Originally Published: September 6, 2017 6:02 a.m.
Thursday-Friday: children/students free, adults $6, seniors $5.
Children 5 and younger free, student K-12 grades $4, adults $6, seniors $5.
All-day wristbands $30.
Where: Prescott Rodeo Grounds, 840 Rodeo Drive, Prescott
Judges in the photography department scored and awarded ribbons Tuesday, one of several departments preparing for the opening of the Yavapai County Fair Thursday, Sept. 7.
“The number of entries is not as large as in the past, but the quality is really stunning. It’s quite impressive,” said Photography Superintendent Gene La Tour.
Exhibits open at 9 a.m. all four days and close at 9 p.m. except for Sunday, when the fair closes at 4 p.m.
Carnival rides begin at 4 p.m. Thursday until 11 p.m.; Friday from 2 to 11 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from noon until 4 p.m.
The fair allows people many avenues to experience a variety of exhibits, shows, food and concerts. Several new attractions will appeal to children and others to adults, said Rosalee Darby, general manager.
A test kitchen was built inside the Homemaking building for cooking demonstrations this year, thanks to equipment donated by Habitat for Humanity, she said. Demonstrations on brewing your own beer takes place in a nearby room.
In the center of the Homemaking room, volunteers will man a table for quick 1-minute crafts projects for children. At the back is a small stage for demonstrations such as spinning and quilting.
A side entrance opens to a large room that will exhibit school students’ artwork. To the other side, 4-H and FFA students will set up their exhibits.
Pumpkins took a beating this year, even though they are included in the theme of the fair.
“My plants are blooming like crazy but they are not setting, which has been the case for other Master Gardeners I know trying to grow pumpkins for the contest,” said Master Gardener Lori Dekker. The horticulture area will include seed sprouting exhibits and the ever-popular demonstration beehive.
New this year is a competition for high school artists. The Street Art Contest provides a place for students to create a piece of artwork on a plain piece of board in front of an audience. They choose their medium, and the winner will receive $250.
The top winner of the Talent Show scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday will win $500. So far about 15 acts have signed up, Darby said Tuesday. People can still register through yavapaifair.com.
The petting zoo always appeals to children, as well as a “farm experience” where they can pick fruit, gather eggs and dig for carrots and potatoes. A 12-foot solar-powered bubble tower runs all day every day, and a stilt walker is on hand to teach kids how to navigate the wooden devices.
“My main goal is for families to come enjoy the fair,” Darby said. While the carnival midway and rides cost extra, admission to the fair covers the children’s activities, including remote control car races.
Live entertainment by community groups takes place in 60-minute time slots. Country singer Harry Luge Jr. performs at 7 p.m. on Friday. Mogollon, a country rock band, plays at 7 p.m. Saturday.
What is a county fair without animals? FFA and 4-H livestock and horse shows start Thursday and Friday at 9 a.m. The livestock auction is at noon on Saturday. A Working Horse Competition is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday, followed by Ranch Rodeo and Ranch Bronc Riding at 6 p.m.
Kids can partake of rodeo-like events on Saturday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. during Family Fun Night. Races for all ages include Greased Pig Race, Money Calf, and Boot Race. No entry is required, just show up.
The commercial space is filled, Darby said. This past year, nine businesses occupied the space. This year, 37 have registered, including businesses, nonprofits, and political groups. “A little bit of everything,” she said.
She expects the fair to attract about 25,000 people over the four days, up from 23,000 who attended last year. The fair is at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds, 840 Rodeo Drive, Prescott.