The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair returns for 74th year. Credit: Montgomery County Agricultural Center

Celebrate summer’s heat while you can by soaking up sun, scarfing down cotton candy, screaming on rides and getting up close to some farm animals  at the Montgomery County Agricultural Center’s 74th annual fair.

The fair, which opened Friday, will run through Aug. 19 at the fairgrounds at 501 Perry Parkway in Gaithersburg. Typically, the annual attraction draws thousands to enjoy an array of carnival rides, entertainment, animal exhibitions and, of course, food.

And what’s a fair without a little competition? There will be a variety of contests including toilet and toilet seat decorating (all of which must be cleaned and sanitized, of course!) following either a fair theme or toilet theme; an amateur cheese carving contest, which will give contestants 30 minutes to carve a two-pound slab of cheese (provided); and a “My Best Fair” photo contest, which follows four themes: “Children of All Ages,” “Fair Flavors,” “Mooving Around the Fair” and “Fair Montage.” For the full list of contests and rules, visit the fair’s contests page.

And even if you don’t compete, you can still peruse the ribbon-winning quilts, gape at the champion pumpkin and check out the handiwork of your neighbors. You can also get up close to farm animals at Old MacDonald’s Barn. The fair features entertainment ranging from music, a comedy hypnotist to motorsports and pig racing. For a full list of free entertainment at the festival, visit the fair’s website. Sheehy Ford Grandstand will present free events including drag racing, touch-a-truck event and Chesapeake Dockdogs, a canine aquatics competition as well asand paid events including the Renegade Monster Truck tour and a demolition derby. Both paid events are $18 at the gate and $15 online.

There will be carnival rides for an additional cost. One-day ride wristbands Friday and Monday through Wednesday will cost $25. One day ride wristbands Saturday, Sunday Aug. 18 and 19 will cost $40 and on Tuesday and Thursday will cost $35.

For a full list of the rides and height requirements, visit the fair’s website.


Admission to the fair is $15 onsite and $12 online. Children age 11 and younger are free. Parking is $15 per car.

There are also several of festivals to mark your calendar for in the coming weeks:


International Food and Craft Fair

More than 70 artisans and crafters, independent consultants and small business will gather in Silver Spring for the Silver Spring International Food and Craft Fair from 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday at 1 Veterans Place.

The free event, hosted by Chic Events DC, a producer of cultural events, arts and crafts fairs, art exhibitions and more in the Washington, D.C. area., will  include food, music, and performances. Food vendors include Icey Somethin Icey, Kyky Tea, Lameera ice cream, Mark’s Thai Taste and Paris Street Food.


The event is rain or shine. Attendees can RSVP through Eventbrite.

The Hey Cousin Culture Festival

The Hey Cousin Culture Festival will be from 1 to 8 p.m. Aug. 20 at 1 Veterans Place in Silver Spring.


The free event is a celebration of Black joy that will feature art, apparel, crafts, non-profits and food vendors. There will be performances by local artists and youth dance teams, a Divine 9 stroll competition and a DJ all day. Attendees can RSVP through Eventbrite.

African + Caribbean Music & Arts Festival

Carnival Nation presents the African + Caribbean Music & Arts Festival from 1 to 9 p.m. Aug. 27 at 1 Veterans Plaza in Silver Spring.


The event will feature live bands, performers and artists. Music will include drum core, steel orchestra and jazz ensemble highlighting reggae, afrobeats, soca and Kompa.

The event is free and open to all ages. Attendees can RSVP through Eventbrite.

Long Branch Festival


A collaborative partnership of the Long Branch Business League, Montgomery Housing Partnership, Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Housing and Community Development, presents the Long Branch Festival Sept. 8 and 9 at 8746 Flower Ave.

The festival, which highlights the community of Long Branch located between Silver Spring and Takoma Park, starts from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 8 and continues from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 9.

Food, live music, dance performances, a drink crawl, a science show for kids, a Zumba class and food will be featured at the festival.


For a full list of events and performances, visit the festival’s website.

Food vendors include El Gavilan, El Golfo, Hola Chicken, Mansa Kunda, Bean & Bloom, La Casita and Koma Café. The Long Branch Business League will sell Long Branch collector’s mugs for drink specials at participating businesses including El Golfo and El Gavilan restaurants.