Yavapai County Fair enters its 106th year in northern Arizona

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There’s fun coming for the whole family at the upcoming Yavapai County Fair, happening Thursday, Sept. 5 to Sunday, Sept. 8.

It’s the 106th year for the fair, said General Manager Rosie Darby. Back when it began in 1913, it was known as the Northern Arizona State Fair, Darby said.

“When it began, families pulled in and they displayed what was fancy in their area. Other counties came in and did displays of their counties,” Darby said. “The whole northern state came in to Prescott to celebrate during that time.”

One thing the fair had back then that it doesn’t now was the Better Baby Contest, she said. It was the contest to win with the women coming out with their babies and local pediatricians judged them on their weight, size, appearance and development, Darby said. A “Best Baby” was crowned, she said.

You couldn’t pay her to do one of those contests these days, Darby said.


The county fair was when church communities really came out and the local handcrafts of the community were displayed, she said. That aspect hasn’t changed much and local crafts are still featured but with carnivals and commercialization have been added in, Darby said.

This year, along with small and large stock, the petting zoo and pony rides, photography, fine arts, black sheep and homemaking exhibits, the show tent, carnival rides and midway and vendors, the fair has a full schedule that includes a Ranch Rodeo Thursday, a Family Fun Night Friday, Sept. 6, Mounted Shooting and NFR Bull Riding Saturday, Sept. 7, Gymkhana Sunday and musical performances every day.

“We try to highlight the agriculture of our area and what’s there,” said Yavapai County Fair General Manager Rosie Darby. “There’s not much you can’t get here except for a demolition derby.”

Admission to the Yavapai County Fair is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and free for children and students Thursday and Friday and $6 for adults and seniors, $4 for students and free for children 5 and younger Saturday and Sunday. The Family Fun Night on Friday is free and all of the concerts, activities and petting zoo are included with admission, Darby said. Musical acts set to perform this year are Five in the Wheel, Ash Black, the Doo-Wah Riders, the Right Scepter Band and Ned LeDoux

Carnival prices are $1 for one ticket and $35 for an all-day wristband.

Further, there’s a farm experience room where the kids can play and be farmers and each one of the exhibit rooms has something for the kids to do, such as watching a live bee colony in action between glass, Darby said.

“I can sit and watch it forever, it’s so cool,” she said. “You can see the queen, you can see them going around there.”

Also in the exhibit rooms are a composting activity, a photography activity, where kids are shown how to judge pictures and get to be a people’s choice judge and a home economics activity with a little craft fair, she said.

It wouldn’t be a fair without animals, Darby said. As such, the fair has a complete youth livestock division as well as the small and large stocks and open livestock, she said.

Putting the fair together is a full three week long endeavor, Darby said. However, it’s all in celebration of the positive and the product of the county, she said, noting that family, culture and heritage are important to her.

The Yavapai County Fair, 850 Rodeo Drive, opens at 9 a.m. every day. The carnival opens at 4 p.m. Thursday, 1 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.

For more information about the Yavapai County Fair, visit www.yavapaifair.com.

Jason Wheeler follow him on Twitter @PrescottWheels, reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037.