Supersized Mohave County fair starts Thursday
The fair schedule is linked to this article.
Ground crews and volunteers have been working since late August, scrubbing, weeding and painting the fairgrounds in order to get them ready for the 66th Annual Mohave County Fair Thursday.
This year's fair promises to have more exhibits, more entertainment, more rides, more vendors and free Wi-Fi.
The events start at 9 a.m. Thursday with a flag-raising and ribbon cutting. The fair is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The cost is $5 for those ages 12 and up, $2 for seniors age 65 and up and $2 for children ages 4 to 11. Children under 3 get in free.
The rides open at 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, at 11 a.m. on Saturday and at noon on Sunday.
However, those hoping to get their hands on one of the 2,000 discounted fair ride bracelets are out of luck. They sold out about two weeks ago, said Lori Cameron, the committee's commercial booth director.
A fair isn't a fair without exhibits and animals. The Exhibit Hall is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the fair except Sunday.
The fair committee got a bumper crop of exhibits this year, said Open Exhibits Director Krista Yokley. The photography contest alone had more than 550 entries and that was after the committee decided not to have a "snapshot" contest this year.
"It took us four hours and seven people to judge all the photos," she said. "We have entries from every age group from age 1 to age 99 plus and everything from food to flowers."
There are even categories for people entering a contest for the first time and for professionals, she said, and a Kids Korner for entries from children under the age of 5.
The only exhibit classes that may be a little lean this year will be the fresh fruits and vegetables, horticulture and floriculture entries. Most of the entrants in these categories pick their flowers and produce right before the fair to make sure it is at the peak of perfection, but the recent rainy weather may have damaged a lot of the exhibits.
"This is the second year in a row that we've had a bad storm before the fair," Yokley said.
4-H and Future Farmers of America students will be showing off their animals throughout the fair, culminating in the annual livestock auction at 6 p.m. Saturday. The University of Arizona will take care of the butchering of the animal for anyone who purchases one.
Fairgoers who want to help the students but don't have the money to purchase an auction animal can fill out a form and donate money to a student of their choice. Just ask for Jerri Ray Moser.
There will also be a Gymkhana horse event, a horse show and a dog show. The winner of the Gymkhana event gets a horse trailer.
Three musical groups - Breakout, Delicious Point and Eric Dodge - will be sharing the stage Thursday through Saturday with three entertainers: magician Kerry Ross, knife thrower Larry Cisewski and Hypno Joe.
Breakout is a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tribute band. Delicious Point specializes in pop and rock music and Dodge croons country.
On Sunday, the local entertainers take the stage with Route 66 Line Dancers, a talent show and local band, Monkey Biz'nezz.
Visitors roaming the midway can catch acts by unicyclist and comedian Chaz Marquette, machete juggler Spike Mcguire or the girls from All Starz Gymnastics and Kingman Dance Factory.
The Kent Family Magic Circus will also be on hand to dazzle the midway crowds and Leapin Louie will be walking tall on his cowboy stilts.
There will also be plenty of food and drinks this year to keep hungry visitors satisfied.
Cameron had so many food vendors sign up this year that they wrapped the vendor spots along the side and behind the main exhibit building to accommodate them all, she said.
"Not to worry, I've still got space for anyone else that wants to sign on," Cameron said. "We don't want to keep anyone out."
The fair will also have a second bar behind the main building to help with the crowds. Desert Diamond Distillery will have a free whiskey tasting for those over the age of 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.