The 2014 Calvert Idol winner, Brandi Wightman, sang the Star Spangled Banner at the 2016 Calvert County Fair’s opening ceremony.

Barstow, MD – Despite monsoon conditions, the 2016 Calvert County Fair is open. The five-day event at the Calvert County Fairgrounds on Route 231 in Barstow is expected to be plagued by heavy rains and high winds, that same as it was last year. Still, most of the vendors are manning covered booths and moving forward with activities as scheduled.

After the 6 p.m. opening ceremony, the 2016 selection for Miss Tranquility, Emma Bonanno, and the winner of the Lord Calvert competition, Calvin Crunkleton, were introduced along with members of their court. Bonanno and Crunkleton are both Northern High School students. The winner of the 2014 Calvert Idol competition, Brandi Wightman, sang the Star Spangled Banner and the Huntingtown High Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Color Guard presented the colors.

During brief remarks, the ceremony’s guest speaker, former Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Earl “Buddy” Hance, a lifelong Calvert resident, recalled the days when public school students in the county were given a half-day off school on Fridays so they could attend the school. When Hance was attending Calvert High School the fairgrounds were off Dares Beach Road. “We just had to cross the street to get the fair,” said Hance. Noting that with the decline in the number of families who own and operate farms, Hance said county fairs such as Calvert’s provide opportunities for attendees to learn about agriculture.

The former ag secretary, whose family operates a farm in Port Republic and also is the fair’s concessionaire for the immensely popular treat—funnel cake—made mention of the rain. “We [farmers] welcome the rain but we’d rather see it spread out over several months, not just the five days of the Calvert County Fair,” he said.

After the ceremony, magician-comedian Reggie Rice entertained the crowd. Rice will perform several times during the event.

Thursday’s scheduled activities during the day were geared toward seniors and people with special needs. Friday is Youth Day at the fair. Saturday has been declared Family Day. The final competitions for Calvert Idol will also be held Saturday evening. Sunday is the final day of the fair and honors Armed Forces personnel.

The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office has issued a traffic alert for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There will be no left turns on Route 231 allowed those days at the fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes to access the fairgrounds.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com