Originally Published: August 8, 2016 6 a.m.
The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed with Rosie Darby, general manager of the Yavapai County Fair Association, that bringing the fair back to Prescott and creating a family-oriented event benefits everyone.
To that end, the board approved a Memorandum of Understanding, at its Aug. 3 board meeting, with the Yavapai County Fair Foundation, City of Prescott and Prescott Frontier Days, Inc., for cooperative assistance in producing the annual county fair.
Darby said the theme this year is “Hometown Harvest Happening,” and several changes make the fair more family friendly than ever. The event is moved up this year – hoping to avoid rain, Darby said – to Sept. 8-11.
Premium books will be available this week, printed without advertisements. A smaller, eight-page booklet will be available with information pertaining to the fair itself, including schedules for entertainment, admission prices, 4-H and FFA shows and auction information, a map of the Rodeo Grounds, and opportunities for businesses to advertise.
Thursday and Friday, the Fair opens its gates at 9 a.m. so students and school tours have ample time to visit. Darby said all students will leave with a goodie bag. Livestock and horse shows also take place the first two days, with a working ranch horse competition starting at 3 p.m. on Friday, and a Ranch Rodeo and bronc riding at 6 p.m.
She considers Saturday as family day with the 4H and FFA livestock auction starting at noon. Sheep ride, calf ride, trailer race, greased pig and money calf races happen during the evening from 5-10 p.m.
Sunday’s events focus on Hispanic Heritage, with special entertainment and vendors. Barrel Racing is scheduled from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Carnival rides begin at noon on Thursday, 11 a.m. on Friday, and 10 a.m. on the weekend. They close at 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Creating lots of hands-on activities for children makes it a true county fair, Darby said. Free parking and pre-sale tickets at $3 per person help provide fun for families who perhaps can’t afford all the carnival rides, but can still partake of the petting zoo, livestock shows, and many exhibits.
Asked if she could use more space, Darby said, “Always.” She reconfigured the layout of the Rodeo Grounds and said she is more comfortable with how the space flows.
“Last year we had 17,000 people attend. This year, I’d like to see 25,000. We’re hoping it will be without rain,” she said.
Board members also approved $6,000 to the Yavapai Fair Foundation to pay for the rental costs of temporary fencing provided by the county Facilities Department.