-cylinder."

About 15 different pieces of vintage farm equipment such as combines, manure spreaders and corn planters will be hooked to some of the tractors.

Also, small engines will run several small pieces of farm equipment such as a corn sheller.

Antique tractors not on display will compete in a tractor pull at 3 p.m. Aug. 20. A weight sled will be pulled to determine which tractor has the most power.

About 70 tractors will compete in seven classes during the four-hour event. The tractors have to be at least 39 years old, dating back to 1955. Weighing from 2,500 to 10,000 pounds, "they will pull up to 30,000 pounds," said board member Bill Barnes of Lisbon.

The tractor pull will follow an old-fashioned horse pull that begins at 11 a.m.

The Touch Me Tent, presented by the Catoctin Mountain Zoo Park of Thurmont, will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

"We're back by popular demand," said N. Carole Brown, associate director of the zoo. "People called and asked if we're coming back. We had a marvelous crowd last year."

Seventy-five animals, including the South American tortoise, South American llama, Barbados sheep, African pygmy goat, ball python and Vietnamese potbelly pig, will share the limelight with the rabbit and guinea pig.

Five- to 15-minute educational programs about the zoo and the fair animals will be followed by question and answer periods.

Numerous signs also will be displayed in the tent and throughout the fair grounds.

"Taming of the Wild" signs, describing each of the zoo animals, will also explain the difference between beef and dairy cows.

Wooden signs, placed by farm animal stalls, will show the family connections between the exotic animals and their livestock descendants.

Signs such as "Visit my ancestors at the Touch Me Tent" and "Visit my relatives in the sheep barns" should entice visitors to check out both.

The tent's "Ewe Animal You" exhibit offers a list of the correct male, female and baby names of the horse, goat, sheep, llama, swan, turkey, deer and donkey.

Under the "Have You Herd Some of These Expressions Before?" sign, explanations of the animal connection to pet expressions such as "henpecked," "quite a chick", "bull headed" and "Italian stallion," will be posted.

"Last year people were coming up with their own," Ms. Brown said. "Expressions like 'goose me' and 'rambunctious.'"

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.