About The Fair

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair, a non-profit organization, is to conduct an agricultural, industrial, educational, and recreational fair and year- round activities, which promotes adolescent stewardship, and to provide entertainment for the benefit of the community.

Values Statement

Integral to its mission, the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair is committed to:

  • Provide a safe family friendly event for the annual Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair and fair activities.
  • Educate, showcase and promote the public about the County’s agriculture.
  • Educate the public on animal welfare and the importance of agriculture.
  • Offer a safe, clean and accessible environment for everyone.
  • Operate in a fiscally responsible manner to ensure the future of the organization.
  • The Fair is associated with and acting in accordance with the guidelines of the 4-H Youth Development Program and the University of Maryland Extension.
  • The Fair is associated with and acting in accordance with the guidelines of the FFA Youth Development Program.


Since 1954, the Carroll County Agriculture Center has been the home of the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair. Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair is one of the largest county annual events held in July/August. The Fair is a showcase of Carroll County 4-H and FFA members exhibiting from 62 project areas ranging from livestock, crafts, gardening to technology and fine arts. During the fair, motorsports and music entertain the crowds. The racing pigs have become a favorite must see. There is also a variety of foods including home cooked country meals made with meats and produce grown locally.

The fair began as an annual picnic that was held on August 14, 1897 at the Otterdale Schoolhouse which had been traditional; however the Cooperville Farmers Club joined the festivities. In the morning there was a parade to the Gouldens’s Grove, preceded by the Taneytown Band, then had prayer and music before lunch. In the afternoon speakers from the Maryland Agriculture Institute were asked to address the crowd and bring the farmers up to date on the new institute. A committee was formed and it was determined that the event would continue as annual event. By July 29, 1899, 2000 attended and a “WELCOME” arch was erected at the approach which remained a tradition at the entrance of the fair for years to come.

From seven acres of carriages in Goulden’s Grove to July 30, 1904 when 2000 automobiles came to the event in Ohler’s Grove, the fair realized tremendous growth and stability during the years at Ohler’s Grove. The strength and organization of the Grange (Taneytown Farmers Grange #184) and the dedication of its members gave the fair a lasting foothold in the fabric of Carroll County’s agriculture community. Promoting education of the rural America and supporting the women and youth in their work was a basic goal that never wavered. Ohlers’ Grove at fair time was the place to be to see demonstrations of modern machinery and methods of farming. Speakers from the University continued to give insight to farmers on livestock and plant diseases, higher quality of feed rations and veterinary pigeons, fruit and grain. It was a place to exhibit poultry, cattle, horses, swine sheep, pigeons, fruit and grain. Homemakers learned modern methods of canning and preparing foods safely and proper health care for themselves as well as their children. Opportunities to exhibit their work were as abundant as the men’s exhibits. It gave the whole family a chance to share experiences together yet offered them a chance to “shine” as an individual. The fair also included a variety of entertainment, side shows, games and rides in the schedule.

In the early 1900’s, the attendance grew to 14,000 with paid admission and premiums were offered for prize exhibits. New buildings were erected and all trains stopped at the grove during the picnic.  In 1911 the official name of the picnic became the Maryland State Grange Fair, Incorporated, in Taneytown. In 1918 a Carroll County Fair Association was formed and directed all of the fair activities. September 12-15, 1922 was the last year the fair was held at Ohler’s Grove. The facilities were no longer adequate to accommodate the large crowds and with better methods of transportation the fair association looked for a new home.

A 141 acre track was purchased by the Carroll County Fair Association from Mrs. Katherine S. Clabaugh on April 1, 1922. With the move to a new location, many new events and attractions were to be organized. During the “Taneytown” years much emphasis was put on growth from facilities and exhibits to entertainment and horse racing. 1923-1946 were difficult years for most and extra money to attend was scarce. With the admission lowered and the generous allocations from the Maryland State Fair Board, saving the fair was tough. There was no fair from 1943-1945. In 1946, the property was sold and The Carroll County Fair Association held its last fair.

The fair does survive with the commitment of the County Agents Landon C. Burns, Robert Benson, Evelyn Scott and Rachel Garber with assistance from local 4-H leaders as it became a vital part of the 4-H program in the county. 4-H has a requirement to complete a project which includes exhibiting that project. To provide the opportunity for members to exhibit within their county the Carroll County 4-H Fair was organized and presented. This marked the first Carroll County 4-H Fair and was held at Big Pipe Creek in Taneytown being a one day event on August 26, 1947. This fair was in conjunction with the county Farm Bureau Picnic.

On August 12, 1954 the fair moved to the new Carroll County Agriculture Center. “What is now the beginning of a fine Agriculture Center was just a few weeks ago a field. The young people of Carroll County can view the Agriculture Center with pride knowing that it was youth that labored to construct the pole type buildings and helped in getting the grounds ready for the fair”(Carroll County Times). 4-H club groups, volunteer groups, and the Veterans’ Farm Training Program worked on construction while Homemaker Clubs, Granges and Associated Women of Farm Bureau were on hand to serve food with proceeds going to the Agriculture Center Fund. Support from area businesses helped the fair then and continue to help the fair become what it is today.

Many firsts have happened since 1954 that continue as a tradition today. In 1968, the first Mr. and Miss 4-H were named, the 1st annual 4-H FFA Baby Beef Sale was on July 28, 1966 and in 1959 the Cake Auction raised $39 to benefit the fair. 1967 was the beginning of the Parade. The automotive driving contest and horses joined the fair in 1963. An all time favorite “Friday Night Roast Beef Dinner” began in 1969 in Burns Memorial Hall, the raffle in 1970, vendors were welcomed in 1971. Since then many new events and departments have been added including a llama show in 1995.

In 1962 over 5000 attendees visited the fair with over 1000 4-H and FFA members participating. Landon C. Burns stated, “This is the type of activity that develops character, business ability and the art of working together for t community improvement.” Today we showcase 800 4-H and FFA members with 10,000 exhibits. In 2009, with the generosity of the Maryland State Agriculture Fair Board, $40,985.11 in premiums was awarded. Carroll 4-H & FFA Fair hosted approximately 58,000 visitors to the Carroll County Agriculture Center for the annual fair.

Small beginnings sometimes grow into an everlasting monument to the dedication and determination of a few with a vision. This is the case of the Carroll County 4H & FFA Fair with the common thread of promotion of education setting and achieving goals through working together and sharing ideas.


PO Box 97
Westminster, MD 21158




© Carroll County 4H FFA Fair

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