Birthday cake? Where? To celebrate 125 years of local produce, livestock and lively entertainment, Mesa County Fair is throwing a party. So, come out and join the revelry Tuesday, July 17, for cake, fireworks and the Centennial Band kick-off. Music starts at 8 p.m., with fireworks at 9:15 p.m., weather permitting. Mesa County Fairgrounds gates open at 11 a.m. through Saturday, July 21."Being the 125th anniversary, we pulled out all the stops - more music, more attractions," event organizer Donna Page said. "It was a real opportunity to do a lot of cool things that we wouldn't do in other years. There's been more support this year to make this possible."There's an increase in interactive, fun events for the public that are free with general admission, Page added. New offerings include a Working Ranch Rodeo Friday, a 35-ton sand sculpture, free music at the Celebration Stage, a timeline banner showing the progression of the fair's history, a kayak pool, and an agricultural magic show to name a few.Classic events, like the 4-H/FFA livestock auction and sale Saturday, will remain top draws, Page said, along with fireworks and the Centennial Band Tuesday, an antique tractor pull Wednesday, world-class bull riders and mutton bustin' Thursday, a demolition derby Saturday, and carnival rides and food vendors every day.While the Mesa County Sheriff's office approved the fair's fireworks permit, Page noted that "if the weather isn't perfect, we don't do it."
According to Page, Mesa County Fair got its start as a peach festival in 1887."It then became 4-H livestock only," she said. "Then, county commissioners made it a fair for everyone a little more decade ago."Now, this local extravaganza features "everything that's Mesa County," Page added. From bull riders and mutton bustin' to 4-H exhibits, funnel cake and the wine contest, there's something for everyone at Mesa County Fairgrounds.Mesa County 4-H program associate Matt Katzenberger said this year's fair is an exciting time for 650 local kids exhibiting their year-long projects. There's more than 60 project areas, including livestock, veterinary sciences, gardening, bicycling, computers, electronics, robotics, model rockets, mechanical sciences, forestry, shooting sports, wildlife, cake decorating, an array of foods projects, and clothing construction."It's our opinion that we have a fair because of these projects and it's a huge part of the fair," Katzenberger said. "Visiting the fair can be an educational experience."Mesa County 4-H Council reporter Grace Gardner said fair goers "will find elaborate works and sculptures of wood, dazzling quilts flaunting every color under the sun, and simply wonderful pies, muffins, cakes, and all manner of veggies from artichokes to zucchini."Other items on display will include "breathtaking photographs of crashing waterfalls, flowers, spring lambs, you name it. There are also works of pencil, pastel, and paint depicting everything from dragons to children.""There's something for everyone here," Page said. "... It's quite a deal."As always, be sure to get to Mesa County Fairgrounds early. Organizers predict to host more than 55,000 people over five days.For a complete Mesa County Fair schedule with times, visit www.mesacountyfair.com/schedule.htm.