Monmouth County Fair plans host of activities

The 36th annual Monmouth County Fair will return to the East Freehold Showgrounds, Kozloski Road, Freehold Township, from July 21-25.

Organized and presented by the Monmouth County Park System in cooperation with the Monmouth County 4-H, the fair maintains the agricultural nature of a traditional county fair with its home and garden competition, petting farm and 4-H animal shows and exhibits, with plenty of 21st century amenities such as computer enhanced photography exhibits, rides and live entertainment.

At the heart of the fair, the Home and Garden tent allows fairgoers to admire a cornucopia of food, crafts and art that Monmouth County residents have grown, carved, sewn or painted, plus get information about gardening, wheel thrown pottery, beekeeping, knitting, quilting, decoy carving and more.

The fair also offers the opportunity to see farm animals up close. From racing pigs to 4- H small animal judging, animals are an important part of the fair. The 4-H Association brings rabbits, sheep, heifers and other animals for visitors to admire.

The county’s agricultural heritage comes alive in the Historic Longstreet Farm and Historic Walnford tent. Each day, staff and volunteers of the park system’s 1890s living history farm at Holmdel Park and the 18th century mill village at Crosswicks Creek Park hold demonstrations showing daily activities of turn-of-the-century farm life in Monmouth County.

Live entertainment at the fair will including Jodi Joseph on July 24, the NASCAR Show Cars on display for MotorSports Night on July 21 and a firefighters competition, to name a few.

As always, there will be an array of rides (weather permitting) and games in the midway. This year’s fair offers three blocks of time where fairgoers may purchase ride wristbands for $18 per person: July 21 and July 22 from 5-10 p.m. and July 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. New for 2010 is the food and fund drive slated for July 24, when fairgoers are asked to help local families in need by contributing to this drive that benefits the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Boxed and canned nonperishable food items (no glass containers) and monetary donations will be collected at the fair’s front gate. The goal is to collect 50,000 pounds of food in honor of the Monmouth County Park System’s 50th anniversary.

Hours for the 2010 Monmouth County Fair will be 5-11 p.m. July 21, 22 and 23; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 24; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 25. Admission is $7 per person; children 12 and under enter free. For more information, call 732-842-4000 or www.monmouthcountyparks. com.