Yavapai Fair begins Thursday at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds

Sue Tone/The Daily Courier<br>
Kay Cross, left, holds a photography entry as judges Dennis O’Reilly, middle, and Don Messerschmitt examine and score the print at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds in preparation for the opening of the Yavapai Fair on Thursday, Oct. 1.

Sue Tone/The Daily Courier<br> Kay Cross, left, holds a photography entry as judges Dennis O’Reilly, middle, and Don Messerschmitt examine and score the print at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds in preparation for the opening of the Yavapai Fair on Thursday, Oct. 1.

In 1913, Yavapai County's first fair opened for residents - probably with livestock sales, rhubarb pie and a display of marble collections. Tomorrow -102 years later - the Yavapai Fair opens to the public with much the same exhibits, events, and plenty more in the way of food and fun.

On Thursday and Friday, children in kindergarten through 12th grade get in free, and seniors age 60 and older receive a discounted ticket price of $3. Adults pay $6. Regular ticket prices on Saturday and Sunday are $3 for children ages 6-19 (free for younger than age 6), and $6 for adults and seniors. Active military personnel get in free with identification.

Parking is free. On Thursday, exhibits open at noon, and the carnival rides at 4 p.m. The fair opens at 9 a.m. Friday through Sunday, closing at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday. The carnival portion remains open until 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Presale family admission passes are available until 5 p.m. today only at Cal Ranch Prescott and all Olsen's Grain locations. A one-day pass for up to six family members is $14; for all four days, a pass costs $27. Pay-one-price carnival wristbands are $25 per person. Most rides require three or four tickets at $1 per ticket.

Chuck Myrick, general manager of Midway West out of Phoenix, was overseeing the set-up of 19 rides on Tuesday.

"I handle the fun part of the fair," he said. He's been bringing the carnival rides to Prescott for five years, but has been in the business for 40 years.

Besides the thrill of roller coasters and Ferris wheels, high-calorie fair food and midway games, visitors can browse through any number of exhibits to view such things as hybrid tea roses, carnivorous Venus flytraps, giant pumpkins, apple pies, log cabin quilts, photography, artwork, and school exhibits.

Bob Stickley and his wife, Linda, dropped off three oil and two acrylic paintings of Bob's. The Prescott couple said they were grateful the fair had returned to town.

Quilter Lou Ghering shared the same sentiments, saying the last time she and her husband came to the fair was in 2000, before it moved out to the fairgrounds and racetrack northeast of Prescott Valley.

"It was just so far away for us to go out there," she said. Lou entered a hand-stitched quilt she calls My Flower Garden begun in 1985 and finished this year.

Judging of small livestock, poultry, rabbit, sheep, goats, beef and dairy takes place Thursday after 10 a.m. Pinewood Derby races take place at various times Thursday through Saturday.

The Gymkhana takes place Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for children ages 3-18. Events include barrel racing, pole bending, flag race, key hole, and a boot race for kids ages 3-9.

Later on Friday, at 6 p.m., the Yavapai Fair Ranch Rodeo happens with Stray Gathering, Trailer Loading, Wild Cow Milking, Branding and Ranch Bronc Riding events.

The 66th Annual 4H and FFA Livestock Auction takes place at noon on Saturday. Fair-goers can bid to take home beef, swine, sheep, goats, poultry, rabbits and homemade craft items. Team Roping with cash prizes and buckles occurs on Saturday.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, competitors can take part in a Trailer Race, Grocery Race, and for kids, the Greased Pig Race, Sheep Riding and Calf Riding.

Sunday's barrel race event starts with Pee Wee Division, ages 0-7 and ends with Seniors, ages 40 and older.

Follow Sue Tone on Twitter@ToneNotes. Reach her at 928-445-3333 x2043 or 928-642-7867.