One of the largest county fairs in Maryland, the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair has been a major draw for locals and visitors since 1949, with activities, over than 5,000 farm animals, food, and carnival rides for all to enjoy. Sitting on 62 acres, this year’s fair will be held from August 10 – 18 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds (501 Perry Pkwy, Gaithersburg, MD 20877).
To help you make the most of your visit this year, below is a breakdown of everything you need to know before you load up on cotton candy and funnel cake.
Getting to the Fair
The Montgomery County Fairgrounds is easily accessible for families living throughout the county, and those traveling from Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Richmond. The fairgrounds are located right off of I-270. Take Exit 11 for Montgomery Village and Quince Orchard Rd. If you are taking I-270 North, keep going through the first light. Otherwise, if you are coming from I-270 South, make a left onto Montgomery Village Ave. Then, at the second light, make a right onto Route 355 South. A right at the following light will take you right onto Perry Parkway, where the Fairgrounds’ entrance will be on the left.
There is ample onsite parking for $10. But, there is also free parking and shuttle bus service available from Lakeforest Mall (701 Russell Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877).
Fun and Entertainment at the Fair
The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair has rides and attractions for all ages. There are kid-friendly trains, slides, merry go round, and tea cups. For adventurous adults, there are the gondola wheel, a haunted mansion, magic maze glass house, tilt a whirl, and many others. Purchase a one-day Megapass wristband to get on virtually every ride in the carnival.
Every day, the fair also features great free entertainment. At the PEPCO an Exelon Company Community Stage, see the Grand Illusions by the Blooms, a special blend of magic, humor, and family entertainment. There is also the adorable racing pigs at the Show-Me Swine Racers. On August 10 – 12, see the Chesapeake DockDogs, an amazing show where trained dogs leap into the air and swim to retrieve toys in the water.
There will also be fun contests with great prizes for everyone to get in on. Try out the Twitter & Instagram Scavenger Hunt, and solve clues to find items, take pictures, and post to Twitter or Instagram and tag @MoCoFair, @CountyCableMoCo. Winners will get gift cards for retailers like Amazon, Regal Cinemas, and Barnes & Noble. On Aug. 13, there will also be an ice cream eating contest with scoops provided by Rock Hill Orchard and Woodbourne Creamery. Of course, don’t forget to share your images with the Visit Montgomery Instagram page by tagging @visitmoco.
Eating at the Fair
Whether you are looking for something sweet or savory, the fair has it all. Cheese lovers should stop by the Big Cheese, which sold 10,000 gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches during last year’s festivities. Fans of the deep fried variety can get deep fried Twinkies, Snickers, Milkways, S’mores, and cheesecake at the fair. Demetri’s Greek Foods will have gyros, kabobs, pita sandwiches, and baklava to enjoy. Local popular Italian restaurant, Mama Lucia, will also be serving classics like lasagna, fettucine alfredo, baked ziti, and pizza. Click here for the full list of food vendors.
Tickets and Hours of Operation
With the exception of Friday, August 10, the fair will be open on Saturdays during its time at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. On August 10, the fair will open its doors from 3 p.m. to midnight. During Saturdays, it will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight. Please note, the gates will close at 11 p.m. each night for final entry.
Children ages 11 and under can get into the fair for free. Adults will cost $12 each at the gate and $10 if you purchase online. You can also purchase a season pass for $75, which includes unlimited admissions and parking fees.
Once you get inside the fair, it can get overwhelming with so much to see and do. Print out the following map beforehand to make sure you hit up your favorite concession stand or ride.