SPANISH FORK — The Utah County Fair opens Wednesday at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds, its historic home.

Utah County officials in February moved the fair from Thanksgiving Point back to the fairgrounds at 475 S. Main after its contract with the Lehi venue ended.

Among the exhibitors are 4-H groups, which must turn their entries in on Monday, and the horticulture exhibitors, who face a Wednesday deadline. Exhibitors should get a premium fair book from the Utah State University agricultural extension office, 100 E. Center, Room 600, for details or call the office at 801-851-8463, horticultural agent Adrian Hinton said.

"All adults and youth who want to exhibit in the open class for fruit, vegetables and flowers should bring their things to the fairgrounds between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.," he said.

There's no charge for entries. Ribbons and small cash prizes will be awarded.

"We're hoping for 1,000 entries," Hinton said.

County officials have been negotiating a new agreement with Spanish Fork on the use of the fairgrounds.

The city and county agreement includes giving the city some 11 acres east of the fairgrounds that the county recently purchased in exchange for the county getting rights to hold the county fair there for the next half century and possibly beyond, City Councilman Wayne Anderson said.

Additionally, an equestrian center would be located at the fairgrounds, he said. The county would pitch in to cover operating expenses. The agreement is now in the comment stage, Anderson said.

A committee is expected to be named to master plan the newly acquired land.

In 1978, Utah County officials contributed $100,000 to the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds, which enabled the county to use the city-owned facility for 14 years without paying rent.

The county fair left Spanish Fork in 1998 and moved to then-Utah Valley State College. In 2001 the contract went to Thanksgiving Point. The fair was canceled in 1989 and 1993.

To build attendance in 2004, opening night was free and attracted 15,100 people. The next year the entrance fee was $1 and opening night brought in 7,600.

In 1991, the Provo-Orem Chamber of Commerce took over the fair but opted out after it was unsuccessful.


E-mail: rodger@desnews.com