Brendel’s Manor Park was the site of the Farm Bureau Picnic for many years. Farm families and friends gathered annually to celebrate the harvest and to engage in contest of friendly rivalry. From Pomona Grange, Farm Bureau, and individuals who had been involved with Landowners and Farmers Field Day at Howard County Hunt Club, the idea of making the picnic into a full-fledged County Fair developed.
So it was the First Annual Fair was held at Brendel’s Manor Park on August 21 and 22, 1946. A profit of $2,000.00 was cleared on that first Fair, so the proud Fair Committee held a meeting at the Freezer Locker on August 29, 1946, just one week after the First Annual Fair! After the question, “Does Howard County really need a Fair?” was fully discussed, it was decided to organize a Fair Board and “establish the Howard County Annual Fair on a permanent basis.”
The first Annual meeting of the Howard Fair Association, Inc. was held March 24, 1947, at Ellicott City High School and directors were elected.
The Fair found a new location in 1947, Ellicott City High School, and featured a 30 cent admission charge. The Maryland State Fair Board allotted $2,000.00 for premiums, and a $1 entry fee was charged on dairy and beef cattle in Open Class. A car raffle at 25 cents per chance was also held.
The 3rd and 4th Fairs were held a t Laurel Raceway. Mrs. Alda Clark was involved at Laurel Harness Track. They needed Steel (which was restricted during World War II) and the legislature had imposed the condition that a livestock show would have to be held in conjunction with the racing. During the first of the “Raceway Years,” the Fair ran for four days. Those who attended the three-day event in 1949 were treated to harness racing and midway thrills courtesy of the Great Zacchini – The Human Cannonball.