A chance to talk about sheep, not politics
Harford executive Glassman loves showing his animals at state fair
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman was preparing Thursday to spend some quality time with four-legged constituents outside his home county — taking a break from politics to show seven lambs at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium.
Glassman, 54, who raises sheep at his Darlington farm, will show his Katahdin hair sheep Sunday at the fair, and on Thursday he settled in for a few days in Timonium. Like other exhibitors, he’ll stay with his sheep through Monday.
“I don’t have to talk politics, I just talk sheep, and it’s a nice respite for me,” Glassman said. “I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed it so much over the years. I can just be me.”
Glassman, a Republican who was elected county executive in 2014, has been showing sheep at the state fair for about 25 years. He grew up in Harford and has been around sheep since he was a child. His father, Charles, still lives in the community of Level, and has a flock of 10 to 15 sheep.
“It’s just a hobby I’ve had for a long time,” said Glassman, who is retired from BGE and has been an elected official since he joined the Harford County Council in 1990.
In his run for county executive, he even used the nickname “Baaa ... rry” Glassman in campaign signs — a nickname he got from his fellow legislators when he served in the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate.
“It stuck with me through all 16 years in the legislature,” Glassman said.
He started bringing sheep to the fair in the early 1990s when his son, Jordan, now 23, was involved in 4-H. The executive’s wife, Debi, also helps care for the sheep.
His son aged out of 4-H after high school, but Glassman still returns to the fair every year.
He said the fairgrounds are a place he can relax, and maybe market Harford County to a statewide audience — he brings along marketing materials designed “to get people not only interested in agriculture, but Harford County.”
Three male and four female sheep joined Glassman in Timonium, including Blizzard, named because she was born during January’s storm, when more than 30 inches of snow fell on Harford County.
Mike Doran, a Whiteford farmer and president of the Harford County Farm Bureau, praised Glassman’s willingness to take his personal time to promote agriculture and the livestock industry.
“We’re certainly happy to see it,” said Doran, who also shows at the state fair. “I think it’s great, and his interest in the sheep and agriculture as a whole, it says a lot for the county and what he stands for.”
Glassman’s total flock is about 40 head, but will double to about 80 in February and March, when lambs are born.
He described the Katahdin hair sheep as fairly “low-maintenance.” Raised for their meat, they do not have wool, but short, wiry hair. They do not need to be shorn, just brushed. Glassman described their meat as mild, saying he’s sold it to local restaurants such as Laurrapin Grille in Havre de Grace and Sunny Day Cafe in Bel Air.
They’re “perfect for a guy that’s running a county,” he said. “I don’t have to do a lot of extra work.”
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman leads one of the seven Katahdin hair sheep he will be showing this weekend at the Maryland State Fair to the trailer on Thursday. Glassman, who is 54, has been showing sheep at the state fair for about 25 years.