The end of the summer is always a bit bittersweet for Marylanders. Though it’s tough to wave goodbye to warm weather, beach trips, and snowball season, the upside to the end of August is the return of the Maryland State Fair. The 140-year-old tradition celebrates its deep-rooted history while also adding plenty of new attractions to freshen things up each year. Aside from enjoying cotton candy and the colorful rides on the Midway, here are a few new things to eat, see, and do at this year’s end-of-summer soiree, running from August 23 to September 3.
This colossal sandwich combines the best things about Maryland and state fairs—crabs and fried foods—into one outrageously delicious bite. A jumbo lump crab cake, topped with an entire deep-fried soft shell crab, is finished with lettuce and tomato and packed between two toasty hamburger buns. Find this Food Network-reviewed creation in the Maryland Foods Pavilion.
The Dairy Bar
In addition to seven recurring flavors from Hershey’s, this ice cream stand will feature a specialty flavor from a different Maryland creamery each day. This weekend, cool off with a scoop of South Mountain Creamery’s “Snallygaster” flavor, which combines rich peanut butter ice cream with peanut butter cups and caramel ribbons.
Deep Fried Delights
Head to the Midway to indulge in cravings only state fair fare can satisfy. Dig into deep-fried Oreo cookies and candy bars, and if you’re brave enough, you can even try deep-fried insects—they’re crunchy, savory, and, apparently, not as bad as they sound.
During opening weekend on Saturday, August 25, see a live performance from early-2000’s rock band Smash Mouth—which churned out anthems like “All Star,” “Walkin’ on the Sun,” and a hit rendition of The Monkees’ classic “I’m a Believer.” Get ready to rock out to with energetic group, sing along to your favorites, and, probably, have some serious Shrek flashbacks.
Live Thoroughbred Horse Racing
Experience the power of these majestic animals as they thunder down the Timonium Race Track inside the Maryland State Fairgrounds on Friday, August 24. Root for your favorite horse or just enjoy the show with a classic racetrack snack like popcorn or hot dogs.
Glass Blowing Demonstration
Stop by the Mobile Glass Studio space any day from 2-8 p.m. for interactive demonstrations that delve into the science and art of glass blowing. Watch glass artist Ryan Gothrup create vases, bowls, animal figurines, and even functional spray guns and binoculars as he walks spectators through the mesmerizing process.
Celebrity Milkshake Contest
Watch the weekend anchors at Baltimore’s ABC affiliate station, NFL alumni—including former Baltimore Raven Qadry Ismail—and a local dairy farm family face off in this intense milkshake-making competition. Cheer for your favorites and watch a panel of judges taste these creamy creations and declare one group the first-place milkshake medalists.
Charm City Helicopter Rides
Get a new perspective on this 140-year-old festival—literally. Take to the skies for an unforgettable five minutes to see the bucolic fairgrounds, the bustling I-83 Baltimore County corridor, and the striking Martin Marietta Quarry from a bird’s-eye view.
Lego Interactive Display
Don’t miss one of this year’s most impressive new exhibits: a three-section, walk-through structure made entirely from Lego blocks. Explore any or all of its three themes—Baltimore City culture, state fair traditions, and the ocean—and marvel at this innovative architectural display.
Classic and Muscle Cars Show
Peruse this spectacular exhibit of rare cars under the stars at this evening event. Starting Sunday, August 26, at 6 p.m., learn about antique cars’ unique histories, see today’s most impressive modern vehicles, and chat with other car enthusiasts about your favorites of the bunch.