For thousands of 4-H youths, Future Farmers of America members, farmers, ranchers and backyard gardeners, the Utah State Fair Sept. 8-18 will be the culmination of months of effort.
Grade school children enrolled in neighborhood 4-H clubs are busy grooming their sheep and goats, farmers are hunting for the most uniform and most well formed vegetables to display and homemakers are polishing glass jars filled with fruit and jam.At the State Fairgrounds, workers are putting paint and whitewash on buildings and readying barns and stables.
The Utah State Fair, which traces its linage back to 1856 when fairs were first conducted by the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society, is not only a celebration of farming, ranching, gardening, and the preserving of food, but a showplace for craftsmanship and artistry.
Fair director Jackie Nokes says she expects more than 6,000 exhibits this year and about $85,000 in cash, in addition to a host of ribbons and trophies, will be presented to winners in a multitude of categories and divisions.
I can't think of any event in Utah that holds as much interest, excitement, or pure fun for the whole family than a state fair. City kids that know little or nothing about farm animals or where food and fiber comes from can get a good education during a short tour of the exhibit areas.
The Utah Legislature appropriated $3 million to renovate the fairgrounds and $500,000 in gifts and labor has been donated to improve the fair facilities. Most of state's funds will be spent between now and March 1989, when the fair refurbishing and reconstruction is expected to be completed, but there will be a great many new touches at this year's fair, Nokes said.
On Aug. 29, the fair will electrify its new lighting system, which includes 40 huge freeway lights that were moved to the fairgrounds recently. That show will start at about 8:45 p.m.
The Horticulture Building has been relighted and painted, the Crafts Building has been painted, the Pigeon and Rabbit buildings have been refurbished, as have four older horse barns.
The fence at the west side of the fairgrounds next to the Jordan River has been removed so fairgoers can walk along the Jordan River Parkway.
Nokes said street musicians will entertain throughout the fair along the river. And a remodeled fair gazebo and stage have been moved closer to the river. During reconstruction, a beautiful fountain that had been covered with earth was found and will decorate the fair this year.
One of the most colorful new features at this year's fair, Nokes said, will be 40 new barrel halves filled with flowers that have been placed strategically about the fairgrounds. "And the Utah State University Garden west of the administration building is spectacular, with gorgeous roses and many other flowers, a variety of vegetables and trees and shrubs."
One educational feature at the fair will be the workmen continuing to reconstruct and refurbish the Exhibit Building No. 1, which faces North Temple and which will be closed for this year's fair while construction is underway. Nokes said sidewalk superintendents can watch the workmen though windows in the building.
New building names will help people find various exhibits and will add some fun to the fair. Some of the names are Baa Baa Barn, the Bullpen, Milkers Way, Colt Corral, Pony Pavilion, Horse Haven, Stallion Stable, Billy Goat Gables and Pretty Great Birds.
Scott McKendrick of USU, acting 4-H state program leader, has some interpretive advice for fairgoers who may not understand all the language used by exhibiters and competitors.
"Running green means a horse that doesn't run straight; leppy is an orphaned calf and a bummer lamb is an orphaned baby sheep; grand champion is the top winner in an event and reserve champion is the second place winner; a male sheep is a buck or a ram, a female sheep is a ewe and a castrated sheep is a wether; the produce or product of dam is the offspring of a cow, which can include a baby calf, a yearling (year-old calf) and a two-year-old, and these compete against other products of dam; the get of sire is the same grouping, but from the male side of the family.
"A young horse can be a colt, a filt, a filly or a foal; a baby goat is a kid; and a young pig may be a shoat, piglet or farrow.
"When people who raise animals talk about groups of animals, they can say a sounder or a drift of swine or a herd or litter of pigs; a flock, herd or tribe of goats; a drove, a trace, a down or even a husk of hares; a brood of chicks; a string of racehorses; and a run of poultry."
McKendrick asks: "What do you have with seven female pigs and seven male sheep?" His answer: "Seven sows and bucks."
That sounds like a lot of money any way you look at it.