As scores of volunteers set up jumps, decorate with mums and handle a million last minute details for Fair Hill International, there is a theme.
It is painted on decorative pumpkins.
It is being hung in the VIP tent.
Lots of stars.
Currently, Fair Hill International is a prestigious three-star and two-star annual event, attracting equestrians from throughout the nation and the world.
It is poised to go to the ultimate level of competition – a four-star event. U.S. officials have sanctioned the move to this elite level of competition and international equestrian officials are set to vote on this new four-star event within weeks.
So, the Fair Hill International officials are anticipating the four-star, preparing for the current three-star, two-star event – which starts today, and looking to the future when they move from their long-term Gallaher Road site at Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area to the grandstand area of Fair Hill.
People coming out to watch the horses can see the competitors in a variety of events with the most action seen along the four-mile course with its unique and challenging jumps.
Fair Hill International is not just for horse enthusiasts. It has long been known as the Festival in the Country. There are vendors. Food is plentiful. There is a children’s area.
W.L. Gore is holding a 5K this weekend at the course. There is a sports expo. Bicyclists are represented during the event. Dogs will also be featured. The craft beer area was introduced last year and was such a success, it is coming back and will be enlarged. Cecil County Tourism has moved from the vendor tent area and will have their own tent near the equestrian arena with brochures from the county and a Taste of Cecil County feature with local food and authors. There will even be a Tesla car display.
There are three tailgating areas along the four-mile course.
“We try to make is a fun day and introduce people to our sport,” said Carla Geiersbach, Fair Hill International executive director.
“This year, we added lawn boxes,” she said, explaining that after talking to the Fair Hill Races’ organizers, they thought people at Fair Hill International would enjoy a special area, other than the bleachers, to see the horse events, including show jumping.
But with all of the activities, booths, food and fun, Geirersbach said it is the nature around Fair Hill that is always the centerpiece.
“There are so many people who love the land,” she said. “It’s lots of fun. Bring the kids. Bring the dog.”