TIMONIUM, Md. — While the traditional Maryland State Fair had to be modified due to pandemic restrictions, it was still the “12 Best Days of Summer” for exhibitors and Fair Fans with livestreamed youth and open livestock shows and a variety of virtual special events and agriculture education activities.
The 139th Maryland State Fair began with a virtual Miss Maryland Agriculture 2020 Competition, the first of its kind in the history of the 80+ year old event. Kylan Keehan, a 17-year-old student from Bel Air in Harford County, Maryland was named Miss Maryland Agriculture 2020 and was awarded with a scholarship and cash awards valued up to $ 8,000 from the Maryland State Fair, Maryland Farm Bureau and Maryland Young Farmers. As Miss Maryland Agriculture 2020, Ms. Keehan will act as an agriculture ambassador representing Maryland’s leading industry at numerous legislative and special events throughout Maryland.
Maryland youth and open class exhibitors participated in horse and pony, dairy and beef cattle, swine, sheep, goat, and poultry shows following all proper protocols. Although these shows were not open to the public, the competitions were livestreamed on the Maryland State Fair website and Facebook page. “Livestreaming the livestock shows and other special events enabled Maryland’s youth and adults to virtually showcase their hard work to thousands of fairgoers who this year were unable to attend in person,” said Maryland State Fair General Manager Andy Cashman.
The youth competitions culminated in the Maryland State Fair Youth Livestock Sale that grossed over $115,000 for the 70 youth who won a spot in the sale. A variety of businesses and individuals came together in person or online via cowbuyer.com. The virtual component expanded the sales reach across Maryland and as far away as Illinois and North Dakota. Online sales contributed to 10 percent of overall sales.
Throughout the week a variety of AGVENTURE! Educating Kids About Agriculture activities, Maryland State Fair agriculture theme Virtual Escape Games, daily Fair Family of the Day photo/video competitions, and Maryland Public Television’s Maryland State Fair “Then & Now” segment were available on Maryland State Fair’s website and/or social media. “We are delighted that our daily online educational programming enabled the Maryland State Fair & Agricultural Society to fulfill our mission to educate Maryland’s youth and preserve and promote agriculture, Maryland’s leading industry,” said Maryland State Fair & Agricultural Society Chairman of the Board Gerry Brewster.
The 3rd Annual Maryland State Fair and American Dairy Association Northeast (ADANE) Undeniably Dairy “Shake-Off” Celebrity Milkshake Contest brought together online celebrity participants from WMAR-TV 2, WJZ-TV 13, 95.1 Shine FM Radio and 100.7 The Bay Radio who submitted recipes and videos of their teams making creative milkshakes. The videos as well as the milkshakes recreated by ADANE representatives were judged by Maryland Dairy Princess Ellie Feaga, Maryland State Fair & Agricultural Society President and Dairy Farmer Donna Myers, and Maryland Farm Bureau Director of Organization Parker Welsh. The Judges’ Choice Winner was 95.1 Shine FM for its “Mosty Toasty” Milkshake and the People’s Choice Winner was WJZ-TV 13 for their “Lights, Caramel, Action” Milkshake. The winners received trophies, bragging rights and ice cream socials provided by local Prigel’s Creamery.
“The Maryland State Fair Youth & Open Livestock Show was a crowning achievement for the over 500 exhibitors to show off a year’s worth of hard work,” added General Manager Cashman.
The 2021 Maryland State Fair will take place in person from Thursday, August 26 – Monday, September 6, 2021.
–Edie Bernier, Maryland State Fair