Utah County Fair wrap-up

Serve Daily - - EMPOWERING LIBERTY - By Karen L. Wil­loughby

About the only thing left from the Utah County Fair is its ex­cite­ment -- which has mor­phed into more of the same for the up­com­ing Utah State Fair -- and the 6,382 or more rib­bons hang­ing in barns, bed­rooms and kitchens across the val­ley.

It was a “some­thing for ev­ery­one” fair, with an­i­mals, arts-and-crafts, com­mer­cial ex­hibits, rides, shows and a va­ri­ety of “fair food.”

“There are a lot of pretty good ones [an­i­mals], good and healthy.” said Kelby Grill of Genoa when he was walk­ing through the hogs and sheep barn. He en­joys com­ing to the fair, he added, be­cause “I just like see­ing all the things peo­ple bring to­gether.”

Sunny weather made for good “fair days,” though at­ten­dance swelled for evening events, to per­haps 40-50,000 par­tic­i­pants, Mike Stans­field told Serve Daily. Stans­field is direc­tor of the Utah County Fair. The rodeo was free, in­clud­ing the fire­works that fol­lowed, but price didn’t seem to mat­ter for those in­ter­ested in the de­mo­li­tion derby Satur­day.

Other Utah County Fair events in­cluded an an­tique trac­tor show, mon­ster trucks, Miss Utah County pageant, taxi­dermy com­pe­ti­tion, mounted shoot­ing, horse show, dog show, tal­ent show, coun­try mu­sic show, LEGO ex­hibit, the Car­ni­val of Fun and more. All this was to show­case the skills and abil­i­ties of Utah County res­i­dents.

“My fam­ily has al­ways raised sheep,” said Kylee Olsen, 12. This was her fourth year to show sheep as her 4-H project as a mem­ber of the Le­land 4-H group in Span­ish Fork.

She likes sheep be­cause they are “su­per-in­tel­li­gent, fun, and once you will work with them, they be­come your best friends,” Olsen said. “The hard­est part is al­most win­ning.”

4-H teaches re­spon­si­bil­ity, said Mika Banks, 12 and a 4-year mem­ber of the Palmyra 4-H. “It also teaches us how to work on our own, and how to raise our own fam­ily,” con­tin­ued Banks, who showed a Sim­men­tal-An­gus steer sim­i­lar to one that took Re­serve Cham­pion hon­ors at the stock show in May.

The Re­serve Cham­pion sold for $7,700. She paid her dad $500 for the feed he had ad­vanced her, and most of the rest has gone into her col­lege fund, Banks said. Pay­ing for her steer’s feed is one of the ways she has learned re­spon­si­bil­ity; car­ing for the an­i­mal and train­ing it are oth­ers – all skills she will use when she has a fam­ily of her own, the pre­teen added.

Pi­geons, rab­bits, chicken hens and roost­ers, ducks, pigs and more also were on dis­play as 4-H projects for the Ju­nior Live­stock Show.

Half of the “Open Class Ex­hibits” was ded­i­cated to 4-H projects such as cloth­ing, other sewn items, jew­elry, var­i­ous art projects, pho­tog­ra­phy, cook­ing and more. On the other side of the cav­ernous space, be­yond an area set up for games for young­sters such as Bean Bag Toss, were the adult ex­hibits.

A wide as­sort­ment of quilts gave way to “special needs” art projects, each of

which car­ried a special pink rib­bon, pho­tog­ra­phy, plants – in­clud­ing one fully edged with flow­er­ing spi­ders that some­one must have wa­tered very care­fully for such full­ness – and then came the food.

Judg­ing was ob­vi­ously se­lec­tive. One jar of what looked to be per­fectly sized and placed peaches got a red rib­bon, while one next to it that wasn’t as well­sized and that had raggedy edges AND that wasn’t as evenly placed, earned a blue rib­bon. But an ob­server said she hasn’t canned peaches since she was 12, so might have for­got­ten what it takes to have blue-rib­bon peaches.

The Utah Farm Bureau cel­e­brates 100 years this year, pro­claimed one u-shaped ex­hibit space. “Food gets its start in the soil,” an­nounced one dis­play that fea­tured a cheese­burger with all the fixin’s to show how ev­ery­thing from the grain that makes into bread, the cheese that comes from cows – to say noth­ing of the beef it­self – pick­les, onions and condi­ments all rely on the soil.

The mes­sage was “So take care of the soil,” an­nounced the Timp-Nebo Soil Con­ser­va­tion District, whose dis­play area it was. But what this or­ga­ni­za­tion does, ac­cord­ing to the two farm­ers at­tend­ing the area, is to con­serve wa­ter.

Farm­ers con­serve wa­ter by care­fully not­ing how long it takes to ir­ri­gate one sec­tion and to move the ir­ri­ga­tion lines as needed to avoid wa­ter pud­dling in one area. They take care of the soil by ro­tat­ing crops. Al­falfa hay, for ex­am­ple, can be re­planted in the same field for up to seven years – though af­ter four or five years the crop starts to thin – be­fore corn needs to be sown in­stead, for three years, to build ni­tro­gen be­fore re­plant­ing al­falfa.

In the mid­dle of the Open Class Ex­hibit Hall was an iron bed­stead topped with an in­tri­cate “fam­ily re­union” quilt. It earned a “best of show” in its class. Next to it was an ap­par­ently hand-built mo­tor­cy­cle that like­wise wore a pur­ple “best of show” rib­bon. Peo­ple gath­ered around -- “gawk­ing” might not be a wrong word -- at the crafts­man­ship, time and ef­fort each took. Join­ing the adult and 4-H ex­hibits area was a long ta­ble on one side of which were adult en­tries of vegeta­bles that prob­a­bly were splen­did when rib­bon win­ners were cho­sen, but by the Utah County Fair’s last day, had wilted in the weather. On the other side of the ta­ble were 4-H ver­sions of the same vegeta­bles.

Next to it was an ap­par­ently hand-built mo­tor­cy­cle that like­wise wore a pur­ple “best of show” rib­bon. Peo­ple gath­ered around -- “gawk­ing” might not be a wrong word -- at the crafts­man­ship, time and ef­fort each took.

“I’ve been to big­ger fairs,” said Bette Mosley of Springville. “But this one I like best. This one is fam­ily.”

This year’s Utah County Fair at­ten­dance was “the big­gest es­ti­mated at­ten­dance since I’ve been in­volved in the fair,” Stans­field said. Next: the Utah State Fair is set for Sept. 7-17 in Salt Lake City.

Rachel Poulsen’s sketch of a young boy earned a blue rib­bon and an­other that said it qual­i­fied for the State Fair. Photo: Karen Wil­loughby

Photo: Karen Wil­loughby

The “Fam­ily Re­union” quilt on this bed earned a “Best of Show” in its class.

This hand- crafted mo­tor­cy­cle earned a “Best of Show” in its class. Photo: Karen Wil­loughby

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