A celebration of Calvert’s pastoral heritage
Although it continues to grow and develop, Calvert County has plenty of events that celebrate its rural heritage. The best and biggest example of that is almost done setting up right now off Route 231 in Prince Frederick.
The 131st annual Calvert County Fair will be ready to roll later this afternoon, the culmination of the work of longtime members of the fair board and seemingly countless volunteers.
This year’s attraction features a new pirate-themed high-wire act that’s sure to entertain all ages, as well as the Maryland Agricultural Showcase, a walkthrough exhibit designed to teach families more about where their food comes from and provide information on nutrition, farm animals, gardening and more.
So that’s what’s new. Everything else is just as you’d expect at the county fair. Want to see some farm animals? This is the right place. However, don’t expect to see any pigs this year, as no swine will be featured at any of the region’s fairs following an outbreak of swine flu in a handful of pigs at the Charles County Fair earlier this month. The infected swine were quarantined and officials expect pigs will be back for next year’s fairs. But you won’t find them exhibited or in any of the farm animal races this weekend, and we feel for the 4-H students who may be disappointed in these recent events.
Nevertheless, there will still be plenty of sheep, horses, rabbits, poultry and more. Here’s your chance to have a look at them all, up close and personal.
Want to participate in a good old-fashioned horseshoe pitching contest or corn hole toss? They’ve got you covered at the fair. And don’t forget to see all the flowers, plants and floral arrangements exhibited on display, not to mention loads of vegetables of all varieties, grains and — of course — tobacco, once the staple cash crop of the county.
Taken as a whole, the Calvert fair looks like a giant and eclectic farm. And that’s the whole point. It’s a celebration of country life, coming just as summer changes into the harvest season of autumn. It’s an acknowledgment that for all our technological advances and increasingly sophisticated ways, the pastoral atmosphere of Calvert is alive and kicking.
Some people come to the fair for the many displays. Artwork and decorated cakes catch the eye, as do the 4-H and student exhibitions. Some people come for the rides. The Ferris wheel is a classic enticement, but there are plenty of opportunities for young and old to get the thrill of motion.
Some people come for the food — and there’s certainly no shortage of that. While there’s no truth to the rumor that anything edible sold at the county fair contains only half of its usual calories, there’s something about the fallish air, music and constantly running into friends and neighbors that makes it OK to try a caramel apple. Or a corn dog. Or something fried that has no earthly business being fried — like a pickle or an Oreo cookie — yet tastes great anyway.
The gates open today at 4 p.m. with an opening ceremony to follow, then at 9 a.m. Thursday through Sunday. On Friday, youth under 18 can enter the fair for free until 4 p.m. It’s a great way to celebrate our county’s heritage and connect with the community. The past two years, rain dampened the fair’s festivities, but weather forecasts this year call for a mix of sun and clouds and temperatures in the mid-70s throughout the fair’s four-day run.
So head out to the Calvert County Fair this weekend. And if you dare, eat something fried.