The Park Record editorial, July 18-20, 2012 |

The Park Record editorial, July 18-20, 2012

County fair needs an upgrade, but not a change of venue

There is a charming tradition on the East Side of the county that was born out of practicality and persists as a cherished tradition.

To ensure there are enough parade floats (and plenty of spectators to view them), the small towns in North and South Summit take turns hosting each of the major summer holidays. Oakley throws a big Fourth of July bash, Kamas concentrates on celebrating Pioneer Day, Coalville schedules a week chock full of events surrounding the county fair in August, and the town of Francis becomes the center of attention on Labor Day.

The beauty of this progressive summer party is that each town has an opportunity to shine and residents have an excuse to visit long-lost relatives who have moved to other parts of the county. It also serves to spread the wealth, literally, to each town’s business district.

But this simple tradition may be in jeopardy. Summit County is contemplating moving and/or expanding the fairgrounds.

But before those discussions get too far along, we want to vote for keeping the county fair in Coalville. Organizers admit fair attendance has dwindled and they are hoping to bring in a consultant to help find ways to update and energize what has become a slightly outdated event.

That is what is making us nervous. While we applaud the county for wanting to re-evaluate the fair’s program, we believe it should continue as a tribute to the county’s agricultural heritage. That is what makes it unique. Currently, as people become more interested in locally sourced foods and crafts, the fair’s livestock and home-arts offerings may come back into fashion on their own.

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The fairgrounds’ buildings and facilities could definitely use an upgrade, and at some point it may be necessary to find a nearby piece of property on which to offer more programs, but the fair belongs in Coalville among the verdant farms and ranches that once fed and clothed our county. And the intimate grounds are a nice match for the small crowds that do attend.

For those West Siders who haven’t experienced the fair, next month we suggest taking a stroll through time and attending the Summit County Fair just as it is and has been for generations.

In the meantime don’t forget about Kamas where this weekend’s Pioneer Day celebration will be in full force. You just might see some of your neighbors from around the county in the grandstand at the Demolition Derby or waving from the floats in the big parade.