Hot weather doesn’t burn 4-H Fair
TOLCHESTER — Despite the sweltering heat and some Saturday storms, local families still turned out for every day of the annual Kent County Fair, enjoying the rides, competitions and entertainment.
“I think we had a very, very good fair,” said Beth Hill, 4-H youth development coordinator, Monday, July 24. “Everything ran smoothly. Usually when you have extra heat, that always adds that extra level of difficulty, stress, whatever you want to call it. Everyone just did what they needed to do.”
The fair weekend, which ran from July 20 to 22, took place at the Kent County Agriculture Center in Tolchester. As well as giving local 4-H’ers a chance to show off the projects they worked on all year, the fair offered carnival rides; dog and horse shows; musical performances from Spark in Da Pan, East Roc and Vice Squad; exhibits of crafts and agriculture; auctions; and the greased pig contest, a fan favorite.
“Exhibits were great, bands were great. Everyone I talked to was having a good time,” said Ann Baldwin, president of the Kent County Agriculture Center Board Monday.
“(The) entertainment was all new,” Hill said. “I thought those went over very, very well. Those are just excellent bands, all three of them.”
Based on the money collected at the gate and estimation, Baldwin said attendance was “probably down slightly from last year,” due to the heat, but there was a good average attendance.
The food vendors even sold out Friday night.
No animals were lost to the heat, though several rabbits were sent home to cool off, Hill said.
As a measure of protection for animal health, Hill said several shade curtains funded by a grant from the Mid-Shore Community Foundation were placed over the barns and main show pavilion.
“Thank goodness we did, because, boy, it did really really help with the high temperatures, to keep some of those barns cooler and to deflect some of that late afternoon sun,” she said.
Weather didn’t detract from the auctions and shows, Hill said.
“(The heat) couldn’t have stopped everyone,” she said. “We certainly had a great crowd, Friday especially.”
Allison Davis, 9, from Chestertown has participated in 4-H for three years. She is a fifth-grader at Kent School.
“Getting ribbons is nice, but I don’t do it just for the ribbons,” Davis said. “I like being at the fair. It’s fun and not like a big contest to me. ... It’s fun to be with my friends and see their animals.”
Davis said she enjoys learning about the animals. A member of Kent Clover Calf, Davis had cows, rabbits, chickens and a leopard gecko at the fair.
She also competed in the horse show on Saturday.
“The best part is hanging out with all my friends,” Olivia Yiannakis, 9, said. She is a member of Fuzzy Tails and Shiny Scales club. A Galena native, she was showing rabbits in the fair.
One family actually stopped by the fair rather than going out on the water because of the high temperatures on Saturday.
“(We) decided to do something different today,” said Beth Kern.
The Pennsylvania family already had spent a few hours at the fair. Kern said her daughters, Vicky and Lucy, were enjoying the exotic animals, horses and the jousting tournament that took place earlier that day.
Visiting family in Chestertown, Resa Guastavino said that she and her brother take a trip to Maryland every year and she has fond memories of the fair from her childhood.
At the Work Horse Farm Rescue and Exotics pen, she snapped a few photos of a camel that was taking a break from picking at the tree overhead.
“We don’t have livestock like this in the (Florida) Keys,” she said.
Although it seemed to draw a crowd from all over, the focus came back to the 4-H’ers.
“It’s always a great showcase for our 4-H’ers and their projects, whether it’s an animal project or an indoor-type project, and that’s really what the fair is all about: giving young people an opportunity to showcase their skills,” Hill said. “That’s always a really great benefit. For me, as an educator, it is wonderful to see those skills developing in these young people.”
Additional reporting by Social Scene Editor Leann Schenke.
Ten-year-old girls chase after two greased pigs. Lexi Morris of Millington tries to grab the tummy of the larger pig.
A pig poses for the camera inside the livestock barn Friday night at the fair.
Two cows try to keep cool from the summer heat Friday night, at the Kent County Fair.
A hen poses for a picture inside the poultry barn Friday night, at the fair.
Cora Duncan rides Sweetie over a fence during the jumping portion of the Bit & Bridles’s horse show July 22.
The smile is subtle, almost hidden between the crust and apple filling smeared on her face, for pie eating contest winner Phoebe Kelly, 10, of Chestertown.
Pie-eating contestant Alexis Baker, 6, of Worton can conveniently — or not — get her entire face inside the pie plate.
Zuzu Kusmider, 10, of Chestertown and her brother Chapin Kusmider, 4, give the thumbs-up sign after winning their respective age groups in the greased pig contest Friday.