Longtime leaders, volunteers power successful Ag Expo
Richie Hebb started showing his 4-H animals at the annual Washington County, Md., Ag Expo in 1988. Thirty-one years later, he’s the fair board president.
He still loves 4-H.
“I think the thing I enjoy the most,” he said, “is seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces and knowing that they have somewhere to go to show off their skills.”
Jason Crawford, the fair board’s vice president, said 4-H is his favorite part of the fair as well. This year his 12-year-old son John will be showing sheep and cattle.
4-H shows aren’t the only attractions the fair, which runs from Saturday, July 13 to Saturday, July 20, has to offer. There will be a carnival that lasts the whole week, a diesel drag on Saturday the 13th, a demolition derby on Tuesday and a truck and tractor pull on Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th.
Bull riding on Wednesday night is Hebb’s favorite event.
“It’s the adrenaline,” he said.
Beside these annual popular events there are new attractions as well.
This year, Hebb invited the Timberworks Lumberjack Show, a group that performs lumberjacking stunts using hot saws, logs and 40 foot-tall poles.
“We needed to have something where it excited all age groups,” Hebb said.Logrolling is one of the sports featured during the Timberworks Lumberjack Show. (Courtesy Molly Hagan Photography)
Timberworks Lumberjack will perform three shows a day, all week.
Another new event is mounted shooting by Mason Dixon Deputies, the Maryland Mounted Shooting Club. On Thursday evening, the riders will follow a prescribed pattern while attempting to shoot 10 balloons.
The week will feature performances from variety band The Cruisers, the Fertile Soil Band, Tall Blond & Thirsty band, Don and the Starlighters and Wesley Spangler.
Set-up for the fair is happening now, but Hebb and his team have been planning for this fair since last summer. Hebb said they were having meetings in the evenings during the 2018 fair, figuring out what would happen this year.
“Planning never stops,” he said.
Hebb said the fair would be impossible without the volunteers who collect money at the gates, park cars and set up.
If people want to volunteer, there’s still time.
“We’ll always take good help,” Hebb said.
Sponsors are also an integral part of making the fair happen. Every year, about 40 companies donate money or equipment like ladders and tractors needed to get the track and fairgrounds prepared.
“We appreciate all the sponsors who do it,” Crawford said.
Cindy Long, the board’s treasurer, said she hopes to see between 25,000 and 30,000 people at the fair this year. For people trying to make plans, Hebb said the two Saturdays will be busy, but Wednesday night, with the bull riding, is the busiest. Wednesday is also family day.
Parking for the fair is free, and daily admission, which starts at noon, is $5. Kids under 5 are free. A weekly gate admission pass is $25. A weekly gate and event pass, which includes track events that cost extra, is $50. Daily carnival wristbands, which offer unlimited rides, are $10. Some events charge separately.
“It’s just gonna be an all-around great event,” Crawford said.
Visit agexpoandfair.org for more information.
Top photo: Richie Hebb, board president for the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair, helped with cleanup following last year’s event. (Herald-Mail file photo)