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No rides at Ag Expo, but new entertainment awaits

July 12, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE

There will be no amusement rides at this year's Washington County Ag Expo & Fair, but there will be several new entertainment options, according to Daphne Sigler, board president for the Washington County Agricultural Organization.

New this year are a grilling contest, a cheese-carving contest, a chain-saw artist, dog races, pig races, a food drive and a modified mini-rod pull featuring lawn mowers with motorcycle engines, Sigler said.

Favorites such as bull riding, a demolition derby, and truck and tractor pulls are returning.

Two events returning after long absences are a horse pull and a cow-milking contest, Sigler said.

Amusement rides were planned, but last year's provider couldn't accommodate the fair schedule and another company that was lined up to be at the fair backed out, Sigler said.

"I feel bad that they're not going to be there," Sigler said.

Sigler said she'd like the board to change the fair schedule next year so it aligns with the schedules of amusement ride companies.

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Amusement ride firms usually operate rides Monday through Saturday, tear down Saturday night and travel Sunday so they can start again Monday, she said. The local fair opens Friday and ends the following Thursday.

"We're asking them to give up two weeks for our fair and they cannot afford to do it. Not as long as the fair is on a small scale," Sigler said.

Another reason to change the schedule would be to make it easier for people to submit entries such as baked goods and craft items, she said. Currently, entries are due Thursday night or Friday morning. If entries could be delivered over the weekend, more working people would be able to participate, she said.

So far, entries are on pace with last year's event, which had 3,193 entries Sigler said.

Sigler said 11,100 people attended the expo and fair last year, compared with 6,200 in 2008. She said she's hoping for at least 15,000 visitors this year.

This year, for the first time, passes were distributed to elementary school children before the school year ended, Sigler said. The passes permit free entry when a child is accompanied by a paying adult. Children 8 and younger can attend the fair for free, but some elementary school children are older than 8, so the passes might help boost attendance, she said.

Sigler, who took over the presidency of the agricultural organization last fall, said she wanted to add more community involvement to the expo and fair.

"I just felt that there was a need to give more back to the community," she said.

At the July 16 bull-riding event, people can buy a pink rally towel for $5, with towel sale proceeds benefiting Breast Cancer Awareness -- Cumberland Valley.

At the July 20 tractor and truck pull, people can bring canned or boxed food that will be donated to Food Resources. Anyone who brings a food item will get a coupon for a free sandwich from Roy Rogers, Sigler said.




If you go ...



What: Washington County Ag Expo & Fair

When: July 16 to 22

Where: Washington County Agricultural Education Center grounds, 7313 Sharpsburg Pike, south of Hagerstown

Cost: $2 admission; free for ages 8 and younger. There is an additional $5 or $10 charge for events at the track.

Contact: For more information, call 301-432-2795 or go online to http://www.agexpoandfair.org.

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