There are different ways to be part of a county fair, whether it is raising
animals for auction, baking a pie, making a quilt, taking pictures on a cellphone or performing with a choir or dance group. At the Maricopa County Fair, community members have the chance to showcase more traditional and modern ventures.
This year’s county fair will take place Wednesday, April 10, to Sunday, April 14.
The fair offers entertainment like a livestock show and auction, motorsports, carnival rides and games, multiple entertainment stages, a petting zoo
Karen Searle, executive director of the Maricopa County Fair, says event staff shows attendees where food comes in an immersive way.
The county fair dates back to t
During the fair’s livestock show and auction, children ages 9 to 19 years old will show animals they have raised, such as pigs, sheep, pygmy and dairy goats, chickens, rabbits
The livestock show is expected to have over 1,000 animals.
Searle says raising animals teaches young people important lessons they can use throughout their lives.
“When they are raising an animal that is going into the food chain, they learn responsibility,” Searle says. “They learn so much about business, and by that I mean the costs and expenses of raising a animal, how much the animals cost, how much time they have to put in. So, it’s not just responsibility for themselves, but it is
Some families have multiple children in the fair. Parents are often involved
in raising the livestock and showing at different events.
“Parents are driving them every weekend or transporting those animals. It is definitely a commitment by the family,” Searle says.
Each year, a select number of children take part in the Beef Exhibitor Outreach Project, in which they raise market steer for the first time. They are mentored by youth and by adults.
“They are taught proper ways to feed and proper ways to care for, groom, walk and show this 1,200-pound animal,” Searle says.
The children receive funding toward the cost of the steer and feed, which they pay back after their animals are sold at auction.
During the show, judges look at how well the children connect with and have raised their livestock and how well the animals fit market standards.
In the AZ Ag and Ewe section, locals can learn more about Arizona’s agriculture. The Farm Tours offer opportunities to interact with baby animals and get up close with farm equipment.
Community members participate in the fair in different ways. The county fair offers categories for traditional and modern hobbies, including the culinary arts, photography, horticulture, clothing design, quilting, cellphone photography
“Whether it’s something that people do for a hobby because they love it or even professionally, we welcome it all,” Searle says. “The talent that is in our community is extremely impressive. That’s why I encourage everybody to participate.”
On four stages, the fair will showcase local community acts such as dance troupes, bands, cloggers, belly dancers, a safety magic show, karate schools and choirs. Roaming performers such as a magician and balloon act will also entertain crowds.
This year, the fair will have new traveling exotic bird and western medicine shows, as well as Wild West gambling games.
The County Fair Stage offers a more immersive experience, where visitors can participate in old-fashioned activities such as hula hoop and bubble gum blowing contests.
Similar to previous years, the fair will offer monster trucks, freestyle motocross motorcycles and Demo Cross demolition figure 8/derby races throughout the weekend.
On Saturday, utility task vehicles will take part in a special race. During the fair, attendees can try foods such as flaming hot turkey legs, pizza, fried Twinkies or Oreos, corndogs, cotton candy, fry bread or lemonade.
There will be nostalgic and thrill rides, including a Ferris wheel and carousel, and carnival games for different skill levels.
The fair has special pricing for different groups throughout its five-day run.
Seniors 55 and older and anyone in uniform will receive free entry on Wednesday.
By bringing canned food goods to be donated to St. Mary’s Food Bank, festival-goers will receive $4 off admission on Thursday.
Students in kindergarten through sixth grade get free admission and four free rides on Thursday when they read four books. They must complete a Read to Ride form to participate.
Maricopa County Fair,
Arizona Exposition and State Fairgrounds
1826 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix,
maricopacountyfair.org, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, Thursday, April 11, and Sunday, April 14; and 10 a.m. to midnight, Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, $9 general admission, children under 8 free, parking is $10.