Carroll fair keeps flavor of long ago Opening: The 101st edition of the Carroll County 4-H/FFA Fair is loaded with traditional family activities, yet offers new events, too.

July 24, 1998|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

As the Carroll County 4-H/FFA Fair opens for its second century tomorrow, organizers are determined to maintain the country flavor that has shaped the event through the years.

"It's still an old-fashioned country fair for the family," said Denise Frebertshauser, an educator with the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, which oversees the 4-H program. "But we are offering some events to entice the public to the fair so they can see what 4-H is about."

As always, admission is free and the fair has no midway of rides or games. The most commercial aspect is the display of tractors and farm equipment from area dealers, and the sale of farm toys in a booth near the Carroll County Agriculture Center buildings.

Every year, the fair offers something new and different. One new event is a Bull Busting & Western Festival at noon and 7 p.m. tomorrow by Rocking R Productions of New Windsor.

"This is where they ride the bulls, have women's barrel racing, trick roping, clown acts, cowboy poker and grab the ribbon from the calf's tail," said Peggy Soper, fair publicity chairwoman.

This is one of only two events for which admission is charged. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the gate for adults and $6 and $7, respectively, for children 7 to 12.

The other admission event is a concert by the Dixie Chicks at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The country music trio made the big time last year with its album "Wide Open Spaces." Local teen-age singer Ashley Marie opens the concert at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the gate.

"Also new is a skid steer contest that we've had a good response to, and it doesn't have anything to do with cows," Soper said. "They're Bobcat front-end loaders, there are five on a team and they have to go through four obstacle courses that they know about and one that they haven't seen."

The contest starts at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The focus of the eight-day fair is the 4-H clubs and their members and projects, which vary from fresh-made foods and handmade clothing to animals and environmental science.

Animals are synonymous with 4-H and this year is no exception, with more than 1,500 animals ranging from cows and horses to gerbils and turtles.

Also, with the growth in popularity of llamas, the fair board has arranged to house these creatures on the grounds the entire week.

Smith-Hill Farms will offer horse hitching demonstrations several times during the week and the 4-H Drill Team will perform after Sunday's parade. A mule pull is scheduled at 7 p.m. Monday and a horse pull at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Other annual events include: an antique carriage show at 2 p.m., gospel sing at 4: 30 p.m. and the crowning of the Carroll County Farm Queen at 8 p.m. Sunday; a family fun contest at 7: 30 p.m. Monday; children's day Tuesday; senior day Wednesday; cake auction at 7 p.m. Wednesday; and livestock auction at 6 p.m. Friday.

This year's fair also is playing host to the State Aerospace Challenge with a rocket contest at 10 a.m. tomorrow. From this event, a team will be chosen to represent Maryland at the nationals in the fall.

Fair figures

Statistics for this year's Carroll County 4-H/FFA Fair and last year's:

A record 784 exhibitors, all 4-H members, will show more than 14,000 exhibits.

1,150 children ages 5 to 18 are enrolled in 4-H programs in the county. Almost 70 percent have a fair entry this year.

The number of tagged market animals this year includes more than 100 steers, 244 lambs, 332 hogs and 21 goats.

1,500 animals are entered in this year's fair (pigs, cows, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, llamas and horses), plus too-numerous-to-count small pets (turtles, birds, gerbils, snakes, lizards, etc.).

Last year's fair paid more than $31,000 in premiums to 4-H winners.

Last year's cake auction brought in $35,000 for the fair board to cover expenses and keep admission free.

The livestock auction last year netted $129,000 from 100 buyers, with proceeds going to the 4-H'er to help him or her recoup the cost of raising the animal.

Pub Date: 7/24/98

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