A fair to remember
February 26, 2008
What remains of the Summit County Fair during these snow-blown months are a few signs on the streets of Coalville that stay put all year, hibernating uncovered, waiting to help traffic find its way to barrel racing, pole bending, dog shows, the rodeo and demolition derby in July.
But out of 29 county fairs across the state, last year’s annual event in Summit County was a fair to remember, according to the Utah Association of fairs and Events.
Last week, Summit County Fair organizers announced that the association honored the 2007 county fair two top prizes out of six categories in addition to other accolades at the association’s first annual awards ceremony Feb. 2 in Farmington. The Summit County event, which took place July 27 through Aug. 11, 2007, was awarded "Best Use of Fair Theme" for its theme, "A Treasure Chest of the County’s Best;" "New and Unique Contest or Activity" for the fair’s all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rodeo; honorable mention for "Best Fair Photograph;" and "Fair Worker of the Year" for Margaret Bowman’s long-term dedication.
A resident of Upton, Bowman began working in the fair’s horticultural booths in 1980. Year-round she busies herself on her farm, Bowman Bar-B which she works on with her son and confesses she remained unaware that she had won anything until she was presented with the award last week. "I had no idea," she says. "I was shocked."
Reflecting on her 27 years with the fair, Bowman’s memory of how she got involved remains a bit hazy. "I think someone just asked me to help out and I said yes," she recalls. "I’ve just continued to help with horticulture, going around judging flowers, and organizing the vegetables It’s grown so much here since I started. It’s quite an event."
Kellie Robinson, Summit County Fair coordinator, estimates at least 12,000 people attended last year’s fair. "It might be a little more than that, but since we don’t have any way of counting people we only charge for the derby and the rodeo and we have so many different entrances to our grounds," she says.
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Robinson entered the fair for all three awards, sending photos of the ATV rodeo and the Summit County Pageant, which integrated the theme by asking contestants to write an essay on the treasures of Summit County, and decorated the pageant stage with pirates’ booty.
Robinson describes Summit County’s fair board as one of the more organized committees in the county. "We’re always trying to think ahead," she says. Already, the board has chosen a theme for this year’s fair, "Summit County Fair: A Blue Ribbon Celebration," and has its sights on 2009, when the event turns 100.
To learn more about the 2008 Summit County Fair and to sign up for a booth, visit http://www.summitcounty.org/fair. Kellie Robinson can be reached directly at (435) 336-3221 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.