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Washington County Ag Expo additions meant for memories

July 14, 2008|By JOSH SHAW

If you go ...

What: The 28th annual Washington County Ag Expo and Fair

When: July 18 to 24

Where: Washington County Agricultural Educational Center, 7313 Sharpsburg Pike, Sharpsburg

Cost: $5 before 3 p.m.; $10 after; parking is free

For a full schedule of events, click here.

WASHINGTON COUNTY - All 15 members of the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair board of directors are volunteers, but some said it seems like a full-time job.

"It is a lot of planning and is really an ongoing process from the time the fair ends all the way to the next one," said Daphne Sigler, a member of the board. "We are always trying to get things lined up and booking events from one year to the next."


The directors meet once a month and form subcommittees that also meet regularly, according to Washington County Agricultural Organization President Hal Spielman.

"Everyone has their own area of responsibility, and we meet to ask questions and talk about our progress," Spielman said. "We all volunteer and they are very dedicated. We do it for the kids so they can show their projects and know how well they did."

Entertainment, advertising, commercial vendors and home arts are a few of the subcommittees that plan the fair's activities, but board members are not the only people who make the fair possible, Spielman said.

Many people help recruit volunteers to work, help with advertising, and contribute a lot of time and effort to planning, Spielman said.

"There is a lot to do this last month but everyone has their own part," said Joanna Calimer, a former board member who is in charge of advertising and publicity. "There are a lot of different things happening this year that we hope people will like."

In addition to the Ag Expo members, volunteers are recruited to help make the fair successful, Calimer said.

"Superintendents recruit people to help them within their department and are all volunteers," she said. "Each one is no less important than another."

Judges, ticket takers and parking assistants all volunteer, as well.

Some members of the board said they hope all their planning and new ideas will help make this year's fair, which starts July 18, a memorable one.

For the first time since moving to the Washington County Agricultural Educational Center in 1995, the fair will feature games and carnival rides, including a Ferris wheel. Tickets will be sold for $1 apiece or $18 for 20 tickets, and on July 21, visitors can ride all night for $15.

Pony rides will be available but are separate from the carnival.

Chick-fil-A is giving away coupons for a free chicken sandwich to the first 10,000 people who attend the fair, another new promotion, Sigler said.

Also new to the fair this year is FAME Racing's radio-controlled car program.

Open to all ages and free to play, fairgoers can participate in one of the 21 tournaments and compete for one of 11 trophies. Races are scheduled every day of the fair and the grand championship will be held July 24.

Traditionally held on the fair's last Friday, the 4-H/FFA Market Animal Sale was moved up a day to Thursday, July 24, at 6 p.m. The sale is one of the biggest attractions of the fair, said Beth Nichols, a Washington County 4-H youth development agent.

"The last night is the market sale where the kids get to sell their animals," she said. "It is the culmination of all the hard work they have done and is all to support the youth."

Following the animal sale, Mangled Metal Productions will present a demolition derby at 7:30 p.m., an event that is different from those in the past, Calimer said. She said she expects this year's derby to be much more successful with more participants.

The fair also will feature numerous truck and tractor pulls, car shows and contests.

"The main basis for the fair is education and kids showcasing their things," Nichols said. "The fair is friendly for people of all ages."

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