Carnival off to a slow start at fair

July 19, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- If anything conveys fun at Washington County Ag Expo and Fair, it's the carnival.

To get things started, a giant figurine of a farmer stands at one entrance to the carnival.

He's holding an egg and an American flag and at his feet is a big chicken.

On Sunday, eager children passed by the statue, happily headed toward attractions like the Goldfish Game, the Tempest and a Ferris wheel.

The carnival used to be an attraction at the fair, but was then abandoned.

It was offered again last year, but was set back away from the exhibit area, said Leslie Hendrickson-Hart, a member of the fair's board of directors.

This year, the fair was moved closer to the exhibit area, and Hendrickson-Hart talked excitedly about how the new location more closely links the carnival with other attractions.


"This has just worked beautifully," Hendrickson-Hart said.

But things have been slow, according to vendors and people operating the attractions.

Leslie Hardeman, who was selling chicken-on-a-stick and corn dogs at a stand, said business has been "very, very slow" for a county fair.

"I'm sure the economy is not helping," said Hardeman.

Hardeman said she worked at other shows in Langley Park, Md., and Deale, Md., this year and business was about the same.

"Nobody's spending money," Hardeman said.

Bob Wilson, who was operating a fishing game in a booth, said it seems people don't know about the carnival. Wilson said he went to a local Burger King restaurant and a local Waffle House restaurant and people at the establishments were not familiar with the carnival.

Wilson said carnival operators have to determine what people like to build crowds for coming years. And events like live music help, Wilson said.

"You kind of build it if it's starting over," Wilson said.

One woman was standing at an attraction waiting for her two sons when she talked about the carnival.

"It's nice," she said.

The woman said she figured the crowd was sparse because it was dinner time.

Don and Angie Powers of Boonsboro brought their grandchildren out for some fun.

"I think it's fun for them," Angie Powers said.

Today at Ag Expo

Washington County Ag Expo and Fair is being held at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, 7313 Sharpsburg Pike, about six miles south of Hagerstown.

o Gate admission is $2 per person

o Track admission is $5 per person

o Admission for children 8 and younger is free

Activities at Ag Ventures Learning Center at Ag Venture Tent, through to 5 p.m.

Rabbit and cavies show at rabbit tent, 4 p.m.

Track grandstand opens, 5 p.m.

Registration for baby contest at main show ring, 5:30 p.m.

Milking demonstration at milking parlor, 5:30 p.m.

Babies on parade at main show ring, 6 p.m.

Carnival/midway open, ride all night/pay one price, 6 to 10 p.m.

Youth tractor pull at track, 6 p.m.

Don Schwartz Memorial Farm Tractor Pull at track, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday at Ag Expo

10 a.m. to closing -- Gate admission $2, track admission $10 per person, admission for children 8 and younger is free

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Senior Citizen Day, free admission for those 65 and older

9 a.m. - Horse and pony English show at horse ring

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Activities at Ag Ventures Learning Center at Ag Venture tent

10 a.m. - Dairy breed showmanship at main show ring

10 a.m. - Dairy breed show at main show ring

2 to 6 p.m. - Embroiders' guild demonstration at building 1

4 to 8 p.m. - Spinning and weaving demonstration, weavers' roundtable at building 1

5 p.m. - Beef cattle showmanship and market steer show at main show ring

5 p.m. - Track grandstand opens

5:30 p.m. - Milking demonstration at milking parlor

6 to 10 p.m. - Carnival/midway open

7 p.m. - Tractor/truck pull at track

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