©Maryland Horse Industry Board

Today’s the day! The first day of the Maryland State Fair! Head out to Timonium and stop by Horseland for lots of cool stuff including Equiery coloring books…. While supplies last!

Here is a bit more about the history of the Maryland State Fair:

The first successful State Fair in Maryland was held in 1878, run by a group of Maryland businessmen on a 4-acre lot in Lutherville. Later that year, the extension of the Northern Central Railway cut through the fairgrounds. What might have been an end to the State Fair actually fueled it, as the Northern Central Railway became the primary source of transportation to the fair’s new location–a leased 37-acre plot of land known as the Timonium Estate. In its early years, the fair had a rival in the Pimlico Fair, also in Baltimore and also referred to as the State Fair. In the end, the two groups held joint fairs in 1894 and 1897, and finally merged to form the Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society of Baltimore County in 1906.

Popular attractions in the early years included plowing and working oxen, as well as horse racing. Final results of the races were forwarded to interested horsemen in the surrounding areas by carrier pigeons. Its simple format started to change into something more complex as time went on, with an increase in attractions and exhibits, but was halted due to the war effort in 1943 when the fairgrounds were leased by the U.S. Army as a storage depot and a vehicle repair center. The Fair would not reopen its gates until 1946.

In the 1950s, the Maryland Jockey Club, which was the majority stockholder of the Timonium property, was planning to sell the land. A community-created “Save the Maryland State Fair Committee” raised over $600,000 to purchase the fairgrounds instead, ensuring it would continue at that location annually. In the 1970s, the committee was successful in keeping Thoroughbred racing as part of the fair, as well as receiving a grant to expand the fairgrounds, which is now over 100 acres. The fair grew from 10 days to 12, increased its efforts to close the gap between citizens and agriculture, and has continued to whole-heartedly support the exhibitors which are the “heart of the event.”

For more information about this year’s Horseland, go to: www.marylandhorse.com