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Washington County Ag Expo & Fair celebrates farming community

July 18, 2013|By LEIGH-ANNE MAUK | Special to The Herald-Mail
  • Shawna Corbett, center, and her daughters, Erin, 16, left, and Kaitlyn, 20, right, have been attending the fair since Kaitlyn was a child.
Joe Crocetta /

For more than 30 years, the annual Washington County Ag Expo & Fair has provided activities for children of all ages and has given families a place to socialize and learn about local agriculture, crafts and trades. 

Shawna Corbett of Downsville has made the Ag Expo a regular summer event for her daughters, Kaitlyn and Erin. 

“The fair is really great for the community, and my kids have always loved it,” said Shawna Corbett, who is also a Washington County Ag Expo & Fair board member. “If they had a choice between going on vacation or going to the fair, they always picked the fair.”

The trio will return to the Ag Expo when it kicks off on Saturday, July 20, with daily and weekly activities scheduled through Saturday, July 27, at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, south of Hagerstown. 

Corbett’s oldest daughter, Kaitlyn, 20, has been going to the Ag Expo since she was 5 or 6 years old.

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“The petting zoo was always my favorite — the calves, lambs and baby goats,” Kaitlyn said. “I just loved it.”

Animals and livestock play an important role in the expo with children and young adults from local 4-H and FFA chapters showcasing their animals and competing for prizes. 

Kaityln, now 20, started showing livestock in the fair when she was just 10 years old. She began with lambs and went on to show dairy cattle, pigs and goats. 

Corbett’s youngest daughter, Erin, 16, also shows animals in the fair and has been doing so since the age of 8. This year, Erin will be showing breeding sheep, dairy steers and cattle, market and breeding goats, and market hogs.

“I love animals and farming, and I’ve always loved the fair. It’s a lot of fun,” Erin said. “We have to work really hard to pull it off, but it’s worth it to be able to hang out and relax with friends (at the fair). And for families with young kids, it’s a great way for them to learn about agriculture.”

Kaitlyn agrees. 

“The fair is something we’ve always done as a family,” she said. “It’s a really great experience having the animals out all week long for the public to see. I’ve had kids that have never touched a ram or seen a pig before. It’s great to make their first exposure to these animals a positive one and to promote agriculture in a really positive way.”

According to Washington County Ag Expo & Fair board president Sue Hull, educating the public about agriculture is the true purpose of the expo.

“Our mission has always been to remind our guests about the importance of agriculture,” Hull said. “Through our fun-filled activities and venues, we hope (attendees) learn just how agriculture touches their lives. This includes not just the food on their plates and the milk in their drinking glasses, but their clothes, baseballs, crayons and so much more.” 

Hull said the expo takes a full year to plan and execute and requires a great deal of work to continually add fresh, new shows and exhibits for its more than 14,000 attendees.

“We’re excited to offer a brand new schedule of events this year,” she said. “We have live bands performing each evening and (lots of) kids’ activities and hands-on learning centers.”

Musicians and bands scheduled to perform include Jeremy Staubus, The Boro Boogie Pickers, Fertile Soil, Chubby, The Speakeasy Boys, Michael Christopher and Lindsey Erin.

New to the expo this year are performances by Skin and Bones’ Comedy Circus, an Alabama-based company that features live animal acts, the Diesel Days Power Fest and the Monster Truck Show and Pit Party. 

Family favorites like the rodeo and bull riding events, tractor pulls, and lawn mower races will also be returning this year along with the ever-popular “Ag Ventures” Petting Farm.

For Shawna Corbett, it’s more than just music and events — it’s about reminding others of a way of life.

“It’s important to give people a glimpse of what farming is all about,” she said. “A lot of children, and even adults, really don’t understand where their food comes from. We want them to appreciate how many people care for their livestock, the land, and the environment, but we want them to have fun, too. The fair gives us the opportunity to show people a different world they might not even know about.”

If you go ...        

What: Washington County Ag Expo & Fair

When: Saturday, July 20, to Saturday, July 27

Where: Washington County Agricultural Education Center, 7303 Sharpsburg Pike, south of Hagerstown

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