Howard County Fair has kept family first for 70 years – Baltimore Sun

Driving down a rocky single-lane driveway off Daisy Road in Woodbine, two walls of fresh green cornstalks stand close to 10 feet tall, divided straight down the middle. A simple, two-story white farmhouse with forest green shutters sits to the left at the end of the graveled path, surrounded by a small flower garden and a few red barns, where cows rest quietly, seemingly recovering from their 3:30 a.m. wakeup call for the day’s milking.

Inside, at the head of the kitchen table, sits 85-year-old farmer David Patrick — the same farmer who has been a part of the Howard County Fair since its debut in August 1946.

“There was no midway or rides until much later,” Patrick said, referring to the isles of concession stands stockpiled with burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken and sweet treats such as cotton candy, caramel apples and ice cream. “It was more of a showing of the cattle. It’s amazing how Howard County fairs have grown to what they have nowadays, like bull rides and demolition derbies.”

The 70th Howard County Fair starts Saturday, and Fair President Mickey Day said this year’s eight-day event includes tractor pulls, skid loader rodeos, parades and a combine demolition derby.

“Entertainment-wise, the amusement rides have also changed, going from the little merry go ’round and the little helicopters that went up and down to the loop de loops and all the swings,” Day said. “The one thing that we try to keep very consistent is keeping this a family atmosphere, a place where anybody feels safe to bring their family.”

The first fair was held at Brendel’s Manor Park in West Friendship, where farming families gathered for the Farm Bureau Picnic. Before the fair, Patrick said, there was the Farmers Field Day at the Howard County Hunt Club.