Miss Tranquility, Lord Calvert and their court will be on hand to greet Calvert County fair-goers.

Barstow, MD –  Cloudy skies and steady rains rendered the 2015 Calvert County Fair a virtual washout. Could the same fate befall the county’s fall celebration again?

“I’m going to be an optimist,” Calvert County Fair Board President Carol Lee told The BayNet. “I’m saying the sun is going to shine.”

In fact, the National Weather Service’s weekend prediction as of Monday, Sept. 26 was for sunshine both Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2. The weather could, however be problematic the previous three days. One bit of good news is that the probability of rain decreases each day. Also, a good portion of the fair is held undercover.

The Calvert County Fairgrounds on Route 231 in Barstow will be alive with activities starting late Wednesday afternoon when the gates will open for the start of the fair. Greeting the fairgoers at 4 p.m. will be 2016 Miss Tranquility Emma Bonanno and Lord Calvert Calvin Crunkleton, both Northern High School students.

Among the fair highlights will be Seventh annual Calvert County Idol contest. According to Murphy Smilardo, who manages the contest, 16 applicants emerged from the auditions held Sept. 22. The field of 16, he said, is “the biggest ever. This year’s contest is going to be bigger and better than ever.”

The contest was open to amateur entertainers between the ages of 14 and 29 and each must reside in one of the five Southern Maryland region counties. Semi-finals are held Thursday, Sept. 29 and Friday, Sept. 30, with the finals held Saturday, Oct. 1. The contest segments at the outdoor stage pavilion begin at 7 p.m. each night.

The contestant judged the best will receive $1,000; second-place finisher earns $500 and the contestant finishing third receives $300.

Smilardo told The BayNet the local teen duo Jimmy’s Corner from Charles County will perform during competition breaks.

The Idol contest is sponsored by G.H. Clark Contractors.

Plenty of other performers are booked for the 2016 fair. The cavalcade of local stars includes comedy illusionist Reggie Rice, the Chesapeake Country Cruizers, the Diane Herbert Dancers, Jim Godbold “Rockin’ Elvis” and, for bluegrass fans, a Country Gentlemen tribute band.

For football fans, former Baltimore Raven and Maryland Terrapin wide receiver Jermaine Lewis will be signing autographs and greeting fair attendees Thursday. On Saturday, retired Washington Redskins Santana Moss and Ricky Ervins will be at the fair to greet fans at the Mark’s Electronics booth.

Lee said The Bear Mountain Show will also be featured throughout the fair.
Always a fair favorite, carnival rides, games and concessions—a production of Rosedale Attractions and Shows, Inc.—will add plenty of excitement, especially for the youngsters.

Speaking of youngsters, the Calvert County Fair’s 28th annual Youth Day is Friday, Sept. 30 from 9 to 4 p.m. Youth Day co-chair Dotty Greene told The BayNet the fair “had such a good program planned last year,” which unfortunately was virtually washed out by the rain. The agenda remains intact and there will be plenty of games and contests on the schedule to make the day memorable. A bicycle will be given away at 4 p.m. to any youth who registers prior to 4 p.m. and has his or her name drawn.

Greene said the success of Youth Day is thanks largely to Calvert County Public Schools. “They’ve worked well with me,” she said, noting that the fair board has been able to get Youth Day announcements made to the students in all of the schools. School officials have also been accommodating by allowing Friday of fair week a day off for students.

Of course, the Calvert County Fair started 130 years ago and remains today as a showcase for local agriculture. Displays of the county’s amazing self-sufficiency can be found throughout the fairgrounds. The list of ag-related activities is long and includes 4H Youth and Livestock, the popular Saturday night auction and the Sunday morning antique tractor pull.

For more information on the 2016 Calvert County Fair, visit their web site.

Contact Marty Madden at  marty.madden@thebaynet.com