Frederick marks four decades of hosting ‘Ag Week at the Mall’

Staff Writer

FREDERICK, Md. (March 1, 2016) — For more than 40 years Frederick County, Md., has been celebrating “Ag Week at the Mall.”
“It’s a way to keep people educated about agriculture in Frederick County,” said Ted Albaugh of Days Land Acres Farm, a dairy farm in Walkersville, Md.
Albaugh is one of the farmers who shares the duties of Ag Week chairman along with Ronald Murphy, a beef, hog and grain farmer in the area.
Ag Week was the idea of Maryland Ag in the Classroom teacher David Miller and first held at Linganore School in New Market, Md.
It soon spread to the FrederickTown Mall and then to the town’s several other shopping malls where the malls were transformed for one week to help non-farmers understand the many contributions farmers and agriculture make to their lives.
Not long after Miller got Ag Week started, the late Roy Porter of the University of Maryland Extension, got involved and worked with the program for many years.
To this day, the Roy Porter Memorial Log Sawing Contest is a highlight of the week.
Ag Week was limited this year, to Francis Scott Key Mall, one of the larger malls in the area and activities included an ice cream cranking contest, giant ice cream sundae making, cake and pie contest and Marcie Becker Memorial Cake and Pie Auction, wool weaving, spinning and carding demonstrations, a coloring contest, 4-H entomology project displays, Scales and Tales demonstrations, demonstrations by the 4-H Tailwaggers Dog Club, recognition of 4-H Royalty and Frederick County Family of the Year, a visit from Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder and the popular pedal tractor pull.
“Basically, we do the same things we’ve always done every week for Ag Week because that’s what people ask for,” Albaugh said. “We’re also limited in the things we can do at the mall, now, because of health and other regulations. We used to have a cow milking contest and a pie eating contest but can no longer do them.”
Today there are restrictions on many of the agricultural activities that involve food. and anyone looking to serve food to the public at such an event as Ag Week, must apply for a health department permit, according to Wendy Cochran, the food program manager at the Frederick County Health Department.
Each year a contest prior to the event, is held to name a theme. This year’s theme is “Frederick County Ag Story.”
Other themes in past years have included “Maryland Agriculture: Voice of the Land” and “Maryland Agriculture: Land of Bountiful Harvest.”