Maryland State Fair announces new format for ’22
TIMONIUM, Md. — The Maryland State Fair announced a new schedule for its 2022 fair. The 141st fair will be open for three long weekends beginning in August and running into September, instead of its previous format of 12 consecutive days. The fair’s new days will be Aug. 25-28; Sept. 1-5 and Sept. 8-11. Admission gate hours will be 5-11 p.m. on Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day.
Andy Cashman, general manager of the fair, said the change is in response to several factors including the lasting impact of the coronavirus pandemic and many school districts in the state starting before Labor Day, which historically had been the final day of the fair.
“It’s going to allow us to be open during the weekends when more families can come,” Cashman said. “We’re feeling pretty good about this. We think it will help us.”
Spreading out the dates over three weekends also acts as a kind of “rain insurance” Cashman added, as it’s unlikely to rain each weekend.
Cashman said the fair staff and directors have discussed the new format for multiple years as a way to reduce costs but offer more opportunites to attend. In 2021, the fair extended its carnival portion to a third weekend as a test case and “we ended up having a wonderful experience with that,” Cashman said.
He said fairs around the United States have moved to a similar format.
“This is happening at more fairs where the middle of the week is harder for them,” he said.
A lot of the scheduling details still need to be finalized, Cashman said, but its main agricultural programs — livestock shows U-Learn Agriculture Education Zone, birthing center, horse racing and farm exhibits will remain a central component of the fair.
“Our goal is to keep the fair moving and 4-H and FFA kids and everyone going,” he said.