The gates to the 132nd Maryland State Fair open Friday in Timonium, offering nationally popular musical acts, live horse racing, rides, games, guilty pleasure fried food and more.
The state fair has been rocked in recent years, and we’re not talking about that time Justin Bieber came through town. We’re talking about Mother Nature and her double-whammy hurri
cane-tropical storm wrath that crippled the fairgrounds’ attendance for the last two years.
“We’re hoping that this is going to be a turnaround year for us,” fairgrounds president Howard “Max” Mosner said.
He may be in luck if ABC2 News chief meteorologist Wyatt Everhart’s weekend forecast holds true.
While we can’t control weather, we can help keep you in the know on how best to enjoy the state fair this year.
To help you better enjoy your fair-going experience, ABC2 News presents the 10 Things You Need To Know About The Maryland State Fair.
WEATHER: We’ll let Wyatt Everhart take it from here. Check out the forecast for the first weekend of the Maryland State here . Spoiler alert: It looks good.
WHAT’S NEW: Fairgrounds organizers are doubling down on entertainment and horse racing in 2013, in an attempt to recoup losses from 2011 and 2012. Budweiser is sponsoring a two-story bar area that will feature an impressive lineup of local musicians and a mechanical bull. For the true cowboys, real bull riding happens on Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. in the show ring. Toyota is also presenting a Ravens sand sculpture contest featuring Sandscape, holders of 12 world championship sand sculpting titles. The finished product will be made from 100 tons of sand.
The fair is bringing back the Sinbad High Dive Show, which ends in awe-inspiring leap from 80 feet. The diving attraction is a recurring event scheduled throughout the “12 best days of summer.”
The state fair is synonymous with farm animals, although they’re usually penned, or on display. This year, the fair will feature an exhibit on mountain goats in a simulated natural environment. Not impressed with mountain goats? Then you haven’t seen them climb said mountains .
There is so much "new" at the state fair this year that some attractions call for their own category. Like…
CONCERTS: The Maryland State Fair Concert Series will open with Carley Rae Jepsen and The Wanted on Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Fall Out Boy takes the infield stage on Thursday Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m. And Three Days Grace will close out the fair on Sunday Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for all three concerts are still available. Who are you most excited to see?
HORSE RACING: The infield isn’t just for concerts. The Maryland State Fair will feature 10 days of live thoroughbred racing, up three from last year. Nine races a day will run Friday to Labor Day, with a black out day on Tuesday. The purses are higher this year, which should attract more horses back to the historic Timonium racetrack. More on the ponies later in the week.
RIDEMANIA: Speaking of fast rides, the fair is offering a new twist on its traditional preview night featuring discounted ride tickets. In the past, riders would be charged $15 for unlimited rides. This year, admission to preview night—Thursday Aug. 22—costs $1 and any all rides only cost $1. The Maryland Foods Pavilion will also be offering hot dogs, corn on the cob and small drinks for, you guessed it, $1.
FOOD: On the topic of fair fare, Mosner doesn’t know exactly what fried treats are coming to Timonium this year, but you can be sure of two things: 1) They’re delicious and 2) They will ruin your beach body.
What we do know is that the fair is bringing back the Roma Sausage eating contest which runs on Saturday Aug. 24 and Sunday Sept. 1 at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. You can also check The Sun for Richard Gorelick’s gallery of his favorite fair food .
OLDIES, BUT GOODIES: Tradition is important to state fair organizers who have again booked classics like the swifty swine pig racing, live birthing center, masters of the chainsaw, Miss Maryland Agriculture, Baltimore County farmers’ market, and all of the 4H fun including an animal costume contest, livestock sales and fashion revue.
Enough of the fun. Time to get down to the logistics.
PARKING/DIRECTIONS: Google directions to the Maryland State Fairgrounds and you’ll be directed to take Exit 17 for Padonia Road off of Interstate 83. You’ll make your way to York Road where you’ll make a right and likely run into a half-mile backup. Traffic can only turn right onto the fairgrounds property. This is a good idea to get the closest parking directly on the fairgrounds lot if you leave early on the weekends or morning to mid-afternoon on the weekdays. Parking is at a premium.
If you plan on going to one of the three infield concerts or anytime after the early evening, we recommend parking at the Timonium Light Rail Stop on Deereco Road. You can take 16B off of Interstate 83 to get there. Parking is free and fairgoers can cross the light rail tracks—carefully—for direct access