Probably the best thing to do is to block off September 8-11 on your calendar and plan to spend every one of those days at the 2016 Yavapai County Fair. That’s because there is something different happening each day at the Fair, and you just won’t want to miss any of it.
Rosalee Darby, the Chairman of the Yavapai County Fair, focused on making sure that this would be a very family-friendly, everyone-welcome event.
“There’s lots of things that you can do," Darby said. "You can come to the Fair, for a $14 pre-sale ticket for a family of six, four kids and two adults. You can take in a lot of the fair, see lots of exhibits, entertain at the farm experience, go to the petting zoo, and really not have to spend any additional money... I know it’s hard on families and it’s expensive and I want to make sure they can have a good time while they’re there.”
From the low admission fees, to the upgraded and improved carnival rides, to the themed events planned for each night - everyone can come find something new, something interesting and definitely something fun to do at this year’s Fair.
There is a greased pig race and even a ‘Catch the Chicken’ event for the kids. If the kids catch a chicken, they get to keep it. (Moms and Dads, be prepared to negotiate on this one!)
Thursday: School Tours (no cost to the schools)
Friday: Ranch Events, including a Ranch Rodeo and Ranch Bronc Riding
Saturday: 4H and FFA livestock auction, Family Fun Night
Sunday: Hispanic Heritage Day
Submit Your Entry!
For those who want to enter items in the Fair, the list of departments and categories offer endless possibilities, and there is still time to get involved:
Fine Arts/School Fine Arts - Entries due Tuesday, September 6
Photography - Entries due Tuesday, September 6
Educational Exhibits - Entries due Monday, September 5
Floriculture - Entries due Wednesday, September 7
Agriculture/Horticulture Entries due Wednesday, September 7
Homemaking/Creative Arts Entries due by Monday, September 5
AG Mechanics JTED/FFA Entries due Wednesday, September 7
Home Brew Entries due Tuesday, September 6
Other displays to see include:
"I think County Fairs are important,” Darby said. “I wanted it to get that same feel that we get when we go to other places, and there’s that complete family, common feeling that we live in a small community and we come together to celebrate… We have too much evil in our world right now, and we need to be able to have a time where we can come together as people in our community and our county and celebrate together.”
One of the unique aspects of this year’s Fair is the Hispanic Heritage Day. This poster is on the walls at Mayas Mercado, a store in Prescott Valley that caters to the Hispanic community:
As a community effort, you can't beat the Yavapai County Fair. All the work is done by a group of very dedicated, unpaid volunteers, including members of Darby’s family. The Yavapai Fair Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization, and all money raised is used to pay for the costs of putting on the Fair. The Fair is beneficial to other organizations in the community, too. The Fair Foundation rents the facilities from the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo organization at a cost of $18,000 for the weekend. The Rodeo organization also manages the alcohol concessions and retains the proceeds from the sales.
Catching up with Darby usually means finding her in the middle of a whirl of activity. We located her at the Chino Valley Corn Dinner on Saturday, and sat down for a quick conversation.
For more information, go to the YavapaiFair.com website. Download the County Fair booklet here. You can buy pre-sale tickets for admission and rides at all Olsen’s Grain locations or online (there is a $1 fee added online for processing).