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Yuma County Fair ‘stirrups' some fun on opening day
The rides, games, the bands, the demolition derby, the petting zoo, the cinnamon rolls, the 4-H animals.
Yuma residents and visitors rattled off a lengthy list when asked for their fair favorites on Tuesday. Thousands turned out for the opening day of the 60th annual Yuma County Fair.
When the gates opened at 3 p.m., thousands of people walked into the fairgrounds, taking advantage of the dollar day admission and the beautiful weather.
Among the first-time attendees were the Hunts, a military family that recently moved into the area. Jerry, 8, and his little brother Ethan, 5, couldn't wait to get going as their mom, Hailee, got cash from an ATM.
Jerry was excited because he entered a drawing and a Lego creation, his mom said. He also looked forward to playing games.
“I want to pop balloons and win prizes and have fun throwing the darts,” Jerry said.
At the petting zoo, goats followed little kids with cups in their hands, hoping for a treat. One-year-old Anna Martinez tapped on a slumbering pig, trying unsuccessfully to rouse it from a nap.
“She loves animals,” her mom, Lacy Martinez, noted.
As if to prove it, Anna scrambled off to examine the other animals, touching and petting them gently.
Across the way, Julie and Daniel Gonzalez stood outside the pony ride ring, with 1-year-old Daniel Jr. in a stroller, as they photographed their smiling daughters.
Maricela Gonzalez, 2, insisted on riding a pony. “Since she was a very little, she has loved horses. She's best friends with them,” her mom said.
“They're so fun,” Julie's older daughter, Fayth Castello, 5, gushed after the ride.
The family oohed and aahed after the ride handler handed them the “official” fair photographs of the girls on the ponies.
For Sara Crowe, 25, it's all about the food. “The cinnamon rolls, the Indian fry bread, the kettle corn,” she said as she munched on a corn dog.
“I normally try to eat good, but at the fair, I eat not-so-healthy.”
Her friend, Paul Stanz, 30, prefers Rotary's tri-tips and sausages. “It's like a Yuma tradition, it's a fair tradition,” he said.
Other than the food, he couldn't wait for the demolition derby on Wednesday.
“Smashed-up cars going at it, it's a good time. You can't do it legally out there, so this is the next best thing,” Stanz said.
His fiancée, Kayla Olberg, 22, couldn't wait for the 4-H auction Saturday morning. It's something close to her heart as she used to show animals.
But the fair isn't just for young people, as George and Fran Whiteman pointed out. The Oregon winter visitors make sure to attend the fair every year. Fran looks forward to seeing the quilts and riding the Ferris wheel. George enjoys the exhibits.
Nearby in the Commercial Building, Mary Olea stood patiently in line for a cinnamon roll. She didn't mind the wait.
“It's a once-a-year thing and it's delicious,” she said.
In the meantime, fair manager Eric Wofford ran around from one spot to another, making sure everything was going smoothly. So far, there had been no surprises by early evening.
“We're still gearing up and ironing out the wrinkles, but everything's been good,” he said.
“It's a pretty nice crowd for the first day. It's pretty packed. The performers are getting great crowds. It's great weather. Everyone seems to be happy and having a great time. That's our goal.”
To those who haven't experienced the fair, Wofford invites them to join the diamond celebration and “stirrup” some fun.
“Come out and have a good time,” he said.
The fair will run through Sunday at the Yuma County Fairgrounds, 2520 E. 32nd St. Admission is $3 for kids ages 6-12 and $5 for 13 and older.
For more information and a calendar of events, go to www.yumafair.com or call 726-4420.
Mara Knaub can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.