Harford Fair sends off community members to post-secondary school
Modeling reciprocity, Harford fairgoers donated over 100,000 dollars in post-secondary scholarships to the community members who make the festival happen.
Over the last 20 years of the fair’s 165-year history, the Harford Agricultural Society has awarded technical, bachelor’s, and graduate scholarships to fair participants – both those going off to school for the first time and those going back to continue their education. Fair Director Heather Winn spoke about the program over the hubbub of last week’s fair.
“We understand that education is important. And we understand that our youth are important. And the best way to marry those two priorities for us is to make sure that if our community’s students choose to pursue higher education, we can support them,” Winn said.
For Winn, the fair is more than just a celebratory parting to summertime, it is her community’s bedrock.
“[The fair] became an opportunity for us to share how important agriculture is, how important farms are, and how important all of that is to all of us living healthily and well,” Winn said.
While organizations like the Pennsylvania Lottery and NBT Bank sponsor the fair, all of the money raised for the scholarship program comes from the community itself.
Fairgoers at last week’s festival saw hundreds of paintings, quilts, and baked goods lining barn walls. The sale of those goods – all donated by community members – raised money for the scholarship program. Those fundraising events, spread out over the six-day fair, get vicious, according to Winn.
“A number of family relationships have been put in tense competition,” Winn joked. “We’ve had fathers bidding against daughters, and siblings bidding against each other for pies and cakes and breads.”
The deadline to apply for this year’s scholarship is Aug. 31. A banquet for the 2023 awardees is set for early October.