NEW MILFORD — The Harford Fair is celebrating its 159th year and as usual, there are both traditional events and new attractions.
The annual opening ceremonies of the fair will once again be held Sunday evening, Aug. 21.
But the opening will be fair from traditional.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Harford Fair Queen Competition, the preliminary queen competition will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Dining Hall on the Fairgrounds. Then the 25th Annual Queen Coronation will take place in the main arena, beginning at 7 p.m.. This is different from past years, when the competition occurred on Monday of the fair.
Musical entertainment will be provided by “Good News” and the evening will end with a fireworks display, beginning at approximately 9:15 p.m. With no admission fee and free parking on Sunday, fair-goers can also enjoy the Draft Horse and Pony Show at 2 p.m. in the horse arena, the 4H Rabbit Roundup at 4 p.m. and the Livestock Skill-a-thon t 5:30 p.m. in the Cattle Arena.
Exhibit buildings and 4H will open on Monday morning at 10 a.m.
Fair-goers who approach the fairgrounds from route 81 or the village of Harford will notice they were extended. Much has been done to transform this area into a bustling extension of the Harford Fair. One of the biggest improvements is the paved walkways, which make mobility in that area much easier for strollers and wheelchairs, as well as people walking. Houghton Enterprises Midway Rides helped to make this improvement possible.
Panfilov’s Performing Pets, which features cats and dogs, will offer three free shows daily in the newly developed south end of the fairgrounds.
There are also many new vendors filling the spaces in that area.
Last year’s imposed ban by the health department has been lifted, so the poultry and waterfowl will once again be on display for fair-goers to enjoy. The rabbits will be displayed in that area as well.
The events in the main arena are always a popular attraction for the fair. From the variety of the truck and tractor pulls, the woodsman’s contest, the rodeo, demolition derby and the live country western concert with Chris Janson and Old Dominion. New this year for the main arena events, the National Anthem will be performed by winners of the contest organized by the Harford Fair Youth Board. The winners who will perform the National Anthem individually at the beginning of each arena event include Melanie Hansen, Melissa Smith, Michayla Stahl and Dale Steiner.
For information on all of the animal, handicrafts, baked goods, and fine arts departments, visit harfordfair.com, Facebook, and/or the premium book for details. The premium book is available online or at many locations throughout the county, as well as at the secretary’s office on the fairgrounds during regular hours.
The Information Center will highlight many of the features of the fair and offer helpful information to fair-goers. The 25th anniversary of the Harford Fair Queen Contest and the Kiddy Tractor Pull will be featured here as well. The queen’s throne will be set up with the sash and crown for people to take pictures as the Harford Fair Queen. A kiddy pedal tractor will also be set up for people to take photos. The many trophies, sponsored by local businesses and individuals, will be on display. Cards for the scavenger hunt are available in the Information Center. The popular graffiti wall will also be available for all fair-goers to add comments, drawings, favorite memories, and suggestions.
The Harford Fair week-long event takes an entire year of planning and preparation which would not be possible without the many volunteers, the superintendents of each department, the generosity of the sponsors, the fair secretary and office staff, and the members of the board of directors as well as the community. The annual profits from the fair, once expenses are paid, are put right back into the fair, making improvements and the maintenance of the buildings and the fairgrounds.
Parking for the fair, which will run from Aug. 22 through 27, is free and gates open at 8 a.m. daily. Admission is $6 for ages 12 and over. Coupons are available on the fair brochure for a 50% discount on gate admission from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22. A coupon for $2 off the wrist band price for rides is also available on the brochure. Wednesday is Senior Citizen’s Day, with gate admission $5 for anyone over 60.