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Sat, Aug. 24

$25,000 fireworks show to highlight July Fourth Extravaganza

You can always park in a shopping center across Interstate 40 from the Mohave County Fairgrounds and watch fireworks on the cheap, but to save $5, you’re missing out on a carload of fun at the July Fourth Extravaganza starting at noon.

Like the ladies’ frying pan toss where women will be hurling 8-inch cast iron skillets for accuracy and distance. Drunken husbands are optional as targets, joked Tim Woods, general manager of Mohave County Fair Association.

There’s a horseshoe tournament and barbecue cook-off, Fourth of July staples in Oklahoma where Woods was raised. Other fun events include a cornhole tournament, Kingman Fire Department tug-of-war, water slides, dunking booths, watermelon-eating contest, games for the children and beer garden for the adults, all for $5 a carload (contest entry fees and water slide wristbands are an additional $5).

“Everybody paid $3 to park last year for half an hour and then they leave,” the fairgrounds manager said. “You pay $5 a carload to get in like you did at the drive-in movies, and just have fun. You’re going to get dirty and sweaty if you’re tossing horseshoes or playing cornhole.”

Chillin’ on Beale Street is bringing 35-40 classic cars and trucks for display inside the Exposition Building, an opportunity for folks to take a break from the heat in an air-conditioned facility.

Fireworks are going off between 9:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., said Keith Eaton, assistant chief of Kingman Fire Department, which is overseeing the pyrotechnics. It’s going to be a great show, Eaton promised, with $25,000 in fireworks to be launched into the dark desert sky.

Woods wants to turn the Fourth of July celebration into what it was 100 years ago in Kingman. About 10,000 people looked at photos he posted on Facebook of celebrations from the 1890s and early 1900s.

“They had a parade and horse races and foot races. The Hualapai Indians came down in their wagons all decorated. They had a rock-drilling contest … just getting more history into the Fourth of July here,” Woods said.

Stockton Hill Feed will have an area for teaching people how to rope, he added.

Not only will people have fun at the July Fourth Extravaganza, they’ll witness the progress Woods has made since taking over as general manager of the Mohave County Fairgrounds in October. He’s cleaned up the landscaping, just finished painting the outside of the Exposition Building and spent the last week fixing up portable ticket booths with insulation, sheetrock and air conditioning.

“That’s just for the comfort of the Soroptimist ladies, so they’re not baking like a turkey,” Woods said of volunteers who staff the booth. “You can’t ask somebody to just sit in there and swelter.”

Big Nick’s and Hooch’s and possibly one other barbecue business will set up at the event, along with snow cones and various other snacks, but Woods said he didn’t want all the vendors that show up at the Mohave County Fair.

“This is a Fourth of July celebration. It’s not a big shopping mall,” he said.

Attendance is expected to be 700 to 1,000, and anyone who pays to attend Cerbat Motosports’ Tuff Trucks, motocross and scramble races at the fairgrounds are admitted to the extravaganza for free.

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