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Bulls put a kick into Ag Expo & Fair

Where education meets entertainment

Where education meets entertainment

July 19, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

Bull riding is back at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.

Young spectators will have more than a chance to watch riders get thrown from bulls - or stay on for eight seconds, which is the actual goal.

This year youths have a chance to participate in their own wild ride by trying to ride a sheep for six seconds.

And everyone can watch some professionals as they sit at a poker table in the arena while a bull is let loose, trying to be the brave soul who remains in his seat the longest. During at least one past event like this, the men wore bulletproof vests.

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This year's fair also will feature live music from three acts - Tori Anderson (who lives in Hancock) & Possum Holler; rock band The Shades, performing music from the '50s through the '80s; and country singer Jay Henley, who grew up in the Mount Airy, Md., area.

The Ag Expo & Fair starts tonight with a bake sale at Washington County Agricultural Education Center at 7313 Sharpsburg Pike south of Hagerstown, then the daily schedule gets packed from this Friday until Friday, July 27, when the market sale is held.

Traditionally, Ag Expo has focused on agricultural related events such as livestock competitions, but with entertaining fare such as tractor pulls, a baby parade and children's activities.

Event organizers are trying to emphasize the expo is Washington County's annual fair by adding "Fair" to the event name and adding entertainment options, such as live music and rides in a monster truck, and bringing back bull riding, said Joanna Calimer, publicity coordinator.

With the additional entertainment, Calimer hopes there will be something to appeal to everyone, she said. And with that comes hope that the expo and fair will attract more than the estimated 25,000 to 30,000 visits per year in recent years.

Bull riding replaces the demolition derby, which only had six cars entered last year compared with 17 the previous year. The last time the event featured bull riding was in 2003.

Organizers tried to book amusement rides as well, but none were available, Calimer said. They'll look into that again for next year's event.

From 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. this Friday through Friday, July 27, people can pay $5 to ride in a monster truck called Fire Chief, officials said.

The additional entertainment, along with increasing costs, led to admission fees increasing $2 to $3, Calimer said.

There are several new activities at the Ag Ventures and Birthing Center, too. They include an obstacle course open during fair hours for children on pedal tractors or stick horses, said Betsy Herbst, coordinator for the center.

The corn maze this year will be bigger and will feature scavenger hunt activities for different ages, including hunting for facts about corn.

For more information, call Hal Spielman, expo and fair president, at 301-432-6854.

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