Some people got there by car. Others by bike or foot.
But Gov. Mike Leavitt arrived at the Utah State Fair at 3 p.m. Thursday by a bus painted black and white by the Utah Dairy Commission to curiously resemble a cow.The fair, the theme of which is "Get There Any Way You Can," officially opened when Leavitt hopped out of the bus, which stopped at 1000 West and North Temple, and opened the gate while the 23rd Army Band of the Utah Army National Guard played Sousa marches.
People from across the state swarmed the fairgrounds as soon as gates were opened. That's good for Tiffanie Sammons, spokeswoman for the fair, who said the organizers' goal is to increase attendance from last year's 330,000 to 350,000.
"It's just great family fun," said Sammons, who with other staff, have been working on the fair for nearly a year. "We've tried to make it very economical." Admission was free during the fair's first two hours.
Darrell and Wilma Tuttle of Ogden, while sitting on a bench waiting to meet 14 family members, said they try to go to the fair every year because they enjoy the sociability and various handicrafts.
"There's a lot here you can't find anywhere else," Wilma Tuttle said. "I like watching people, being with them."
The Utah State Fair is also somewhat of a tradition for exhibitor Tom Beimborn of Bradenton, Fla. He has been bringing his giant horse, steer and alligator to Utah for more than 15 years because he said the people here are so nice.
Beimborn goes to fairs around the country for five months out of the year because he said he likes the independence and local scenery.
Tonight's events at the Utah State Fair include:
3:30 p.m. Dutch oven with Kyle Matthewson (Lustre Craft Zion Building); Top Flight K-9's (Center Mall)
4 p.m. Cockatoo Circus (Family Fun Tent); Echo Mountain Cloggers (Gazebo)
4:30 p.m. Christopher Fair, magic show (Family Fun Tent); Mary Beth, country singer (W. Centennial Village Stage); Young Harmony, singing group (Super Target South Plaza Stage)
5 p.m. Kristeen Polhamus, piano (Pioneer Building); Four Peaks Dancers, Navajo dancing (E. Centennial Village Stage)
5:30 to 8 p.m. On Stage Productions, singing and dancing (Gazebo)
6 p.m. Washington Mutual celebrity look-a-like contest, registration at 5:30 p.m. (Meadow Gold Family Fun Tent); Barbershop Belles (Super Target South Plaza Stage); Intermountain Country Dance Association (N. Side Promontory Hall); Wildlife Resources, target shooting (Wildlife Building)
6:30 p.m. Fleischmann's Yeast Best-Ever bread competition (Lustre Craft Zion Building); Kate McLeod, folk music (Pioneer Building)
7 p.m. LaMont Martinez, Garth Brooks look-a-like (Family Fun Tent)
7:30 p.m. Cowboy Poets (Super Target South Plaza Stage)
8 p.m. Lee Fugal, musical comedy (Pioneer Building); Toby Keith, country singer (Pepsi Grandstand)
9 p.m. Gordon Bullen, juggling and magic (Family Fun Tent)