The 2019 Yavapai County Fair: Where Family Comes Together

by Rosalee Darby, General Manager, Yavapai County Fair

The 2019 Yavapai County Fair, with the theme “Where Family Comes Together,” was held Sept. 5-8 at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds. Did you know, the Yavapai County Fair started in 1913 as the Northern Arizona State Fair? It has continued ever since, maintaining its status as one of the oldest county fairs in Arizona. The fair is held at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds, the same location where it began in 1913.

Since 1913, the fair has been, and still is, a place for residents of Yavapai County to exhibit original crafts, garden goods, recipes, photographs and animals they have proudly produced. I love the fair because it is really the only local place for all to celebrate and showcase their accomplishments.


Highlighting some of our amazing winners from this year’s fair, we’ll start with the quilts. Norma Kurr exhibited a quilt that took 10 years to complete. It was truly a product of perseverance and love. Norma began taking quilting classes more than 10 years ago, but her sewing machine broke. She started a new series of classes, as the classes she originally took ended before she finished the quilt. Finally, Norma turned to Georgia, who helped her finish the project. Patsy Franko did the quilting on her sewing machine to complete the project. Norma received a blue ribbon for her quilt as well as the Yavapai County Fair President Award. Congratulations, Norma.

A third-generation pecan pie recipe was featured in the Home Department. Ashley Lee is 12 years old, and has watched her mother, Melissa, make this pecan pie every holiday in their home. As a young girl, Melissa also watched her mother make this pie every holiday. This year, Ashley Lee and Melissa each entered a pie. “We didn’t want to make the same pie,” Melissa said, so she substituted Jack Daniels for the vanilla in her recipe.

Both pies tasted amazing and received several awards. Congratulations to the daughter-mom duo of Ashley and Melissa.

There were 120 more entries in Photography this year, which made for a very exciting department with many displays. The coveted People’s Choice Award was presented to Ryan Closson of Prescott for his photo of Crystal Mill in Colorado. Many congratulations, Ryan.

In the Floriculture Department, the Best of Show was awarded to Hilary Horton of Prescott. Hilary displayed her dahlia that she worked all year to grow to perfection. Congratulations, Hilary.

The Animal Exhibits

Of course, the fair would not be a fair without animals, including large and small stock. The Yavapai County Youth Livestock animals were exhibited, and many were offered in the auction, which took place Saturday evening. Not only do the Youth Livestock kids learn how to care for their animals, they also develop life skills in budgeting, time management and personal responsibility. Youth Livestock kids typically work eight to 12 months caring for and maintaining the animals and projects they enter.

Grand champion winners in the Youth Large livestock division this year:

  • Riley Solo with her Grand Champion Market Steer and Grand Champion Market Lamb.
  • Sophia Davidson with her Grand Champion Market Swine.
  • Danielle Davis with her Grand Champion Market Goat in the large livestock division.

Winners in the Small Stock Department:

  • Seth Shackleford with his pen of rabbits.
  • Piper Fults with her market turkey.
  • The Arena

Thursday was a working ranch horse competition, a ranch rodeo and ranch bronc riding. This is fun for all to watch as the ranch teams compete in a rodeo with events used daily on any ranch, showing off skills such as branding, sorting and gathering.

Friday evening was the Family Fun Night with lively races and activities for all who wanted to participate.

Saturday, the fourth and final event of the Mounted Shooting summer series took place. Later that evening, fans enjoyed the NFR Jr. Bull Riding event, which brought much excitement for all to watch.

Sunday saw the summer series final gymkhana, with prizes awarded for the best performances over four shows held in June, July, August and at the Fair.

On Stage

This year we had some of the best entertainment on the stage that we’ve ever had. The local 5th in a Wheel band played Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Saturday Night, the Doo Wah Riders opened up for recording artist Ned LeDoux, who packed the house with hundreds of local residents who showed up to enjoy a top-notch country music performer, as well as the other entertainment.

Mark your calendar now for next year’s Yavapai County Fair, which will be held Sept. 10-13. Start preparing your best crafts, recipes, photos, garden entry and animals to exhibit at the 2020 County Fair. No matter what you bring, we’ll find a category for you to enter.

Our 2020 County Fair committee has already begun planning for next year’s fair, with many new items in the works. If you have suggestions, or would like to be a part of the Yavapai County Fair, please email

Finally, thank you to all the residents who participated in this year’s County Fair, as well as all the many volunteers who worked long hours throughout the event. We couldn’t do it without you.