EASTON — The 2019 Talbot County Fair kicked off Thursday, July 11, with its opening day ceremony.

Talbot County Fair Co-Superintendent Amanda Clougherty welcomed the audience at the Talbot Agriculture and Education Center for attending Talbot First Responders Day. She opened the ceremony by thanking the first responders for keeping the community safe.

“They brought out all of the equipment today, and they have education displays to learn about how to become a member and how to get involved in our community,” Clougherty said. “For those of you who are first responders, you will be getting free ice cream.”

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church Pastor Ed Kuhling then led the ceremony with an opening prayer. The Easton Volunteer Fire Department led the presentation of colors, and Dfc. John Coleman of the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” with trumpet accompaniment by Jason Blades Hrynko.

Jr. Mr. Fire Chief Logan Hayes led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Clougherty said the highlights from the 2019 Talbot County fair include Friday, July 12, as Chick-fil-A Kid’s Day, when the first 1,500 to enter will get a free Chick-fil-A sandwich coupon, and Saturday, July 13, as Farmer Appreciation Day, when guests will have the opportunity to thank a farmer in person or write a note of thanks on a wall near the entry.

Those attending the fair on Thursday included Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot; Melissa Kelly, representative for Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; and Keith Graffius, community liason for U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st.

Coleman ended the opening day ceremony by singing “America the Beautiful.”

“I have been involved with the fair since I was 8 years old,” Clougherty said. “I was a 4-H member here who showed for many years and benefitted from all the volunteers that came before me to have all of those experiences.

“Now I have kids who are getting involved with the fair, and it’s time for me to give back. And so we have grown over the years to make better connections in our communities, because we all believe that with the community getting together, we can learn from each other.”

Thursday at the fair also included the dog show, which was run and sponsored in part by Karla Wieland-Cherry, real estate agent with Meredith Fine Properties. Fiften exhibitors from Queen Anne, Talbot and Kent counties showcased their dogs to judge Skylar Landis.

During the rally portion of the show, Couper Barletta of Talbot County won the Champion Novice Junior Award for Knight the black Lab. Trenton Montooth of Kent County won the Reserve Novice Junior Award for Blue the husky.

Regan Cole of Queen Anne won the Champion Novice Intermediate award for Star the Australian shepherd. Kiersten Lancaster of Queen Anne’s County won the Champion Novice Senior Award for Jake the Norwegian elkhound/border collie. Dakota Celatka of Kent County won the Reserve Novice Senior Award for Painter the sheltie.

“This experience coming to the Talbot County Fair is a way to reconnect to the roots of our county,” Mautz said. “It keeps people in touch with the county, so we don’t lose our heritage, which is so precious. It makes this a special place, and we celebrate that with our annual fair. It’s put on by people from the county, which makes it organic experience.”

The Talbot County Fair continues Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.talbotcountyfair.org.

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