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As Long as We Remember...

September 23, 2003

What’s So Great About The Frederick Fair?

Mike Kuster

A newer co-worker, Clarence, from California, posed the question to me: “What’s so great about the Frederick Fair?”

Of course, I responded that “First of all, it’s The Great Frederick Fair.” Then, I called my good friend, Adam Heller, and we gave Clarence a tour of The Great Frederick Fair.

How often does one get a first hand tour from both the 15th and 16th Kings of 4-H?

Clarence quickly learned what is so great about The Great Frederick Fair!

Here are some of the things that make our Great Frederick Fair great!

The Animals:

For many people, the fair is their only exposure to agriculture, other than at mealtime. There is no better place to see the animals than at the fair. You get to see the best of the best. Farmers and 4-H’ers spend all year preparing these special animals for competition. They can’t wait to show off their best beef steer, their best milkers, and their best bacon.

This year, my nephew participated as a first year 4-H’er at the fair. He showed two steers and one market lamb. Zachary turned nine this August. His participation in the fair was so exciting. It reminded me of my days as a 4-H’er. Missing school for a week, playing with your friends in the barns, and on Machinery Row at all hours of the day and night, and the excitement of show day.

Zachary placed very well, by the way. He never placed below second. His lamb was first in his class. One of his steers was Reserved Champion in his breed.

If you haven’t been to one of the animal shows, you’re missing the best part of the fair. Family and friends gather to cheer for their 4-H’er(s). The judges explain why an animal is placed higher or lower than the others.

It’s a real learning experience and lifts your spirits and expectations for our future.

Machinery Row:

The largest display of farm equipment you’ve ever seen. What a spectacle!

I love seeing all of the kids (and grown-ups) playing on the equipment. You always see city-folk gawking, farm-folk drooling, and kids dreaming. This year I saw some foreign visitors taking a picture of their father in front of a John Deere combine. They spoke another language, but sure got the John Deere out clearly.

As a 4-H’er, I think there ought to be a book entitled, “If Machinery Row Could Talk.” Over the years, I think all 4-H’ers have gathered stories of antics on this famous stretch of farm equipment.

Country Music:

When else does Frederick host so many top named acts? The concerts are fantastic. There is something about the performances at the fair that make them so much better. I think the only better place to attend is a good old honky-tonk.

The grand stand at the fairgrounds provides the most spectacular view of Frederick during the fair. From there, you see the green-walled mountains of Frederick, the clustered spires, and the lighted Ferris wheel. Throw in the best music in the world, and you get one of the best concert experiences.


What the fair be without 4-H?

The fair kicks off with the crowning of 4-H Royalty. The young men and women stand on stage and answer questions, are interviewed by judges, and represent the best of the best in 4-H. Oh, yeah, you get to see me on stage, too.

The 4-H Building is full of wonderful and amazing projects made by children. Cakes, crafts, flowers, produce, hay, clothing, art, and more provide a glimpse of the hard work these dedicated young people put in through the year.

The animals, as discussed earlier, are the biggest draw at the fair.

The other activities by 4-H include: The Livestock Auction, the Cake Auction, the Ice Cream Making Contest, and the demonstrations by 4-H’ers of their projects.

The Food:

Okay! For some of us, the biggest draw is the fair food. Hemp’s Meat and French Fries, Lions Club Pizza, Red and Ethel’s Italian Sausages, Whoopie Pies from Auntie Anne’s, Crab Cakes, Ice Cream from the Farm Bureau, Cotton Candy, Funnel Cakes . . . I could go on for hours.

Let’s just say we all need to diet after the fair.

The Midway:

This is the part of the fair I can do without, but there are thousands of others who go to the fair just for the rides and freaks.

All of this and more add up to the best fair around! It truly is The Great Frederick Fair!

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