Apache County Fair preparations

4-Hers will be making preparations for the Apache County Fair, which runs Wednesday through Saturday.

ST. JOHNS — For many in Apache County, fall doesn’t begin when pumpkin spice lattes go back on sale, or even when children go back to school. It starts with the sights, sounds, and smells of the county fair.

The Apache County Fair is celebrating its 77th year, with the theme of “This is Our County,” which celebrates the rich agricultural and artistic heritage of Apache County.

On Wednesday, September 4, the fair officially begins with an opening ceremony at 6 p.m., followed immediately by The Lakesiders Band up on the main stage at 6:15 p.m. Food vendors will be open and waiting to spoil attendees with culinary delights and sugary sweets.

Thursday, September 5 starts the competitions and events with 4-H and FFA judging all day, extending into Friday morning. The traditional lifeblood of Apache County is in farming and ranching, and the 4-H and FFA represents the next generation continuing that rich history. Youth from all over the county work hard to raise and groom their animals for show and sale, and fair competition is often a culmination of not just generations of knowledge, but months of hard work and responsibility. After the judging, there is a DJ dance party on the main stage at 6 p.m. and the first barrel race of the weekend in the Rodeo Arena at 7 p.m.

Friday continues the fun on the main stage with music, shows and fun contests, such as the Cutest Baby contest. There will be a rodeo at 5 p.m. in the Rodeo Arena, and the Mud Bog competition at 7 p.m. just north of the Rodeo Arena. Fireworks will light up the sky Friday night as attendees eat, play games, and ride the carnival rides late into the evening. Buildings will close at 9 p.m.

Saturday officially ends the fair, but not before another long day of great things to see and do, including the Mutt Show, a morning Mud Run, more barrel racing, and the ever-popular 4-H/FFA Livestock Sale at 12:30 p.m. The buildings shut down earlier, at 7:30 p.m., and the outside vendors pack up at 10 p.m., officially marking the close to another year. For more information about the full schedule of events, visit: http://www.apachecountyfair.org/schedule/.

Amber Shepard is an local journalist covering municipal governments and other Apache County topics.

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