Politicians tend to like crowds, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan seemed to be in his element Saturday as he shook hands and toured The Great Frederick Fair.
He posed in a green John Deere combine from Gladhill Tractor, which has locations in Frederick and Damascus.
“Let's fire this baby up,” Hogan (R) called out as he climbed into the cab.
“This is a good picture of bipartisanship,” he joked while posing with Molly, a 1-year-old miniature donkey at one of the fair's educational tents.
He admired a 116-pound watermelon, and tried his hand shelling corn with a hand-cranked antique machine.
Hogan spent more than two hours at the fairgrounds, checking out the exhibits and greeting fairgoers with a group that included Maryland Secretary of Budget and Management David Brinkley, Secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Kelly Schulz, Maryland Planning Secretary Wendi Peters, and Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.
Hogan was also in town to attend a reception for the Maryland Republican Party and the Republican Central Committees of Frederick and Washington counties Saturday evening at the Clarion Inn Frederick.
At the fairgrounds, Hogan sounded unlikely to endorse a candidate in a Republican primary for county executive in 2018.
State Delegate Kathy Afzali (District 4), County Councilman Kirby Delauter (District 5), and former county budget officer Regina Williams have formally announced campaigns for the office.
Hogan said he typically doesn't get involved in primaries, but indicated he'd support the party's nominee.
“I'd like to see a Republican county executive,” he said.
Hogan cut a gregarious swath through the fairgrounds Saturday, stopping every few feet to shake hands, pose for photos or talk with exhibitors.
He visited with a group of first responders at the first aid tent, and greeted Frederick County Sheriff's Office deputies at the office's mobile command unit.
Hogan, who survived a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, placed a paper ribbon on a tree to honor or memorialize cancer survivors and victims at the American Cancer Society tent.
Brinkley, a fellow cancer survivor, also added a ribbon.
“He eats this stuff up,” Brinkley said while watching the governor interact with a group of people near the sheds where the fair's cows were being kept. He said he often encourages Hogan to get out of the statehouse more often and interact with voters, especially during the legislative session, because he's so good at it.
One of the photos he posed for was with Frederick County 2017 4-H Junior Princess Gressa New, 12.
“I've never met a princess before,” Hogan joked as a member of his staff prepared to snap a photo with New's phone.
“It was awesome,” New said of meeting the governor.
While he waited for a fresh-squeezed lemonade, Hogan chatted with Frederick County Public Schools teacher Melissa Daily, who thanked him for Maryland schools' post-Labor Day opening.
Teachers work hard during the year, and the later start gave them a chance to come back more refreshed, Daily said.
Hogan said teachers, students and parents love the later start, “and there are about three administrators who don't like it.”