I spent the day at the Great Frederick Fair for the first time in decades. If I was traveling in another country and I visited a local agricultural fair, I would have been inspired to write about it. The livestock, produce, and regional foods; they would all be fascinating to me. So why wouldn’t I do the same when visiting the fair in my own home town?
Just for a moment, let’s pretend that I’m in some unfamiliar land. I would have written a post like this…
Frederick County has been celebrating the end of summer with the Great Frederick Fair for over 150 years. This is a very agricultural county and the fair is not just for riding rides and indulging in fried foods; its main purpose is to educate youth (and city people) about the industry of agriculture. What I love about the showcases at the fair is that anyone can participate. If you think you have the best green beans in town, this is your chance to show them off! Beets, cauliflower, onions, eggplants; no vegetable is left out of the competition. The pumpkin champions get their own special section. Apples, plums, and berries; the fruits get in on the action too! My favorite in the Farm and Garden section? Korean boy band BTS fashioned out of potatoes. Genius!
I moved on to check out the poultry and rabbit showcase. As a kid, this was always my favorite building. As an adult, I couldn’t help thinking about Valencian paella while I browsed. My thoughts of rabbit and chicken in a tasty rice dish ended when I came to the duck slide. I was suddenly 8 years old again. I mean, if you are not filled with youthful joy watching baby ducks glide down a sliding board, then you have no heart.
If that doesn’t do it for you, then how about baby cows, piglets, or a friendly sheep? How much cuteness can a person take in one day?
My heart was full. But my stomach was empty. It would be impossible to cover the bounty of fried food and sweets at the fair. Rows of sausages and funnel cakes. For me, I couldn’t get over the idea of a soft shell crab at the fair and it’s all that I wanted. Besides, if I was in that other country I would want to eat something regional and nothing says Maryland better than crab. Was it the best soft shell crab ever? No. Best soft shell crab on the same day as baby ducks? You bet. I was perfectly happy with it. A hot apple dumpling with vanilla ice cream melting on top was a satisfying finish.
At the Wineries, Breweries, & Distilleries Showcase, I sampled some local wines and meads that were new to me, giving me a few more additions to my list of local places to visit.
During my day at the Frederick Fair, I learned about local agriculture, ate local food, and cooed at baby animals. I also discovered that there is a Farm Museum at Rosehill Manor where I can learn about farming life in the 19th century. I’ll be adding that to my list as well. I have found that when I look at my home town through the eyes of a traveler, there are all kinds of local treasures to be discovered.
Yeh, that’s the kind of post I would have written.