DG Fair standalones Friday 1

Kids fly backwards on the Himalaya ride Friday at The Great Frederick Fair.

Frederick County’s longstanding tradition of releasing students for a day at The Great Frederick Fair could be eliminated from the school calendar.

Parents and students interviewed at the fair on Friday were split whether a designated “Fair Day” is still necessary.

Nothing is final yet, as the school district’s committee that drafts the calendar still is considering which versions of it to present to the Frederick County Board of Education for approval.

But days off — like Fair Day — that have generally been built into the Frederick County Public Schools calendar may be cut to comply with an executive order from Gov. Larry Hogan (R) that public schools begin after Labor Day. This effectively extends summer by two weeks.

Though supporters of a post-Labor Day start, like Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) tout its popularity and significant economic benefits, it has drawn the ire of local school leaders who said Hogan did not consider the needs of local districts.

Elisa Kinnee, walked around the fairgrounds on Friday — the usual scheduled Fair Day — with a pack of children. Her daughter, Jordyn, a fifth-grader, had just seen a cow being born.

Kinnee, who works for Howard County Public Schools, said she favors a universal calendar for all of Maryland. She wouldn’t be bothered if Fair Day was taken away.

“You can just go after school,” she said.

Laura Robinson, a parent of Carroll Creek Montessori students, agreed. She would rather take her children out of school for a carload special, in which passengers of the entire car are admitted into the fair.

“It wouldn’t really matter to me,” she said.

Most students don’t actually visit the fair on Fair Day, said Riley Rooja, an eighth-grader at Gov. Thomas Johnson Middle School.

He shows cows at the fair the entire week and said the high attendance on Fair Day is “ annoying.”

His friend, Diego Tucios, also a TJ Middle eighth-grader, said Fair Day is “great” and the tradition is helpful.

Charletta Kern, whose children attend Middletown Primary and High schools, said Fair Day should remain on the calendar.

“It’s very important for them to see things out here,” Kern said, as her daughters peered into microscopes at an agricultural exhibit. “They have a great time and it’s so hands-on, which is what they need.”

Previous attempts to remove Fair Day from the calendar prompted displeasure from a faction of county residents, said Brad Young, president of the school board, and the proposal was rejected. Young was just beginning his tenure the board at the time it was suggested, around 2010.

Young said he wouldn’t support a calendar that didn’t include Fair Day. But he said he understood the limitations that come with Hogan’s order.

“It’s a great learning experience,” Young said. “It’s important for our students to see where our food comes from and the importance to Frederick County.”

He said revenue generated by Fair Day helps subsidize the rest of the roughly week-long fair.

Removing Fair Day would considerably affect the fair financially, said Joe Devilbiss, president of The Great Frederick Fair and the Frederick County Ag Society. He declined to discuss how much the fair brings in on Fair Day, but said the pseudo-holiday represents a “big day” for the children of Frederick County.

Students get in free to the Fair, Devilbiss said, but they and their parents spend money on rides, amusements and attractions.

“Every time something starts, the first thing that people go to is Fair Day, and that we’re going to take away Fair Day,” he said. “Education is our goal and we want to work with the education department to make that sure it doesn’t happen.”

“I’ll tell you what, if you try to take away Fair Day,” he said, “people are going to resist pretty well.”

Follow Jeremy Bauer-Wolf on Twitter: @jbeowulf.

(16) comments


It seems a little unfair that in households with young kids and both parents working, one parent will have to take a sick/vacation day to cover this (assuming they even have jobs with ample paid time off), especially when they could voluntarily go on the weekend.


Frederick County used to have another wonderful learning tradition - the outdoor classroom at Camp Greentop. That has been discontinued, and somehow the school system survived. It will survive without a day off for the fair.


Fair Day is an outdated tradition and no one needs to be at the fair at 9 am on a Friday. It's way beyond time to end this un needed day off.


"Removing Fair Day would considerably affect the fair financially, said Joe Devilbiss, president of The Great Frederick Fair and the Frederick County Ag Society."

So what? It isn't government's job to ensure the financial viability of the fair. First these guys want government to provide them with customers. Next thing you know, they're going to think government should subsidize farmers and ... Oh, right. Never mind.


It's this simple, visit the fair on the weekend.


As my children were growing up they participated in Frederick County 4-H. The entire week is devoted to the animal you have raised, the craft items you have learned to make, and the experience itself. Fair Friday is one of the slowest days for the 4-H'er & their family.

With all of this said, removing Fair day from the calendar is like smack in the face to these families that have worked months to prepare for this week. These children do class work assigned by their teachers for this week, plus take care of their animal, show the animal, and sell the animal. In addition, there is a cake auction for baking that was judged earlier, judging for arts & crafts in the 4-H/ FFA building, which doesn't including writing all the recipes out that were used, baking them, buying the supplies, or making the crafts. The lifetime of experience that a child learns from this insurmountable.

When my children were in school, FCPS tried to remove the Friday Fair Day from the calendar. My children did not attend school that day, and many many other children did not as well.

Fair day may not mean one way or the other to you but think about the Future Farmers of America, or the 4-H'er that has given everything to have everyone see the fruits of their labors on the one day that their is no school in the county.


I'm thinking about your last paragraph. And what I'm thinking is that someone should tell the FFA or 4H kids that they aren't entitled to an audience. They should do their animal and craft stuff because they enjoy it or want to make money or want the pleasure of accomplishment. All of which is attainable based on their own efforts and none of which necessitates Fair Day.


Great photo.


I agree with ddegrangejr on that point but the Fair Day for kids was developed for kids that could`t go or afford to go at the big parks i.e. Hershey, Kings Dominion. Expensive yes but the main gripe I see is that it`s another day the Frederick County Babysitting Outfit is closed and then it`s not only the cost of the fair but a babysitter. Since the DemoBrats could`t corner the market on winning an election in this county they stretched our location to make it Fred Montgomery County to win. Again!! another sleezy attempt by the DemoBrats to ruff up a Republican. All the Hulk Hogan has to do is give the parents that day off with pay and things will be fine or wait I almost forgot the challenges the DemoBrats would put up for that one. With the DemoBrats loving to put us in a situation of not having any money in the coffers when leaving office they, properly have a hugh investment into the Carnival Enterprize :) So ddegrangejr how about you and i contact Jan about the price gouging and to have her go before the DemoBrat Investors Board to lower the Fair prices!


Pappy, you post is so full of disillusioned thinking that it hardly bears a response. The only thing I can think of is that you sir, are sadly mistaken.


Wow- Babbysitting Outfit..... Sad outlook on life.


On Fair Day in Durham, CT, students attend the fair with their teachers in the morning and tour the exhibits but do not partake of midway rides, making for a truly educational experience. At noon, school is officially dismissed, and parents arrive to either pick up their children and leave or remain and do their own thing. It's a real science and agricultural learning experience for children who might otherwise not attend or go just for the rides & arcade.


Good idea, let FCPS plan for classes taking Field trips to the fair during the week in lieu of a day off. They can focus on the educational experiences and avoid the costly rides and food.


The solution is obvious. Hogan should issue an executive order saying that school in MD must begin after Fair Day.


My opinion on this has always been the same... There is no need for "Fair Day".... What does the fair do for the kids on this day? They let them in free and give them one ticked off per ride... U get 55 tickets for $51/dollars and most rides are 5 tickets anyway... If the fair wishes to keep "Fair Day" on the calendar for the kids, then maybe they should look into something that would really make it for the kids such as making it more cost effective. They do bracelets or car load night on a different night, why not do it on a night like "FAIR DAY" so everyone can afford and enjoy it?


The Great Frederick Fair is not affordable for many children and youth in FC. A family of three or four would spend a minimum of $100 for the children to enjoy he rides, the main reason a child would want to go anyway.

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