4-H, family fun, fireworks


* Fair admission is $6 a day for adults and $20 for the week. Children from ages 3-12 are $2 a day and $15 for the week.
* Thursday night’s popular bull riding show is $25 for adults and $18 for children ages 3-12. The price includes fair admission.
* Wine tasting tickets for the Friday night event are $20 at the gate and good for general admission to the fair.

There’s something for everybody and some fresh offerings this year at the Mesa County Fair.

The fair starts this morning and runs through Saturday night. For starters, tonight’s opening night fireworks will be preceded by a draft horse pull starting at 7:30 p.m. in the grandstands. Horses in harnesses will pull a stone or a weighted sled, competing against more than a dozen teams.

“A lot of the fireworks crowd probably have never seen anything like that,” said Jo Carole Haxel, manager of the Mesa County Fairgrounds.

Free daily entertainment will include the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack show with entertainers showcasing their lumberjack skills. Viewers will be delighted with ax throwing, underhand chopping, two-person crosscut sawing, chain-saw carving and log rolling.

“It’s supposed to be really lively and fun,” Haxel said.

Sloppy eating contests will be featured almost every day, with participants chowing down on Enstrom’s ice cream, Raise N’ Glaze doughnuts and Domino’s Pizza.

For the past five years, the fair has sponsored a winemaking competition, but this year on Friday night, fairgoers can purchase tickets to taste 20 to 30 local wines that have earned the highest marks from a panel of judges.

There will be a simultaneous classic car show, called “It’s a Fun Ride.”

“Mesa County produces 80 percent of the state’s wines,” Haxel said. “We kept doing our wine competition, but it’s off-site. This year we decided to bridge that gap.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be the annual county fair without the scores of livestock and youth showing off the well-groomed animals they’ve been raising all year.

“Obviously we kind of consider the heart of the fair to be our 4-H animal shows. Every little kid in America wants to see the pigs and sheep and goats,” Haxel said. “We just do all the other entertainment to attract people to the fair.”

Musical lineups feature The Williams Brothers Band tonight, Western Underground on Wednesday night, LED Stetson Band on Thursday night, David Starr Band on Friday night and Restless Heart Band on Saturday night.

Brown’s Carnival, with rides and games, offers safe rides, and employees are drug-tested, Haxel said.

The carnival helps to pay for the musical entertainment, something that the fair couldn’t offer for free under its admission prices.

“This is one carnival that parents don’t have to feel nervous about putting their kids on the rides,” Haxel said.


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