Hereford Junior Farm Fair Marks 78 Years

On August 3, 2024, the Hereford Junior Farm Fair will celebrate its 78th year. Founded in 1945 at the old Sparks High School by farmers, Lionel Ensor and Waugh Matthews, and Principal Harry McDonald, the Fair has grown to one of the oldest and largest Junior Farm Fars in the State. Over the years, hundreds of volunteers have provided a venue for youth to exhibit and educate themselves on opportunities in agriculture.

Ophelia Ensor Hollingshead, daughter of one of the founders, said, “Back in 1945, you had to be 10 years old, there wasn’t a 4-H Fair, so the Junior Farm Fair gave youngsters a chance to practice prior to the Maryland State Fair.” Richard Price, a former Southern States Chairman who exhibited from 1945 through 1948 and has 27 ribbons from his winnings, said, “It was a wonderful experience for me.”

The Fair is held at the Maryland Agriculture Center on Shawan Road in Cockeysville, Maryland. The MARC Board has played a major role in supporting the Fair and providing an excellent location and facility. Since moving to the Ag Center, the Fair has expanded with more varieties of entries, and this website,   www.herefordjrfarmfair.org, provides details for rules, registration, classes, and guidelines for exhibits.

The Fair features Outdoor exhibits of beef and dairy cattle, goats, sheep, swine, poultry, rabbits, and cavies. Indoor exhibits include flowers, vegetables, fruits, food preservation, arts and crafts, clothing, and hobbies. Exhibitors must be Baltimore County residents and not older than 21 years of age as of January 1st, including any school students, plus 4-H Club and FFA members. David Cavey, a past Fair Coordinator, said, “The Fair has always been special because of the grand traditions and many kids who come back each year to exhibit.”

The Master Gardeners Fest will also be part of the Fair on the West side of the complex from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The celebration activities will include scavenger hunts, children’s crafts, worm composting, and a busy bee pollen hunt.

Although the Fair’s hours are Saturday, August 3rd from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., there will be a Pet Show the Friday before at 6:30 p.m. Also, all Indoor exhibits are due in from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. that day for judging. The convenient location with free admission and parking is West of I-83 at the Baltimore County Ag Center, 1114 Shawan Road in Cockeysville/Hunt Valley.

Stacey Vansant, Fair Board President, said, “The Hereford Junior Farm Fair remains committed to our mission statement: ‘to provide an opportunity for the youth of Baltimore County to showcase their home and agricultural heritage and accomplishments while educating the public about the connection and importance of agriculture in our lives.’ “