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Park County fair kicks off

New changes, old-time favorites mark annual Park County Fair

Groomed goats will get their moment in the limelight. Jars of jam await the judges’ taste buds. Carnival rides are rolling into town.

It all means one thing: the annual Park County Fair is here.

This year’s county fair, themed “Proud of our Past, Poised for the Future,” kicks off today (Tuesday) with free stage acts and pig mud wrestling, a perennial crowd favorite.

This year’s headliner act, country musician Tracy Lawrence, takes the stage Wednesday night at the Main Grandstand. A new event, Park County’s Got Talent, will spotlight local talent Thursday night (see related story).

Standby favorites return to the grandstands to round out the week’s festivities — Friday’s Figure 8 Races and Saturday’s Demolition Derby.

Fairgoers will notice some changes at the fairgrounds this year.

The Large Exhibit Hall was demolished this spring after officials reported it was structurally unsound. The building was closed to the public in January, and demolition followed several months later.

A concrete slab at the building’s site has been revamped as a fenced sitting area with umbrellas and tables where fairgoers can eat and socialize. Exhibits that were shown at the Large Exhibit Hall have been moved across the way to the Multi-purpose Room. Commercial exhibits previously housed in that building have been relocated to under the grandstands.

The Large Exhibit Hall formerly stood at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, where thousands of Japanese-Americans were housed during World War II. The Small Exhibit Hall and adjoining arts and crafts building, also relocated from the Heart Mountain camp, don’t appear to have any framing failures threatening safety. While those buildings are safe to stand for now, they will be torn down eventually. Plans are under way for a new multi-use building to replace the aging complex of exhibit halls.

A poster depicting the potential new facility will be displayed throughout this week’s fair — along with a box for people to submit ideas and comments on the tentative floor plan.

Following the resignation of fair manager Steve Scott last month, everything with this year’s fair is proceeding as planned, said Jennifer Lohrenz, fair office manager.

“We’re quite pleased with the progress,” she said Friday.

“The fair board has been wonderful in participating and contributing to what needs to be done,” Lohrenz added. She added that both the full-time and part-time staff members also have been wonderful to work with.

Tickets for all grandstand events are still available. Tickets can be purchased online at www.parkcountyfair.com or at the fair’s ticket office.

The annual fair parade, sponsored by the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce, rolls down Bent Street Saturday morning. The Kids’ Day Parade starts at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Park County Parade at 10 a.m.

Also on Saturday, local youth will sell their prized pigs, sheep, steers and other animals at the Junior Livestock Sale, beginning at 1 p.m.

Lohrenz encouraged families to watch this week’s various livestock shows and walk through the barns, adding that seeing the animals may inspire young children to participate in 4-H or FFA.

The numbers for entries and exhibitors are on par with last year, Lohrenz said.

This year’s fair features a total of 763 exhibitors from around Park County, and of those, 570 are youth under age 18.

Daily gate admission, beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday, is $5, and a week’s pass costs $10. Children 12 years and younger get in free.

The fair concludes Saturday night. A community worship service begins at 9 a.m. Sunday at the fairgrounds.

For more information, call the fair office at 754-5421 or visit www.parkcountyfair.com.

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