A cel­e­bra­tion of Calvert’s pas­toral her­itage

The Calvert Recorder - - Community Forum - Our Opin­ion

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.

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