Clicked Gallery: Festivities on Friday at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair
Though Friday morning’s rain raised some doubts about whether the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair would open as planned, the sun was bright and hot by 3 p.m., and fairgoers were out and about. The only reminder of rain came over a loudspeaker: “Blast yourself with hurricane-level rain at the Rainy Day tent.”
But the suggestion was almost drowned out by the hip-hop music blasting from the game booths and rides, and from squeals as kids rode the Wiggling Wurm, walked through the Magic Maze and took turns going on pony rides.
“We come here every year, because it’s the only entertainment like this in the area,” said Maria Franco, who was at the fair with daughters Miranda, 6, and Ava, 8. Franco grew up in Venezuela, where fairs are set up permanently.
“There, you would go every weekend,” she said. She called out to the operator of the roller coaster Ava was riding: “Can she go again?”
Olivia Yansaneh of Clarksburg, and Dassy Smolianski of Chevy Chase, both 12, visited the fair’s Gem and Fossil Mining tent, and both proudly displayed the stones they’d picked out. They estimated that this was their fifth year at the fair, which they love, but they bemoaned the rising cost of attending.
“A ride used to be one ticket, and now it’s three,” Yansaneh said.
Would this deter them from coming back?
No, they said together. “There’s still a lot of great stuff here,” Yansaneh said.
One of the high points — literally — of the day was stiltwalker Carrie McQueen. In her feathered hat, sequined teal shirt and long, long teal pants, she struck up conversations with fairgoers young and old. She gets a lot of the same questions every year, she said.
“There’s ‘How’s the weather up there?’ and ‘Are you really that tall?’” she said. “Some kids believe I’m not on stilts, so I tell them ‘My whole family’s this tall. But don’t worry, it’s not catching.”
A passerby asked her about the weather up there. Without missing a beat, she gestured towards two men on a bench. “You know, hot air rises. And you should hear what these guys say about me.”
In the agricultural section of the fair, a man shearing a sheep gathered a small but appreciative crowd. Several buildings had posters of “Agri-facts” on them, as in, “Agri-fact: One acre of soybeans will produce 82,368 crayons,” or “Agri-fact: Maryland has 56,000 dairy cows, which produce over 1 billion pounds of milk each year.”
Funnel cake, lemonade and popcorn vendors were located every few feet, interspersed with rides and with games offering giant smiling banana stuffed animals as prizes.
Desarae White was at the fair for her seventh year in a row with her three young sons.
“It’s inexpensive, and the kids love it,” she said. She asked her oldest son, Jaylyn, as he came off of a ride: What’s the best part of the fair?
“All of it,” he said.