Let’s Be Fair!
It's slowly and sadly becoming a part of history now, and, to me, it's a real loss. The County Fair is becoming less a part of our activities and culture. Joyce Evans, who has been the director of the Iron County Fair for the last 14 years says she has heard “that there are a lot of fairs that are struggling.” Joyce joined us on the big Picture Morning Show as we broadcast from the Iron County Fair Grounds this week.
What may be happening in other areas doesn't seem to be the case here in Iron County. According to Evans, “this area, it's kind of a big deal, a celebration to the people, and they have a passion, they love it!” Agriculture continues to be a huge contributor to the success and growth of the Iron County Fair. Although only the Rodeo is a paid event, and therefore the only event where fair administration can get an idea of attendance, Evans says, “our attendance is getting bigger and bigger.”
While the pandemic did have an impact on fair operations across the country, one part of the Iron County Fair that actually expanded during COVID was the annual PRCA Rodeo. Evans indicated that because many rodeos shut down during the pandemic, that several participants made their way to Parowan to continue a quest for a national championship.
Evans did say that the amount of people entering exhibits at the county fair is declining. This is the final year that Evans will be directing the activities at the fair, but indicated she will likely continue to volunteer in the future.
Looking ahead, Susan Blackner will become the director of the Iron County Fair for next year. Blackner says the word tradition is what keeps coming up in discussion about the fair moving forward, but that embracing new things that come along will be necessary for growing the fair. When asked how she would get the “in front of the screen all the time” generation to come visit the fair, Blackner said, “I hope they will come out and breath the fresh air. Come out and see the beauty that's around us and see the fun and interact with the community.”
The Iron County Fair runs through Labor Day, with Rodeo action Friday and Saturday evening at 7pm and Monday afternoon at 2pm. The annual parade is set for Monday morning at 10. You can see a complete listing of all events here.
I have great hope that my grand kids and generations beyond them will still be able to get out and enjoy the great tradition of a county fair, no matter where they live. If they can't, it will seem like we have failed them, somehow.