EASTON — Numbers aren’t available yet for attendance at this year’s Washington County Fair, which ended Sunday, but fair co-general manager Rebecca Breese said she could safely say they were “100% better” than 2020.
The 2020 fair was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. This year, “we had to pull off something in a few months that usually takes years, and the rules kept changing,” Breese said. “I’m so proud of the team. We had to do the fair and here’s all this extra stuff” to meet state and CDC health guidelines.
The fair started a new system for recording attendance this year, and the staff is still learning it, Breese said. She expected to have the numbers in about a week. In any case, the 2021 fair was “very well attended. It was great to see families out and about and enjoying themselves.”
The weather, always a critical element at the fair, was generally favorable. A hurricane that threatened on Monday, the fair’s opening day, missed the region. Other than heat advisories on Wednesday and Thursday, the weather was seasonably warm and mostly dry.
“The vendors and exhibitors had a good year and good experiences,” Breese said.
Six dairy cows from Tiashoke Farm, Buskirk, delivered calves on Saturday and Sunday at the Big Push Birthing Center, three each day. “It was absolutely amazing. We had six healthy calves born,” Breese said. “It was a wonderful experience.”
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Hired staff “was in short supply,” Breese said. “We had short staff and short supplies on a lot of things. We had to adjust and pivot.” But volunteer turnout, critical for the fair, “was good,” she said.
New this year was a Friends of the Fair Brick Garden between the Maple House and County Bounty Building. Donations for the inscribed bricks will fund construction of a new show barn to replace the existing tent. The walkway went in earlier in the week with some inscribed bricks and many blanks.
During the fair, “more people reserved bricks,” Breese said. “We included a sign-up form in the fair program and had order forms in the office. People looked at the garden and they liked it.”
The Sunday afternoon auction of chainsaw sculptures and blown glass objects, created by crafters during the fair, was also a fundraiser.
For the second year, the fair’s Junior Committee held a livestock auction Sunday afternoon to raise money for the Junior Committee’s scholarship fund. Cambridge Valley Livestock sold the prize-winning beef and dairy cows, chickens, pigs, and goats donated by the youngsters who had shown them.
“That’s been the big finale for my week for the last two years,” Breese said. While some people have had enough of the fair by Sunday evening, “my team is just getting revved up” for the next fair.
The 2022 fair dates will be Aug. 22 to 28.