If the faint smell of kettle corn and manure wafting down Route 5 didn’t clue you in, the St. Mary’s County Fair is in town bringing rides, games, and giant vegetables to satisfy even the pickiest fairgoer. From Sept. 19-22, the 67th annual county fair packed the best, worst, and weirdest of St. Mary’s County in the pavilions dotting the fairgrounds.
Even with impending storms rolling into the area, the parking lot was completely full on Saturday the 21, touted as “Parade Day” in the program. As I entered the gates with my group, my senses were bombarded with familiar smells and sights that can be found at any country fair: heart-stopping food and enough hay to send an allergy sufferer running.We made a beeline for the back of the fairgrounds where the event boasts an impressive array of stomach turning and dizzying rides that cost only a few tickets to enjoy, complete with not one, but two Ferris wheels for people who can’t get enough of being slowly hoisted into the air with a chance of getting stuck up there.
As we meandered through the grounds, we squeezed by tables featuring political campaigns, “Adventures with Jesus” storybooks, and local businesses advertising their services in the packed commercial buildings. The Farm and Garden building inspired me to change my major to “Produce Expert” so I could someday judge the impressively enormous squash on display and determine the quality of the tobacco leaves, carefully dried and hung by local farmers. We spent far too long in the Poultry and Rabbit building, crowding around the baby ducklings and surprising array of bunnies, and unfortunately missed the duck race.
The sky finally opened up on us as we headed to the food court for some “drank,” “kones,” and Thai food that was advertised as “no spice, no curry.” The attendees who were smart enough to bring umbrellas (hint: it was not us) simply carried on with the festivities while the rest of us looked for any canopy or tree that could protect us from the deluge. We eventually grabbed our “no spice” lo mein and headed for the cars in defeat, reaching the parking lot just as the rain let up. We drove away soaking wet but impressed with the array of crafts, animals. and activities that this small county has to offer.