The Park Record editorial, August 11-13, 2010 | ParkRecord.com

The Park Record editorial, August 11-13, 2010

Get reacquainted with the fair

The East and West sides of Summit County couldn’t be more different.

With an economy driven by tourism, the Park City area has become a glitzy destination resort. Eastern Summit County between Kamas and Coalville, however, is a more rural place where longtime ranches are still in operation and kids participate in 4-H and rodeo clubs.

Unfortunately, though, that cultural divide has caused some rifts between East- and Westsiders that county officials are hoping to overcome

Their efforts have culminated this year with a push to expand the reach of the Summit County Fair, which is currently underway in Coalville. Fair supporters were at the Park Silly Sunday Market recently urging Westsiders to not miss their chance to catch a glimpse of life in the Wild West.

And County Courthouse officials were astonished when someone from the Park City area asked if the fair was new this year. It’s funny because the event celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009.

Some on the East Side might say Parkites aren’t interested in agriculture and ranch life. But we disagree.

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Fair officials just need to do a better job reaching out to all sides of the county. We commend this year’s organizers for inviting artists and musicians from the West Side to participate, but believe more could be done to promote the fair in the Park City area.

Taxpayers on the West Side pony up lots of money each year to help fund the fair and they should feel as welcome to participate in the festivities as those from the East Side’s most prominent pioneer families.

The fair ends Saturday and events this week include professional rodeos, fireworks presentations, a pie-baking contest and a parade along Coalville’s Main Street. Most of the events are free and provide urbanites from the West Side a chance to meet cowboys and view blue-ribbon livestock.

But attendance at the fair is often meager and the event must evolve if organizers expect to draw bigger crowds. With Summit County Manager Bob Jasper considering moving the fair to a new location, we urge fair organizers to break from some traditions and push to modernize the annual event.

In the Park City area, event organizers have found success promoting sustainability and outdoor recreation. Perhaps organizers could augment the rodeo and motorized recreation events with some human-powered competitions. The home-arts exhibits could also be updated to highlight indigenous fruits and vegetables and the local farm-to-table movement.

The fair is a charming reminder of Summit County’s rural heritage and is a tradition worth preserving.

Visit summitcounty.org for a complete schedule of events slated at this year’s Summit County Fair.