Food, rides, music, races, contests, farming exhibits, hands-on workshops, animals, home and garden events -- the Maryland State Fair's got it all. But where's a fairgoer to begin? Check out this list of highlights. For a full schedule, including exhibits, shows, rides and games, visit www.mary landstatefair.com.
Ridemania Preview Night: From 5 to 11, enjoy endless rides and a preview of the fair. Rides range from daring to kid-friendly. Only rides, games and food stands will be open. Ridemania costs $13 and includes unlimited rides.
General information: The fair opens at 10 a.m. and runs through Sept. 4. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Miss Maryland Agriculture Contest: It's a 60-year tradition, and this year, 23 women will vie for the title of Miss Maryland Agriculture and awards valued up to $9,000. The two-day competition will test the women's farm/agricultural experience, speaking ability, Farm Bureau knowledge, personality, friendliness and personal presentation. The winner will be present throughout the fair to award prizes and mingle with fairgoers. The contest starts at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and runs through Saturday in the Cow Palace Show Ring.
The 4-H/FFA Livestock Sale: 4-H/FFA youth will auction off their prize steer, lamb, goats and market hogs, with proceeds from the sales going toward education or new livestock projects. Sale starts at 7 p.m. in the Cow Palace.
4-H Animal Costume Contest: 4-H members will dress up sheep, goats, horses, dogs, rabbits, calves, beef steer, dairy steer and themselves to compete for ribbons and trophies. Members will provide narration, in story or poem form, to read as their animals are presented. Previous entries include "101 Cowmations," "The Lion King Horse," "Cow Ripken" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Rabbit." Contest begins at 7 p.m. in the Horse Show Ring.
Fire on the Midway Maryland State Chili Championship: Local and regional professional chefs, amateur chefs and celebrities will compete to create the best bowl of Texas red chili. The chefs will vie for awards and points to qualify them for the Terlinguia International Chili Championship in Texas. Fairgoers can buy chili samples for 25 cents. Proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Maryland. The competition will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Grandstand.
Jeopardy! Brain Bus Event: Fairgoers can play Jeopardy!, get a behind-the-scenes look at the audition and testing process and meet on-air talent and travel correspondents from the Jeopardy! Clue Crew. The event is from noon to 2 p.m. in the Vista Room. An invitation-only audition will take place Sunday in Towson.
"Battle of the Beast" professional rodeo: Want a taste of the wild west? See the J Bar W Ranch Battle of the Beast Pro Bullriding and Barrel Racing event. Thirty-two competing professional bull riders must stay on a bucking bull for at least 8 seconds before their performances are even judged. Women from around the state will compete in Cowgirls Barrel Racing. The event starts at 7 p.m. in the Horse Show Ring.
Sally Jessy Raphael: Media personality Sally Jessy Raphael will broadcast live from the fair's 4H-FFA Home Arts Building, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The broadcast is open to the public and included in the fair's admission price.
Tammy Bruce: Fox News Channel political analyst Tammy Bruce will broadcast live from the fair's 4H-FFA Home Arts Building from noon to 3 p.m. The broadcast is open to the public and included in the fair's admission price.
Antique Vehicle Display: Some 75 cars from the 1920s through 1980 will be on display, including Ford Model A's, Corvair convertibles, Camaros, Corvettes, Mustangs, Triumphs and GTOs. The car show runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. under the Racetrack Grandstand, off the Timonium Road entrance.
Cow Milking Clinic: Express your inner farmer/milkmaid and learn to milk a cow with the help of the Maryland Guernsey Youth Association, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., tomorrow through Sunday and Sept. 2 through Sept. 4 in the Cow Palace.
McCormick & Co. Maryland Foods Pavilion and food stands throughout the fair: Sample crab cakes, catfish filet sandwiches, sweet corn-on-the-cob, smoked ham, pork barbecue, charcoal-grilled beef sandwiches, lamb wraps, turkey legs, roasted barbecue chicken, fresh fruit salad, peach yogurt sundaes and many more dishes at the pavilion and food stands. Daily cooking demonstrations in the pavilion.
"Pedal Power" Kids Tractor Pull and Monster Truck Rides: Watch tractors and monster trucks in action from noon to 8 p.m., next to the Swine Barn.
Swifty Swine Racing and Swimming Pig Show: Each show includes three heats of pig racing and a halftime performance by Swifty the Swimming Pig. Shows will run five times per day -- at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Entertainment Row.