Nobody could recall how long Fair Day has been a tradition for Frederick County Public Schools students — the day that children, instead of being confined to the classroom, can roam The Great Frederick Fair. But they all enjoyed it just the same.

This day is typically scheduled for the Friday of fair week, though this year, it fell on Wednesday to avoid interrupting student schedules by giving students off two days, one for Yom Kippur and another for Fair Day.

“I like going to the fair because it’s the start of fall,” said Maggie Thomas, a ninth-grader at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School, who was wandering around with her friends Colette Lord and Rebecca Manley. “It’s Fair Day, so now it’s fall. It’s like a milestone.”

Many kids select Fair Day as the one day they will attend the fair.

“I see everyone I know here,” Lord said.

The school system acknowledges that many of the schools are in rural and farming communities, said school spokesman Michael Doerrer. Frederick County is an agricultural county, and the fair celebrates this, Doerrer said.

Most importantly, Fair Day allows students to participate in some of the activities at the fair, and learn from them, Doerrer said.

“It is the largest agricultural classroom. It’s a great learning opportunity,” he said.

Debbie Carty, who grew up in Frederick County but now lives in Carroll Couny, was examining the petting zoo with her four grandchildren who ran around the exhibit.

Every year, Carty said, she brings her grandchildren to the fair on Fair Day. She recalls the day off for FCPS Fair Day many years ago. Previously, it was a tradition with her and her daughters.

Her grandchildren love everything — rides, the animals, the food — but not your traditional fare, not funnel cake or turkey legs.

“They like Dippin’ Dots,” Carty said with a laugh.

Rick Pearl, owner of D&D Pony Rides LLC, of Jefferson, said Fair Day is one of the busiest days for his station, where anyone under 120 pounds can ride a pony.

Pearl said he especially enjoys giving rides to the children with special needs.

“I do it all for the kids,” he said.

Follow Jeremy Bauer-Wolf on Twitter: @jbeowulf.

(1) comment


Except, not all kids were at the fair yesterday because the day selected for "Fair Day" was also the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. It is important to note "selected" here because it was actively chosen, rather just happening to fall on a day, for Fair Day to be the same as this day in the Jewish calendar, which precluded many children from enjoying the fair on this day. While I greatly appreciate Frederick recognizing our rural heritage and the contributions of the various parts of our community, we must be respectful of all members of the community and be cognizant of the impact of the choices we make.

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