Fair fun

Six tips on how to have fun during your night at the Howard County Fair

August 12, 2010|By Chris Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun

A fair comes to vivid life at night.

Sure, there's plenty to do during the day at the Howard County Fair, running through Satuday at the fairgrounds in West Friendship. There are livestock shows, racing pigs, chain saw carving contests and a couple dozen elected and would-be elected officials prowling about, almost impossible to avoid, looking to shake your hand and solicit your vote.

Come dusk, however, the fair really takes off. Young parents bring their kids for an adventurous night out, teens compete with each other to see who can ride the Cliff Hanger the most times and barkers will say just about anything to get you to try that game of skill and chance you just know you'll never win.

Here are a half-dozen experiences not to be missed during your night at the fair. Some may seem obvious, others silly. But all are key to enjoying the full fair experience.

Check out the live music It's free, it's open-air and it's celebratory as all get-out. Wednesday evening, cover band Whitehouse Effect managed to shift from AC/DC to the Charlie Daniels Band without skipping a beat. That's entertainment.

Win a goldfish All you need to do is sink a pingpong ball into a tiny fish bowl. At 10 tries for two bucks, how can you not? They'll even hold on to your prize until you're ready to go home.

Take advantage of signs offering indoor air-conditioning With temperatures still high after dark, a cool break (maybe to eat that hot dog you just bought) is almost essential.

Fool the guesser Hey, the guy doesn't have a clue how old you are or how much you weigh. And when he gets it wrong, everyone has a laugh.

Check out the antique tractors See how grandpa used to harvest wheat. And marvel that there even is an organization called the Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club.

Win a really silly prize Like, maybe, the large plush bananas (or are they crescent moons?) available at some of the games of skill. It might cost you a couple of bucks (probably a lot of bucks) before you succeed, but hey, if you can't be indulgent in pursuit of a giant banana, when can you be indulgent?

The Howard County fair is open 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the fairgrounds, 2210 Fairground Road in West Friendship. Tickets are $2-$5. Information: 410-442-1022 or howardcountyfair.org

Chris Kaltenbach

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