Montgomery County fair kicking off 66th annual run in Gaithersburg -- Gazette.Net


Have you ever wanted to watch a calf being born, see two monster trucks do a simultaneous back flip or witness the crowning of a king and queen? You’ll have the chance when the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair returns to Gaithersburg this week.

Featuring a “Country in the Air” theme, the fair will begin its 66th annual run at 3 p.m. Friday, giving attendees the opportunity to enjoy hundreds of activities, exhibits and experiences.

The fair, open from 10 a.m. to midnight through Aug. 16, will be held at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut St. in Gaithersburg.

Admission is $10 per person; children 11 and younger are admitted free. Those who have their hand stamped at the gate before leaving can re-enter the fair for free on the same day. On-site parking is $10, cash only.

More than 200,000 people are expected to visit this year, said Martin Svrcek, the fair’s executive director.

A mix of traditional fair staples — like carnival rides and 4-H exhibitors — and exciting new additions will greet families and groups each night.

The Winery at Olney will make a splash at the fair scene this year as a first-time vendor, offering wine tastings and selling wine by the glass. At its Olney location, the winery has a tasting bar and teaches customers how to make their own wine.

The winery is supplying two fair commemorative wines that can be bought by the bottle — Peach Chardonnay and Cranberry Shiraz.

“We’re going to have a drinkable collectible,” Svrcek joked.

Entertainment, including live music and pig races, will be held throughout the week. One newcomer, Extreme Illusions and Escapes, is a magical performance that uses a high-energy combination of illusions, escapes, theater, comedy and audience participation.

Josh Knotts and Lea Teyssier, both West Virginia University graduates, star in the show.

“They do things that defy logic,” Svrcek said, mentioning an act he previously saw in which Knotts made Teyssier disappear.

KidZone has been designed to entertain young fairgoers by hosting a variety of activities geared specifically for them, including music, games and educational sessions.

One new KidZone activity gives children ages of 3 to 11 the chance to race a “vehicle” through mucky conditions during the Power Wheels Mud Bog. Each participant will operate a Power Wheels battery-powered ride-on toy car on a mud track to see how far they can go without getting stuck or hitting a wall.

“We expect this to be really popular with the little kids,” Svrcek said. “It’s going to be great fun.”

Social media is set to play its largest role yet at the fair with the introduction of three interactive activities centered on technology.

Fair organizers are teaming up with Montgomery Community Media to host the “Picture the Fair” photo contest, which encourages participants to use their smartphones and cameras to capture memorable moments at the event. Instagram users can join in the fun by posting a fair “selfie” with the hashtag #MoCoFair.

Those who like a challenge can take part in the Twitter scavenger hunt by snapping photos of various required items and posting them on the social media site. The contest is sponsored by the fair and County Cable Montgomery.

“The purpose of the scavenger hunt is to try to move people through the grounds,” said event and sponsorship coordinator Laura Murek. “We want everyone to see all that we have to offer.”

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