SYKESVILLE — Maria Zaffuto, a member of the Sykesville Fair Board, grew up with the Sykesville Ag and Youth Fair, and she believes it is getting “bigger and better” every year.
This year’s fair was no exception, as several new events were added to an already popular week of activities for the entire family to enjoy.
“We had local talent on our stage every night this week. We were happy to be able to showcase that,” she said. Performers included A Day Awaits, Christian rock band; The Sharp Tones, providing music from the 50s; The Rum Dums, “a local favorite,” billed as the world’s greatest garage band; Quarterstick, a classic rock band; and the always-popular Moore Brothers.
Zuffuto said this year’s fair had another “great response to the entries that were brought in. They were beautiful items, showing a lot of hard work. We had a very successful baked goods auction that sold all the baked items that were entered.” First place winners in the four special contests – chocolate cake, angel food cake, apple pie and junior baking, which includes cookies, brownies and bars, sponsored by PA Preferred — will have an opportunity to compete at the PA Farm Show competition in January.
“We also have a piecake contest, where a pie is baked inside a cake,” she said. “This year Becky Morrison of Punxsutawney brought a two-pie cake. She baked two pies inside a two-tier cake.” Morrison used “red velvet on the bottom and chocolate on the top, with a mixed-berry pie, and it was delicious,” Zaffuto said.
“We had a lot of exhibitors this year, in our horse department as well as our display building. We had a new team competition in the horse barn. Groups of five individuals competed throughout the week. We had a lot of people involved in that and they were really excited about that addition to the fair,” she said. “We have horse shows on three days and then there is a fun show on Saturday. The show on Thursday is dedicated completely to youth. They work really hard and always have a lot of fun. It’s like a family at summer camp.”
Jann Zimmerman, chairman of the horse department, said the competition in the horse barn is “cut throat! They are already plotting for next year”
Thursday night’s cheerleading exhibition had squads from local schools and youth football teams demonstrating their skills. “That is always a fun night for youth of the area,” she said. The competition included squads from “midget football all the way up to our varsity competition teams.”
The Friday night demolition derby drew competitors “from out of state. The demo was extremely successful with 50 cars and drivers competing for the grand prize. There was a packed house of fans there to watch and cheer on their favorite drivers,” Zaffuto said.
A new event for Saturday’s Family Day activities was “a bike decorating contest and parade for kids. DuBois Dream were our special guest judges for the contest and they also met with the kids and signed autographs,” she said. “We had a discount at the gate, gave away an Xbox and invited families to come back and spend the day together. It was a nice family event for the community.”
Other new activities at this year’s fair included a scavenger hunt and a coloring contest for children, which drew more than 30 entries. The pictures were displayed in the exhibit building throughout the fair.
Adding to the success of the fair are the vendors who return year after year. Mary Shaffer has been taking her concession stand, Mary’s Food Shack, to the fair “for at least 15 years, maybe more.” She doesn’t go to a lot of fairs. “I just live down over the hill, towards Big Run,” she said, adding that she only takes her trailer out six or seven times a year. “But this is local.”
Zaffuto said the fair was “also happy to have Eudora Farms here again this year with their petting zoo.”
With the 26th Sykesville Ag and Youth Fair now a collection of successful memories, Zaffuto said it is “time to start getting your items ready for next year. We continue to grow each year. People like to exhibit here and it gives them a chance to showcase their talents. Not only the volunteers enjoy the fair, but also the people who come. I’ve heard people say they take their vacation during this week and look forward to coming to the fair. This is a tradition that has brought the community together for over 25 years. We couldn’t do it without all the people who come together to make it happen every year.”