Agricultural Fair has affordable fun for all ages
Organizers of the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, which kicks off Friday and runs through Aug. 22, hope that the economy won't deter people from the will be an affordable break for everyone.
"We're hoping the term fair-cation' will become a reality in the county," said Martin Svrcek, executive director of the Montgomery County Agricultural Center.
All-day passes for carnival rides will increase for the first time in 10 years. The one-day All-U-Can Ride wristband can be purchased online at last year's price of $20 until midnight Saturday. After that, wristbands cost $25.
"We're doing absolutely everything we possibly can to keep prices down," he said.
Svrcek recommends taking advantage of Children's Day on Monday, when children 12 years and under can enter the fair for free until 4 p.m., and Senior Citizens Day on Tuesday, when adults over age 62 can enter for free until 4 p.m.
For those looking to go through the fair without spending any additional cash, some free additions include a wandering magician, a stilt walker who will do free face painting, Wild West-themed performances and activities at Kidzone in the Community Square and movies shown at dusk every evening.
Visitors are permitted to bring food into the fairgrounds.
Many of the members of the fair's Royal Court have been attending the fair since they were young. They said they know what is entertaining for children of all ages, for little or no additional cost to parents. The 2009 Fair King and Queen will be named at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Check out Old MacDonald's Barn, which is home to ducklings, pigs, goats, oxen and ponies that guests can pet.
"Old MacDonald's Barn is a great learning experience," said fair court princess, Abbey Linthicum, 17. She remembers visiting Old MacDonald's as a child and was fascinated by the miniature horses.
"I could never understand why they were so small," she said. Linthicum, who lives on Seneca Ayr Farm in Laytonsville, will exhibit a pig and her piglets at Old MacDonald's Barn this year.
Visit the Farmer's Triangle, where school-age children can pick out fruits and vegetables at the farmers market.
"I think it's pretty exciting to buy your own food," said 2008 Fair Queen Bree Feuillet, 18, of Damascus. Feuillet, who is a member of 4-H, is showing sheep and displaying craft projects at this year's fair, said her family has had a large garden of fruits and vegetables for as long as she can remember.
For teens, the fair is more fun when with a group of friends, said Sophia Reaves, 18, a fair court princess from Germantown. Her 4-H club, Back in Time, will sponsor a square dance 3:30 to 6 p.m. Monday in the Heritage Building. It is an opportunity for teens, their friends and family, to learn how to square dance and have fun, Reaves said.