frequently asked questions


When is the 2019 Howard County Fair?

The 74th Annual Howard County Fair will be held Saturday, August 3, through Saturday, August 10, 2019.


What time does the Fair open and close each day?

Gates are open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.  Most exhibits are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.  Check here for more information.


When are the amusement rides open during the Fair?

Amusement rides are open from 12 noon till 11 p.m. on both Saturdays and on Sunday, and from 2 p.m. till 11 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Where can I find a map of the Fair?  

A downloadable map of the Fair is available here.  Maps are also posted in various locations on the grounds.


How much is admission to the Fair?

10 years of age or older:

  • $7 per person per admission SAT (8/3), SUN (8/4), and SAT (8/10)

  • MON through FRI: $5 per person before 5 p.m. per admission / $7 per person from 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. per admission

Children under 10 years old are FREE when accompanied by an adult.

Seniors aged 62 years or older: $3 per person per admission

Some events held at the contest arena require a separate admission fee ... TBA.

A season pass for unlimited admission for one individual throughout the Fair is $25 and may be purchased at the Fair Office (call 410.442.1022) for information or at the Admission Gate.


Is there a charge for parking at the Fair?

Parking for the Howard County Fair is always FREE!


Where is the Fair located?

The Howard County Fairgrounds, home of the Howard County Fair, are located just off Interstate 70 in West Friendship, Maryland. Driving directions can be found here. The Fairgrounds address is 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship, MD 21794.


Is there public transportation or bus service to the Fair?

We do not have local transportation or bus service to the Fair. Please check here for directions.


Is there a discount for seniors?

Yes! Admission for Seniors aged 62 and over is $3 per person per admission. (This is a discount on the regular price of daily admission.)  Seniors aged 62 and older are admitted FREE all day on Senior Day at the Fair (Tuesday, August 6).


Is there a discount for military personnel?

Military personnel are recognized on Armed Forces Day at the Fair (Saturday, August 3). A valid Military ID will admit you (including your spouse and children under 18 years of age) FREE all day on August 3rd. 


Are checks or credit cards accepted as payment?

Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are accepted at the Main Gate for admission. Many of our vendors accept credit cards and/or checks for purchases on site; this is at the discretion of the vendor. 


Are there ATM machines available on the Fairgrounds during the Fair?

Yes! Free standing ATMs are available throughout the Fairgrounds during the Fair.


Can I buy admission tickets online?

Not at this time.


Where can I find a full schedule of events for the Fair?

The 2019 Schedule of Events is available here. A printed event schedule is available at the Fair at the Main Gate, in the Fair Office, and in some exhibit buildings.  Event brochures may also be picked up a few weeks prior to the Fair at Howard County Public Libraries and 50+ Centers.


If I need to leave the Fairgrounds, can I get back in that same day?

Yes! Ask for a ticket at the Main Gate or Exhibitors’ Gate before leaving. When you return that same day, present that ticket at the admission gate and you may re-enter the grounds without an additional charge.


Do the admission gates or the amusement rides close if it rains?

Weather in August can be changeable, but a little rain won’t put a damper on things! There are still many things to do, and the show will almost always go on! Be prepared with a raincoat or umbrella if the skies turn gray, bring sunscreen and a hat/visor on sunny days, and have a jacket or sweatshirt for a cool evenings.  

For your safety, some or all amusement rides may close temporarily during heavy rain or severe weather, but will reopen as soon as conditions are deemed safe to do so. Midway concessions and games will remain open as long as it is safe to do so.  If extreme weather or other dangerous conditions persist, the Fair may close, but only as a last resort.


Are pets allowed on the Fairgrounds?

No, unless they are a trained service animal that does work or performs a task for a person with a disability.  Animals scheduled for exhibit or in a competition and/or performance are also allowed on the grounds.  Guests with these animals must retain control of their animals at all times and must keep them on a leash or harness while visiting.  Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please do not leave your pets in your vehicle while you are visiting the Fair.


Is smoking allowed on the Fairgrounds during the Fair?

Smoking is not permitted in any of the buildings on the Fairgrounds or in or around the barn areas. Smoking is permitted outdoors on the grounds, but please be considerate of others and please discard smoking materials in appropriate receptacles.  


Is there a diaper changing station?

Changing tables are in the men’s and women’s restrooms located at the west end of the Fair Office and by the Main Exhibition Hall.


Are there hand washing areas in addition to restrooms?

Yes. For your health and safety, the Howard County Fair strongly urges you to wash your hands often, especially after visiting animal areas and barns, and prior to eating. Restrooms and hand washing stations are located in various locations throughout the grounds.


Are strollers/wagons allowed on the grounds?

The Fairgrounds are stroller/wagon friendly, but please use care when navigating strollers and wagons around or near animals and through the barns or exhibit areas.


Does the Fair offer scooter, wheelchair, stroller, or wagon rentals?

You cannot rent these items on the grounds, but all are welcomed at the Fair.  Several wheelchairs are available for loan during your visit; contact the Fair Office for more information (410.442.1022). Motorized vehicles such as golf carts are not allowed to be brought on the grounds by Fair patrons.  


Do you have lockers or storage areas for bags?

No, we do not offer any kind of storage or lockers. Please leave unnecessary items at home. The Fair is not responsible for any lost or stolen articles in cars or on any person attending the Fair.


Where is the lost and found?

DURING THE FAIR:  All lost and found articles can be turned in or claimed at the Fair Office. If contact information is available regarding a found item, we try to contact that person (through an announcement or by phone). You can report a lost item at the Fair Office, leaving a description and contact information.  If you realize you’re missing an item after you get home, call the Fair Office at 410.442.1022 to see if the item has been turned in.

AFTER THE FAIR:  Items will be held in the Fair Office until December 31; if unclaimed, items will be donated to a local charitable organization or disposed of.  Call 410.442.1022 to check on lost items.


Is alcohol sold at the Fair?

For all fairgoers 21 years of age or older, beer and wine can be purchased and consumed at designated times at the Beer and Wine Garden located in the Main Exhibition Hall.  This area also offers an opportunity for fairgoers to taste and purchase some of the best craft beverages that Howard County and the State of Maryland have to offer.  Any bottled items purchased from the operators of the Beer and Wine Garden must remain unopened while you are at the Fair/on the Fairgrounds, from point of purchase until no longer on the Fairgrounds.  Dates and times the Beer and Wine Garden will be open – TBA.  Possession or consumption of alcohol at the Fair is not permitted in any other area of the Fairgrounds at any time.


I have trouble walking; can I still enjoy the Fair?

Absolutely!  The Howard County Fair is committed to providing equal access and a pleasant experience for all our guests!  We offer paved walkways, handicapped parking near the main entrance, shuttle service to and from the parking area, and access to all buildings and exhibit areas.  You may bring your own wheelchair or motorized scooter onto the grounds, and we have a shuttle service that circulates around the grounds where patrons can get on/off at the many exhibits and activities. We also have many benches placed throughout the grounds for our patrons to stop and enjoy.  Contact the Fair Office for more information on the shuttle service (410.442.1022).


What buildings are air conditioned?

If you want to take a break from the heat, 4-H Activities Building, Home Arts Building, and/or Main Exhibition Hall are air conditioned.  The Dining Hall is also air conditioned; while there, you can enjoy a delicious meal while you’re cooling off.


I don’t live in Howard County.  Am I eligible to enter competitive exhibits at the Fair?

Yes! The Howard County Fair offers opportunities for people of all ages to show off their talents by entering exhibits at the Fair.  Anyone and everyone can enter in the OPEN CLASS portion of the Fair.  We have competitive classes for vegetables, fruits, honey, farm crops, crafts, baking, sewing, photography, fine arts, woodworking, flowers, livestock, horses, and much, much more!  Age restrictions may be listed in some areas.  Click here to learn more and to view sections of the 2019 Fair Book.  

To enter competitive exhibits in 4-H categories, youth must be enrolled in the Howard County 4-H Program.  


How do I enter items to exhibit at the Fair?

The Fair’s competitive events are grouped into departments.  Rules, schedules, entry information, and other things you need to know to join in on the fun and competition can be found here for each department.


I have an idea for a new competitive class at the Fair.  Can I contact someone with my idea?

We’d love to hear your ideas!  Click here to submit your suggestions for future competitive events.


Can I bring my drone to capture video at the Fair?

Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles are not permitted on the Fairgrounds during the Fair.


How can I become a concessionaire, vendor, or entertainer at the Fair?

For more information about participating in the Fair as a concessionaire, vendor, or entertainer, please click here.


How do I rent commercial exhibit space during the Fair?

For more information about to renting indoor and outdoor commercial exhibit space during the Fair, please click here


I would like to volunteer at the Fair.  How do I find out more information?

Volunteers are a great asset and an important part of what makes our Fair such a success year after year!  Click here to indicate your interest; be sure to indicate your area(s) of interest.  


Does the Fair hire part-time employees prior to, during, or after the Fair?

The Fair does not hire any part-time employees for the Fair, but the amusement rides contractor (Deggeller Attractions) and some concessionaires hire local part-time help for the Fair.  Call the Fair Office (410.442.1022) for more information.


We encourage you to visit our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for up-to-the-minute updates on programming and potential weather-related issues. By entering the Howard County Fair, your image may be captured through photography and/or video and could be utilized for advertising, publicity, and other promotional purposes without limitation or reservation d$