WASHINGTON COUNTY — The annual Washington County Ag Expo & Fair returns this weekend with bull riding, a demolition derby, carnival rides, a cheese-carving contest and “Ag Ventures” for youngsters, as well as a variety of other shows and activities.
The expo gives members of the farming community a chance to showcase the fruits of their labor and provides an opportunity for everyone else to learn a bit about the region’s agricultural roots, said 15-year-old Erin Corbett, who has been showing animals at the expo for about seven years.
This year’s fair, from July 21 to 28, will kick off Saturday with the popular bull-riding event and the Miss Washington County Farm Bureau contest.
Sunday afternoon will feature several family-oriented activities, such as a rural heritage museum and village walking tour, and the tug-of-war contest, which is often as popular with older participants as it is with young people, said Rebecca Hutzell, a member of the Ag Expo & Fair board of directors.
“It’s really something neat to see. They really put their all into it,” she said.
The cheese-carving contest, as well as the Iron Chef Competition and a 4-H robotics demonstration, also will be Sunday.
“We try to interest the kids into coming and making something, and learning a little bit, too, with science and robotics and engineering,” Hutzell said.
On Saturday, July 28, the expo will host a new event — lawn mower races at the track. Hutzell said the American Racing Mower Association will come straight from another fair to Washington County.
One of the annual highlights of the expo, especially for participants who have spent months raising animals in anticipation of this week, is the 4-H/FFA market animal sale on Thursday at 6 p.m., Hutzell said.
The kids spend “many, many hours of work” feeding and caring for their animals, as well as getting them halter broken or trained so they can be shown for the sale, said Shawna Corbett, a member of the fair’s board of directors and Erin’s mother.
Erin Corbett first showed animals for the sale when she was 8 years old, and this year, she will enter six — two pigs, two lambs, one steer and one goat.
Shawna and Erin Corbett, along with Erin’s sister, Kaitlyn, run a farm with 70 to 80 animals. The expo is an important week for recognizing the hours of work that go into raising their steers, lambs, sheep, pigs, cattle and goats, Erin said.
“We want it to be a fun time for the kids because they work hard all year,” Hutzell said. “It’s round-the-clock, every day, 365 days a year, that they’re keeping track of all their animals.”
In addition, the Ag Ventures Kids Learning Center will be open all week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tent will have crafts, a play area and a “petting farm,” as well as activities such as “Milk a Cow.”
The expo also will feature amusement rides during weekday evenings and the afternoon of Saturday, July 28. A flat charge for unlimited rides will be offered several days during the week. S & S Amusements will provide about 12 rides, including a merry-go-round, super slide and bumper cars, Shawna Corbett said.
There is a $2 general admission fee for the expo, excluding those 8 years old or younger, who are admitted for free. Attendees also have the option of purchasing a $50 pass for all-week gate and event access.
If you go ...
What: Washington County Ag Expo & Fair
When: July 21 to 28
Where: Washington County Agricultural Education Complex, 7313 Sharpsburg Pike, south of Hagerstown
Cost: $2 admission; free for ages 8 and younger. Free admission for those 65 and older on Tuesday, July 24. Track events vary from no cost to a $10 charge. Amusement rides cost extra. One price for unlimited rides on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and the afternoon of Saturday, July 28.
Contact: For more information, call 301-432-2795 or go to www.agexpoandfair.org.