Farm animals, Ferris wheel among expo's highlights


WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Food, farm animals, and a Ferris wheel will be among the attractions at this year's Washington County Ag Expo and Fair, to be held July 17 to 23 at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center on Sharpsburg Pike.

As always, fairgoers will have a chance to check out a variety of animals, arts, crafts, vegetables, candies and cake exhibits, among other things. And for the second time in recent years, carnival rides will be available.

Clif Taylor, general manager of Taylor & Sons Inc., an amusement ride company in Annapolis, was chosen to provide the rides at this year's Ag Expo.

Taylor said there will be about 10 rides at the fair.

"We're bringing a Super Slide, Paratrooper, the Tempest, dragons and a big Ferris wheel, as well as some children's games and skill games," Taylor said. "Besides the amusement rides, we're also providing popcorn, cotton candy and funnel cake stands."


This will be the first year Taylor & Sons has participated in Ag Expo.

"We're very excited about the fair and expect a large turnout," Taylor said. "It's a beautiful fairground, and we think it should be a great (week) for the fair."

Daphne Sigler, vice president of the Washington County Agricultural Organization Inc., said she was looking forward to having the full carnival this year.

"We started putting together the Ag Expo for this year as soon as last year's expo ended," Sigler said. "This year, we made quite a few changes, one of the main ones being the admission prices."

Daily admission to the fairgrounds is $2. Those ages 8 and younger are admitted free.

"Last year, the entrance fee depended on the date and time because of the track events, but this year we (separated) the track ... so you would pay for the events there separately," Sigler said. "We hope this change will draw more people to the fair."

In addition to the carnival, some of the major events include a thrill show on Thursday night featuring Michael Vaters of Vaters Monster Motorsports.

"There's going to be lawn-mower races, jet-powered four-wheelers, and I think he's going to burn an old car, too," Sigler said. "It should be a great show."

Sunday, July 19, will feature performances by contemporary praise and worship bands.

"Admission to the grandstand will be free that day," Sigler said. "Some churches in the area are putting on the show."

Traditional exhibits of items such as garden products, fresh fruits and potted plant arrangements will be on display during the week.

And, of course, there will be livestock.

William "Bill" Shelton, treasurer of the Washington County Agricultural Organization Inc., said there are two exhibition categories.

"The 4-H'ers have 160 exhibitors this year, and they will be competing in 3,051 exhibits," Shelton said. "These exhibits include animals, cookies, cakes, fashions, etc."

He said the open class is for anyone interested in entering, including 4-H members.

"We have 272 exhibitors and 2,985 exhibits in open class," Shelton said. "It's a pretty good turnout for the year."

Ag Expo highlights

The Washington County Ag Expo and Fair is set to provide education and entertainment from July 17 to 23 at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center on Sharpsburg Pike.

"The Ag Expo and Fair features the 4-H and FFA youth of Washington County and their projects, agricultural and home-arts exhibits, entertainment and carnival rides," Joanna Calimer, who handles publicity for the event, said in a news release.

The fair opens Friday, July 17, with the 4-H fashion review at 5 p.m., the Ag Expo Queen contest at 6 p.m. and the 4-H/FFA cake auction at 7 p.m. in the main show ring.

Proceeds from the cake auction are used to sponsor workshops and clinics for 4-H'ers and volunteers, community outreach programs, after-school programs and recognition awards for 4-H youth and volunteers, Calimer said.

Washington County Farm Bureau day is Saturday, July 18, with events sponsored by the Farm Bureau. The Barnyard Olympics for ages 3 to 9 will be at 1:30 p.m., according to Calimer.

The antique tractor pull, sponsored by the Washington County Antique Tractor Club, is slated for Saturday at 11 a.m.

Saturday at 5 p.m., WAYZ will announce the winners of the Star-Spangled Salute to the Troops. Top prizes are a free car from Hamilton Nissan/Hamilton Hyundai or six months of free food from Johnnie's.

"All you have to do is donate an item to the troops at the participating locations (Hamilton Nissan, Hamilton Hyundai or Johnnie's) and you can register to win," Calimer said. "Donations can be in the form of goods or money, and all proceeds go to the troops in the Middle East."

Events on Sunday, July 19, include the garden tractor pull at 9 a.m. and a classic car show by the Mason-Dixon Antique Automobile Club at 2 p.m.

A dairy promotion will feature ice cream, milk, cheese and prizes being given away. Performances by contemporary praise and worship bands will be held in the grandstand Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Admission to the grandstand is free for those concerts.

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