FAIR HILL — It’s back and so is the excitement for the 2021 Cecil County Fair running July 23-31 at the fairgrounds at the corner of Routes 213 and 273 north of Elkton.

July 23 is a sneak preview from 5 until 10 p.m. Saturday the Cecil County Fair rolls out in earnest with its Old Time Farm Weekend from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. Tuesday is AG Day, Wednesday in Military Appreciation Day. 4-H Appreciation Day is Friday.

Sponsored this year by AUI Power, the nine-day run of fun, food and memories is back in its full form with live 4-H shows and programs, concerts every evening, carnival rides, Painted Pony Rodeo, Demolition Derby, truck and tractor pulls, Team Uprooted — Extreme Chainsaw Carving, Mobile Glass Studios Glass Blowing and Blacksmithing Demonstrations, and — new this year — Great Lakes Timber Show.

“We’ve never had them before,” Tyler Ewing, chairwoman of the fair entertainment committee, said of Great Lakes Timber Show. “I think it’s going to be a lot of comedy involved.”

Ewing said the entertainment that was lined up for 2020 is on the bill for 2021. Since the 2020 fair didn’t happen, and people are eager to get out of go, she figures that will make the Cecil County Fair even more popular this summer.

“People want to do things. It’s been a trying year and a half,” she said. “We’re hoping people will feel safe enough to come out.”

Tickets are still $6 at the gate for adults and $3 for those 60 and older and children 6-12. An unlimited entry pass is $25 at the gate and $10 for seniors and children.

Tickets can be purchased at a discount online at cecilcountyfair.org.

You should make sure to see all of the Cecil County Fair. That means walking through all the 4-H barns to meet the kids and their animals and into the home arts barns to see all the delicious foods, arts and crafts, clothing, photography and produce. Set apart, but also part of the fair are the horse barns where 4-H members spend hours grooming and tending to their equine friends before and after competition.

This year the Cecil County Farm Bureau will select young men as well as young ladies to be Farm Bureau Ambassadors in a competition to be held Sunday at 2 p.m.

If you spend any amount of time driving around Cecil County you have probably seen demolition derby cars in progress or on display. Cecil County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) will have a car and a school bus competing this year. The school bus heat is Thursday night.

“We probably won’t have as many buses as we had in 2019,” said Frank Roberts from Stoney Roberts Productions, the company that has operated the Demolition Derby at the fair for decades.

Roberts said the there is just one theme for this year’s derby and it has to do with the pandemic.

“The theme for every show is Pandemic Heroes; our healthcare people and first responders,” Roberts said. “This has been a terrible time.”

For Roberts it’s personal. He lost his 44-year-old daughter in law to COVID-19.

“It’s real and a lot of people don’t think it is,” Roberts said.

Don Moore, president of the Cecil County Fair Board, said there will be no reserved seating sold this year for the derby and the Painted Pony Rodeo.

“With changes at the (horse racing) track there was no way to do it this year,” Moore said, noting reserved seating would be back in 2022.

“But no saving seats,” he said. Anyone who tapes a blanket to the bleachers needs to stay with the chosen seats or the blankets will be pulled up and donated. “The shelters are happy even if they are not.”

Every night at the Cecil County Fair there will be live music with something for just about everyone. One-Eyed Jacks kicks things off Saturday at 7, followed by Just Because, Ride the Goat, Acoustic Turnpike, Olivia Reynolds, Denim & Lace, Scott Bandy and Shotgun Betty. Moore said Adam Yarger, a Nashville recording artist, was supposed to perform Sunday but cancelled his tour due to an injury of one of his band members.

There’s no gospel night this year because those acts are typically booked in December and January. However at that time no decision had been made on the 2021 fair.

Running With the Pigs is also back Sunday morning. That’s the 5K run/walk to benefit the Breast Health Center at ChristianaCare/Union Hospital in Elkton.

“ChristianaCare is allowing Union Hospital to keep its own foundation,” said Virginia Ferver, organizer and founder of the event. “So far we’ve raised $100,000 to help cancer patients and their families in Cecil County.”

Those who register online by July 22 at noon will get the Running With the Pigs T-shirt and Ferver said there will be tons of giveaways, plenty of bottle water and more on race day for both runners and walkers.

“We have gift cards and prizes for runners, walkers, the largest team,” she said. There will also be awards for those who come dressed as a pig in some fashion.

“I am very fortunate to have great local sponsors,” Ferver said.

Ferver is working on getting misters but said people who feel the heat would be too much can still sign up and just hang out in the shade or sponsor another competitor.

“Oh and we are ending the race on the downhill,” she noted.

Registration and more information can be found at the Running With the Pigs 5K Facebook page. While walk up registration is available on race day, there’s a $5 discount

Since all the fair events are live and in person, that also means the Cecil County 4-H Livestock Auction is also back but it’s been moved from Friday night to Saturday July 31 at noon in the Stafford Pavilion. Rebecca Kelly, fair board member and livestock sale chair, said there were several reasons for that change.

“The auction was moved to Saturday in hopes that more businesses would be able to attend,” Kelly said. 4-H members write letters and make calls in advance to invite businesses and other supporters to come bid.

“Additionally Friday night is a big derby night,” Kelly said. That often means a traffic jam on the roads leading to the fair grounds.

The auction is the last stop in the fair for many of the animals used in competition.

Degeller Attractions is also back with ride specials every day. New this year is Buddy Night on Tuesday. Get two armbands to ride all the rides starting at 5 p.m. for $30.

Free parking is still available and so are the shuttle rides from the parking areas to the ticket gates. Moore said on the heaviest attendance nights — the rodeo and the derby — traffic will be diverted to other access points to avoid a back up on 213 and 273. It’s a system that has worked well in the past.

“There will be plenty of signage and people directing,” Moore said.

Moore said every indoor vendor space is taken and only a few outdoor vendor spots remain.

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