Utah County Fair wrap-up
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
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