It’s that time of year again. The last dog days of summer are here, and with them comes a much-anticipated tradition.
There are contests, livestock, animals and horse racing. The smell of favorite foods such as cotton candy, popcorn, funnel cake and fried delicacies fills the air. The excitement of riders lining up for amusement thrills can be heard throughout the area.
What is this tradition that comes year after year? The Maryland State Fair in Timonium.
Back in 2022 for three long weekends instead of a continuous stretch, the 141st annual fair has no shortage of entertainment in the queue. Here’s what’s new and notable this year, along with some essential tips for getting the most out of your fair experience.
The fair’s kickoff weekend is Aug. 25-28. It will return Thursday through Monday, Sept. 1-5 and the following Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 8-11.
What Not To Miss This Weekend
- Fair-favorite “Swifty Swine” Swimming and Racing Pigs, throughout the day, roughly every two hours, with the last race at 8:00 p.m., Friday through Sunday, next to farm and garden
- “State Chemist” with Snow and Slime, 10 a.m to 9 p.m. Saturday, Cow Palace
- Negro League Baseball Exhibit, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Exhibition Hall
- My MD Horseland – Interactive Horse Activities, Racing Displays, Etc., noon to 6 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Horseland
- “Throw Axe” – axe-throwing experience, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday, State Fair Park
- Mobile Glass Blowing Studio Show, 2–8 p.m. Friday through Sunday, State Fair Park
- 4H/FFA Robotics Competition, 9 a.m. Sunday, Grandstand; showcase 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the 4H/FFA Home Arts Building
- Live Thoroughbred Horse Racing, 12:40 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Grandstand
- Nightly Live Entertainment, Various times, Friday through Sunday, Park Free Stage
New to the Fair This Season
- M&T Bank Presents the Live! ON TRACK! at the Maryland State Fair Concert Series: Shows by Nelly (Sept. 9), Niko Moon and Lauren (Sept. 10) and Styx (Sept.11)
- Local bands and entertainment at the Park Free Stage
- Agricadabra Magic Show – an agriculture-focused magic show (final two weekends)
- Barnyard Bedtime Tales – youth can read to animals via the Baltimore County Public Library will provide the opportunity for youth to read to the animals (Sept. 2)
- Baltimore County Police Community Hiring Event – specialized units and demonstrations including aviation, canine, forensic and other units (Sept. 10)
- Maryland National Guard Display -10 Maryland National Guard Vehicles and two aircraft on display (Sept. 11)
- Maryland Cycling Classic – demos and special appearances (Sept. 3)
- Maryland’s Rolling 9-11 Memorial & Exhibit -dedicated to the 71 Marylanders killed on 9/11 and the 162 others who gave their all in the war on terrorism (Sept. 1, 2 & 5) Poppin’ Penelope Balloon Art – 3D state fair scenes made out of thousands of balloons
- Pretty Bird Paradise – interact with the beautiful birds in a safe enclosed environment
- Swifty Swine Racing Pigs – Don’t miss celebrities such as Kim Kardashiham, Justin Bieboar, Christina Hogulera and Kevin Bacon
- S. Army Super Truck Display – giant trucks; push up/pull up competitions, etc.
Tips for the Best Fair Experience
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing
When going to the Maryland State Fair, wearing comfortable shoes and breathable clothing is a must. There’s going to be a lot of walking, as well as getting on and off rides. Wearing the right clothes and shoes can help you to have a fun time, without worrying about blisters or heat.
It’s important to stay hydrated during your visit, especially when you are doing a lot of exercise. Drinking water or your favorite fair beverage will help you to keep cool and in good health during the dog days of summer.
Know where the exits are
Knowing where the exits are can be very helpful. You may need to leave the park early, or perhaps an emergency will come up. Keeping an eye out for the closest pathways leading in and out of the fair will help you to make this speedy exit if necessary.
Keep updated with the State Fair information
There’s always excitement about the summer tradition of going to the State Fair! Knowing dates, times, price of admission and the daily activities and special events schedule can help with planning the best time for your visit. Find a full breakdown online at marylandstatefair.com.
Keep a small kit
Keeping a small kit can be handy, especially when you’re going to all kinds of events, including the Maryland State Fair. Here are some examples of items you can have in your kit:
- Face masks (optional)
- Hand sanitizer
- Hand wipes
- First aid kit
- Phone charger
Choosing a Meeting place
You and other members in your party will want to do different things such as play games, grab a bite to eat, go on rides, etc. Designating a time and a meeting place would be helpful.
Keep reusable cups and buckets
Keeping reusable cups and buckets not only makes for great souvenirs, but you can get refills on them for a reasonable price as well.
Keep an open mind about state fair cuisine
The fair has a variety of all sorts of foods to choose from. From items such as pizza, corn dogs, French fries and cheese steaks—as well as foods and treats from local Maryland farmers and produce—there’s something for everyone. Keep an open mind during your trip. You may even try foods only available during the fair!
Bring a tote bag
Bringing a tote bag can be helpful so that you can carry items such as prizes, foods and other things during your visit.
To purchase tickets, visit marylandstatefair.com. Entry is $10 for ages 12 and older, $8 or adults ages 62 and older and $5 for children ages 6-11, Children ages 5 and younger enter free.