Every September, the usually quiet Frederick Fairgrounds erupt into a bustling festival that celebrates the people and culture of the city. The Great Frederick Fair is a well-loved local tradition, an event that has brought the community together for the past 155 years. Through the years, organizers have strived to incorporate new and exciting experiences for fair-goers.
“We have a new exhibit building,” said Karen Crum, an organizer for The Great Frederick Fair. “Building 13: Homegrown Frederick, is a showcase of wineries, breweries and distilleries featuring Frederick County’s agriculture. It is an air-conditioned exhibit that will be educational and have acoustic entertainment and a comedian in the evenings.”
The building is packed with stands of locally made libations, and at each stand those who make them are ready to serve their beverages as well as discuss them with patrons.
Every year, the fair invites the people of Frederick to enjoy nights full of music. This year’s line-up includes 3 Doors Down, Travis Tritt, Cole Swindell, The Doobie Brothers, Casting Crowns and Lee Brice.
Fair-goers may also attend events such as demolition derby, an equine expo, and the FCPS S.T.E.M. showcase.
The fair is also an opportunity for those in the community to put their passions on display, and meet others with similar interests.
“It’s just exciting to go to the fair and to see all the different people who put all the effort into growing corn, and beets, and potatoes, and tomatoes and honey, you know, from the beehives, and you get to see all this productivity that you didn’t know existed anymore in Frederick County,” said Steve Burgoon, a local man who had the top four pumpkins in Frederick County, weighing anywhere between 150 pounds to 309 pounds. “And these people are as excited about their honey as I am about my pumpkins, and it’s this amazing coming together of, sometimes the agricultural community, but also, people who just like to remind themselves that we grow things.”
Abby Sharp is an 11-year-old member of the 4-H club “The Calico Clovers” and shows sheep with her group at the fair. She says her favorite part about the fair is getting to spend time with the animals she loves so much and “just living the life”.
When asked about how showing sheep at the fair has helped her grow, she responded, “I think it’s helped me grow in confidence and everything, because there’s crowds watching you show sheep, and then the judges ask you questions, and you’re in front of people and you want to do your best.”
For others, their favorite part of the fair is the variety available.
“I love it because you get to meet a lot of people,” said Nancy Snyder, a fair volunteer in the Household Building. “and working in the household building I get to see all the different stuff and by working here I get to see it all through the week.”
NOTE: The Great Frederick Fair website reported on Sept. 23 that a pig exhibited at the fair had contracted the swine flu. The barns were shut down shortly after, and all pigs quarantined. Two-hundred pigs were subjected to testing, with a total of 11 pigs were found to be carrying the disease.