Mohave County Fair off to a flying start

“Mr. Animation” entertains and interacts with an audience Thursday at the 68th Annual Mohave County Fair. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

“Mr. Animation” entertains and interacts with an audience Thursday at the 68th Annual Mohave County Fair. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

KINGMAN - Rhonda Gold couldn't help but dig into her wallet Thursday and pull out a dollar to help underwrite surgery for Pocket's two broken front legs.

"We're dog lovers," explained Gold, of Fort Mohave, as her 7-year-old daughter, Chels, petted the male Chihuahua mix sporting two large casts on his legs. "So we're glad to help any way we can."

Pocket was the star attraction in the exhibit hall at the Mohave County Fair, which opened Thursday with children's day.

The Kingman Animal Hospital booth featured the 9-month-old puppy as its "Amazing Gracie" animal because someone brought it to the hospital Tuesday after finding it along the side of the road.

An "Amazing Gracie" animal is one without an owner who has survived incredible odds, said Cassie McEuen, the hospital's office manager. Surgery for Pocket will cost about $2,500, and visitors to the booth, which the animal hospital returned to again this year after a hiatus of several years, were eager to assist the loveable puppy.

Nearby, Moche, a year-old French bulldog, played with passing children, another "Amazing Gracie" animal who survived a genetic stomach deformity that was starving her. McEuen quickly adopted Moche.

Down the hall, red, blue and yellow ribbons adorned a variety of exhibits, including best of class and best of show ribbons for Rik Simon's photograph of a plant and youth Holly Kennedy's pastries. Also, youth Justin Jones won for a large cut yellow dahlia flower, as did pre-schooler Neil Cartwright for his mixed media craftwork.

In the fair office, volunteer Margaret Foote prepared badges and handed out vendor packets. Foote, who has been offering her time each year for about 15 years, also works a booth and fills in wherever she is needed.

Foote, who is a member of the Mohave County Fair Association, said she enjoys the excitement of the annual event.

"I volunteer because it's fun and I like the people here," said Foote. "We're bringing joy to everyone, and the fair makes them happy because they get to see so many different things, from the animals and vendors to the acts. It's a great family time."

Jamie West, fair committee chairwoman of the Mohave County Fair Association, said she was pleased with the turnout on opening day and the quality of the fair this year. West also was relieved about the weather forecast for the weekend, which calls for plenty of sunshine and warm - but not scorching - temperatures.

"I think we're doing very well right now," said West. "The crowd looks good, and we were lucky enough to escape the monsoon this weekend. I was, quite frankly, very worried, because parts of the county had almost washed away.

"But we have a great staff here and they had the fairgrounds all cleaned up and ready to go for today."