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Maryland State Fair changes dates

Official: Earlier school starts are penalizing fair entrants

Official: Earlier school starts are penalizing fair entrants

February 13, 2007

The Maryland State Fair's 4-H/FFA and Open Class Livestock schedule will be revised for the first time in many years in response to more counties adopting an earlier start to their school calendar.

The 2007 4-H/FFA Livestock Shows, that formerly helped kick off the competition at the fair, are to be moved to Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31 through Sept. 2, with competitions beginning Friday evening, according to a press release.

The open class shows will run from Thursday evening, Aug. 23, through Thursday, Aug. 30.

Many counties have decided to start their school year early rather than the traditional post-Labor Day opening. This decision made it difficult for students from those counties to exhibit their livestock for competition in the Maryland State Fair, according to the news release.

"Initially, the school system considered the Maryland State Fair an educational opportunity and those students who participated were able to start the school year later without penalty," fair officials said.

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"Over the years, more counties have followed suit (and)... some of the school systems no longer consider the Maryland State Fair an excused absence. This change has had a continuous negative impact on some students and their parents who have chosen to enter the Maryland State Fair."

D. Andrew Cashman, the fair's assistant general manager, said, "The livestock and agricultural shows at the Maryland State Fair are the culmination of a year's worth of hard work, education and competition for students from every county in Maryland.

"We have decided to make changes to our calendar to make it easier for youth to continue to participate in the Maryland State Fair without having to worry about how it will impact their school attendance," Cashman said.

For more information, call 1-410-252-0200, ext. 227.

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