FAIR HILL — Nine days of fun, livestock, competition, music, rides, thrills and food is here with the return of the Cecil County Fair, running from Friday, July 19, to Saturday, July 27, at the Cecil County Fairgrounds on Telegraph Road north of Elkton.
For the first time in more than a decade, the cost of admission has increased.
“We have tried very hard to keep prices down and have not raised prices for 15 years,” said Don Moore, president of the fair board. “Due to the rising costs of everything involved in putting the fair on, we were forced to increase daily admission.”
One-day tickets went up from $5 to $6 for adults 13 to 59. Admission was also raised to $3 — a $1 increase over previous years — for children ages 6-12 and seniors 60 and older. Kids under 6 still get in free.
Moore said a weeklong fair pass is still $20 for adults and $10 for kids and seniors.
Last year’s weather put a real damper on attendance, cutting the numbers from 70,000 to about 45,000. During the nine-day run, the fairgrounds were hit with repeated torrential rains, which meant delays or cancellations of events.
“Every year has its new sets of challenges. We’re looking forward to maybe Mother Nature being in a little better mood than she was last year during the fair. I think 14 inches of rain during last year’s fair was a little hard to handle, but this year’s going to be a better year for sure,” said Moore, who will be leading his first fair after taking over for former Fair Board President Al Miller who stepped down after being elected to the county council. Moore previously served as vice president under Miller for about a decade.
While there may not be much rain in the upcoming week’s forecast, the fair will have to contend with blistering heat and humidity for the first weekend. The National Weather Service is predicting clear, dry skies and daytime temperatures in the high 90s and less than 80 degrees at nightfall.
The Cecil County Fair features 4-H members showing animals and testing other skills, plus displays, vendors, and continuous entertainment. This is the best way to see the county’s agriculture community up close with chances to meet pigs, goats, cows, rabbits, chickens, sheep and see even more on display.
Along with its website, check out the fair Facebook and Instagram pages and when you go, take a picture and post it with the hashtag #CecilFair19
Mobile Glass Studios is back along with the Cowboy Danny Grant, both were new to the fair last year. Victoria Circus returns and will bring with them the Big Bee Transforming Car Show. At 15-feet tall, it’s a real robot, not someone in a costume. Performing for the first time at the fair will be Victoria Murcia, 6, who was not even born when the family last appeared at the fair in 2012. Also known as “Victoria Jr.” since her mother is also Victoria, the youngster has an aerial lyra act. She will perform from a large hoop suspended above the ground.
Dave Kaufman Blacksmith Show is new this year, while the popular Team Uprooted Extreme Chainsaw Carving returns. The items made in these demonstrations — as well as Mobile Glass Studios — will be sold by raffle and auction to benefit the 4-H and the fair.
Speaking of which, the Running with the Pigs 5K is also back Sunday morning. Run or walk, it’s a family-friendly event complete with prizes, raffles and more also for Union Hospital. Those who participate dressed like a pig in some way can also compete for a special prize. Show up at 7:30 a.m. to register last minute.
Miss Cecil County Farm Bureau and Jr. Miss Cecil County Farm Bureau will be crowned in a competition that starts Sunday at 2 p.m.
Detroit Diesels, Oliver tractors and tractor pulls will be held July 20-21. Four-wheel-drive and hot stock tractors will pull July 22. Painted Pony Rodeo returns July 23-24. Stoney Roberts brings back the ever popular Demolition Derby July 25-27. The school bus derby — introduced in 2017 — returns this year in the Thursday night heats.
Look for Hunter Madron’s Smash For A Cure to make its final appearance at the Cecil County Fair this year. A recent Perryville High School graduate, Madron is moving on and said this is his last year to run a pink bus and three cars in the Demolition Derby. He will make those vehicles available for a hammer swing in exchange for a donation before the derby.
Degeller Attractions, also a popular fixture at the fair, will be back offering ride specials including 12-Buck-Tuesday. Most nights the midway offers a $20 endless rides special. However it’s $18 on July 19 and $22 on July 27. The weekend deals start at 2 p.m.
Pedal tractor pulls, pie eating, hay and cow chip tossing, and Big Wheel races are among the daily drop-in events at the fair.
The Ag Showcase is a popular stop for those who are in or support the ag community. There are always speakers and vendors on hand, including Joe Bartenfelder, secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture, who will return.
Knesha Rose-Davidson is the other, who will talk about AgriSafe, a 16-year-old national nonprofit organization began by rural health nurses concerned about health issues specific to farmers.
“We’re about protecting the people who feed the world,” said Rose-Davidson, director of communications for AgriSafe.
While AgriSafe focuses on all farmers, her 1 p.m. presentation Tuesday will be about the growing number of women in the industry.
“There’s been a 27% increase over 2015 numbers,” she said, referring to the Ag Census that monitors the industry.
The 2017 census asked questions specifically about women, and manufacturers are listening, she said.
“We are seeing an evolution in tools for women who do physical work,” she said.
Her 1 p.m. seminar will deal with ergonomics and what women need to do to stay strong and safe.
The seminar will give suggestions on self care, specific to women but applicable to the men as well.
“There’s a huge amount of stress and anxiety with weather and prices,” she said.
The Ag Showcase is free to anyone with fair admission.
Cecil Whig Deputy Editor Marcus Dieterle contributed to this story.