Giant turkey legs, assorted deep-fried foodstuffs and rides that you can’t help but imagine were built by a teenage volunteer — all these experiences and more were lost when the region’s county fairs shuttered their gates for the pandemic in 2020.
The good news is that most D.C.-area county fairs have made the decision to go on this year. So instead of being regretfully uneaten, those deep-fried Twinkies can be regretfully eaten, just the way they should be.
Here’s where and when you can experience all the county fair staples in the D.C. region.
When: Aug. 18-22
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 Second St. South, Arlington, Virginia 22204
The Arlington County Fair prides itself on its competitive exhibits. Fairgoers can compete with each other in categories like food decoration, needlework, clothes making, and much, much more. Those who want to compete must submit an application by Aug. 16.
Fairfax County made the decision to once again pull the plug on their festival out of an abundance of caution. It’ll make the 2022 festival that much more special.
When: July 27 — Aug. 1
Where: 17558 Dry Mill Rd., Leesburg, Virginia 20175
This year’s fair kicks off with the Goat Showmanship and Dairy at 12 p.m. on July 27 — because what else would you start a county fair off with? Other events of note include a watermelon eating contest, a rabbit hopping competition and “chicken poop bingo.” No extra info was provided about that last one, so you’ll get to unravel that particular mystery in person.
When: Aug. 26 — Sept. 6
Where: 2200 York Rd., Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland 21093
Is this one technically in the D.C. area? No. Is this, strictly speaking, a “county” fair? Again, no. Are Blue Öyster Cult going to be absolutely rocking the place? You know it, and that alone merits its inclusion on this list.
When: Sept. 15-19
Where: 1450 Generals Hwy., Crownsville, Maryland 21032
Concerts, a livestock auction and an off-putting statue of Paul Bunyan are all things you can experience at this year’s Anne Arundel County Fair. So come buy a flock of sheep while eating funnel cake and truly experience the spirit of a county fair.
When: Sept. 16-19
Where: 8440 Fairground Rd., La Plata, Maryland 20646
The Charles County Fair features all the games, rides and livestock competitions that are hallmarks of a great county fair. They will also appoint a “Fair Queen” to oversee the festivities. Applications must be submitted by Aug. 30. A winner will be selected based on “scholastic achievement, extracurricular activities, poise and appearance, personal interview and presentation.” The anointed queen will receive a $1,000 scholarship, which is way more than you can win on the ring toss game this year (grand prize for that is a sickly goldfish).
When: Aug. 7-14
Where: 2210 Fairgrounds Rd., West Friendship, Maryland 21794
When: Aug. 13-21
Where: Pin Oak Dr., Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877
This fair has all the staples you’d expect but it has a few surprises in store for fairgoers. The Renegade Monster Truck Tour will rip across the fairgrounds and with truck names like “Buckshot,” “Hurricane Force” and “Student Driver,” you can’t really afford to pass this one up. There’s also a demolition derby which promises to provide some destructive fun.
When: Sept. 9-12
Where: 14900 Pennsylvania Ave., Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772
This fair features a “Beautiful Baby Contest,” so if you’re a Prince George’s County resident who wants an objective score for how radiant your toddler is, roll on through.