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Sun, Feb. 16

County Fair opens Thursday

The 94th Yavapai County Fair has several new events to appeal to Yavapai County residents.

The first new event is the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show. Sharon Fischer, assistant fair manager, said this 30-minute dry show features two award-winning lumberjacks competing in five events. They are: Underhand chopping, axe target, carving log, saw log and springboard pole.

Fischer said they added this show because "this is a popular show that we thought residents of Yavapai County would like to see."

They also added the 30-minute Cook's Racing Pigs Show.

"We had it at the old fairgrounds and people enjoyed it. It has taken us eight years to schedule the show again because it is so popular," she said.

Charlie Cook, co-owner of Cook's Racing Pigs, said their show is the most interactive show in the fair business.

The show got its start at the 1986 California State Fair, where the pigs raced for fans for 14 straight years.

Cook says everyone present for each performance is offered a free colored numbered ticket. If the fairgoer's color pig wins either of the two races he wins a blue ribbon that says, "My Pig Won."

After each race the Cooks have a drawing from the winning color for a Cook's Racing Pig T-shirt. They give away two T-shirts, a hat and possibly hundreds of blue ribbons at each race.

In addition to the races Cook offers his trivia contest called "The College of Pig Knowledge," and often stumps and amazes pig lovers and hog farmers alike.

Cook says the pigs race for a reward of soft serve ice cream and an Oreo cookie.

They race five times on Thursday and Friday, nine times on Saturday and four times on Sunday.

Another new event is the Jam Fest. "We invited eight bands from within Yavapai County to each perform a 45-minute show for the fairgoers," Fischer said.

On Friday, the Ripptones Band kicks off the Jam Fest at 7 p.m., followed by the Christian Band at 7:30 p.m., the Karma Band at 8:15 p.m., the Truly Reckless Band at 9 p.m. and the Arizona Territorial Band at 10 p.m.

On Saturday, the Double Take Band starts the evening off with a 7 o'clock show. The Shaky Ground Band is next at 8 p.m. It is followed by The Throttle Band at 9 p.m. and the Neon Raiders at 10 p.m.

Also, at 8 a.m. Saturday they are holding a rooster crowing contest, which Fischer says is something to see.

Fischer said Royal West Amusement is back with its two carnival setups to entertain the young and young at heart.

On Thursday, she said, the carnival has its "Family Fun Day," where mom or dad gets to ride free with their kids.

Fischer said people also can go to and get a $5 off coupon for the carnival rides.

"We went with Royal West Amusement's carnival because of their safety record and professionalism," she said.

The carnival opens at 4 p.m. Thursday and runs until 10 p.m. On Friday and Saturday the carnival runs from 11 a.m. until closing. On Sunday it goes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fischer said the commercial booths are up this year. "There is no more space left inside or outside," she said.

All of the department heads feel pretty good about the entries entered this year, Fischer said.

"Our volunteers have really worked to make this fair one everyone will enjoy," she said.

She urges everyone to come out and enjoy the fair.

The fair runs from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.

Fischer said parking is free at the fair.

Admission to the fair is $6 for adults with children free and seniors half price on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, adults and seniors are $6 and children are $4.

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