Although county fairs were canceled in Southern Maryland due to the coronavirus pandemic, St. Mary’s County residents can still look forward to a fair food event, along with several nonpublic livestock shows.
John Richards, president of the St. Mary’s County Fair Association, said this week a “Fair Food Fair” will be held at the fairgrounds in Leonardtown in lieu of the county fair event, which would have taken place this month.
While Charles and Calvert had planned fair food drive-thru events, St. Mary’s is offering carryout food, “using vendors that are normally at the county fair,” he said.
The St. Mary’s County Fair Food Fair will take place at the fairgrounds in Leonardtown on Friday, Sept. 25, from 4 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26, from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 27, from noon to 6 p.m. Eleven vendors will be at the event, including Olde Town Pub’s Wing Wagon, Lenny’s Funnel Cake and Minute Man Kettle Corn.
Richards mentioned he visited the Charles fair food drive-thru last weekend, where waits were long since customers had only one line to follow to have access to any of the vendors. Although they handled the crowd well, he said the layout of the St. Mary’s fairgrounds is better suited for a carry-out situation.
“People will park their cars and walk up,” he said.
There won’t be any public tables or chairs on site and customers will be expected to return to their vehicles after purchasing food.
“It’s different,” than what we normally do, Richards said, “but we’ll see how it goes.”
While the 4-H office is not allowing events of more than 10 people, they will host virtual events to showcase exhibits which would have normally been in the 4-H building on the fairgrounds. Submissions are done by photograph rather than in person.
“The virtual fair is an opportunity for our members to exhibit the work they have done all year on their 4-H projects,” said Christine Allred, local 4-H educator. “Members are photographing their animals, crafts, art work, baked goods, fiber arts projects, field and vegetable crops and displays and submitting them to our office.”
The photos will be sent to around 10 judges who will provide comments, and by Sept. 27 a Powerpoint presentation of the participants will be available to view at go.umd.edu/smc4hfair.
Allred mentioned they are working with the support of the St. Mary’s County Fair Association to be able to provide ribbons and premium awards if funding sources are available from the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board. With 93 members preregistered, the group is expecting between 200 and 500 entries.
“We’re bummed it can’t be in person,” she said, but added she is thankful they can do something.
Due to the limitations on 4-H activities, many will be showing and selling their livestock at a separate nonpublic community event, Bustin’ Out of the Barn Livestock Show and Auction. This is not a 4-H sponsored event, but rather hosted by Farrell Auction Services and located at Flat Iron Farms in Great Mills on Sept. 25 and 26.
Cindy Wise, the show committee lead, said the event will be organized similar to the traditional show, where judges will come to judge the animals and kids will earn ribbons and premiums, with Flat Iron Farms footing the bill. Although the show will not be open to the general public, family members of participants may attend. Bidders may attend the auction if they register before the show on Sept. 26 at 5 p.m., but livestock can also be bid on virtually at www.farrellauctionservice.com/index.html.
“We’re excited for the kids to actually have the opportunity to show off their animals,” despite restrictions in place due to the virus, Wise said.