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Yavapai County Fair starts Sept. 6 in Prescott

Rides frame Thumb Butte at the 2017 Yavapai County Fair at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds Wednesday, September 7 in Prescott . (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Rides frame Thumb Butte at the 2017 Yavapai County Fair at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds Wednesday, September 7 in Prescott . (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

The Yavapai County Fair is set to start Thursday, Sept. 6, and carnival wristbands are already on sale at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds office.

Out of a love for the County Fair itself, the kids and what the fair stands for, volunteers continue to work toward improving and finding new things for the fair each year in order to capture the interest of all county residents, said Yavapai County Fair General Manager Rosie Darby.

New this year is a STEM activity for children, a balloon factory where kids can learn how balloons were invented and make their own balloon animals, and a drunk driving education activity called Drive Another Day, which is a twist on the importance of not drinking and driving, Darby said.

Additionally, there are activities in each department and there is a lot of excitement over the youth livestock auction Saturday night, Sept. 8, which starts with a barbecue at 3:30 p.m. and features animals and products from youth living in Yavapai County who belong to various livestock organizations such as 4H and FFA.

“It’s just some of the most amazing youth within the county who have been working hard with their animals,” she said. “They’ve done a great job working their animals throughout the year to bring some of the best meat and the best product for the consumer that they purchase.”

The auction itself begins at 5 p.m. and there are conformation shows all day Thursday; showmanship shows all day Friday; a dog show from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and various shows on Sunday, Sept. 9.

The departments within the County Fair include alpaca, agriculture/horticulture, agricultural mechanics, open beef, floriculture, home brew, creative arts, homemaking, collections, photography, horse, specialty livestock events, poultry, rabbit, school educational exhibits and open sheep/swine/goat.

The fair opens at 9 a.m. Thursday through Sunday.

What’s been most rewarding about putting on the fair this year has been seeing more and more volunteers, Darby said. “We went from a board of five to a board of probably 35 to 40,” she said. “The people in the county are seeing the importance, seeing what’s happening in the fair and want to join on and be a part of this great experience.”

As for the carnival, it will be open from 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday; 1 to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission Thursday and Friday is free to students and children younger than 5, $6 for adults and $5 for seniors. Admission Saturday and Sunday is free for children younger than 5, $5 for students, $6 for adults and $5 for seniors. Ride prices are $1 per ticket and $30 for an all-day wristband.

Darby said she has worked hard to keep the County Fair a true downhome fair and keeping it form getting so commercialized the people are forgotten about. “We are here for every resident of our county, we provide a great opportunity without a high ticket price and not a lot of extras,” she said. “If you don’t go to the carnival, you don’t buy the food, you can come in and have an enjoyable time. Not every booth is ‘pay me money, pay me money.’ It’s not that way, it is about truly coming and celebrating living in Yavapai County and celebrating what the true county fair stands for.”

The Yavapai County Fair is located at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds, 848 Rodeo Drive, Prescott. For more information, visit

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