PHOENIX – The Arizona State Fair was open for less than an hour Friday when Dixie Saunders spilled a red drink on her white shirt.
But that didn’t ruin her day, and it didn’t keep her from looking at exhibits of orange and red papier-mâché bowls children made in hopes of winning a blue ribbon.
“We come every year,” Saunders said, heading toward the photography exhibits.
Not far away, Shannon Thomas watched her two teen-age daughters rocking back and forth atop an elephant. “It’s neat because you don’t get to see these things every day,” she said.
The fair features its usual mix of modern rides, A-list entertainment, games, deep-fried food and sugary treats, as well as home-spun contests that have kept people coming to the fair for generations.
Rosemary English has been traveling here from Aztec, N.M., for four years now to show her boer goats. She didn’t know how things would turn out when judges got around to assessing whether her goats have the straight legs, long groins and height of champions.
“You never know. One day you show first, the next day you get second,” she said.
People interested in less traditional animal exhibits visited the Paws & Claws zone, featuring attractions such as Welde’s Big Bear Show, which gives its audience an up-close look at grizzly bears and information about the animals.
Not as educational, but perhaps a little more fun, is the Banana Derby, in which Phillip Hendricks and his wife, Aneliya, saddle monkeys on dogs and let fairgoers watch them race.
When: Lasts through Nov. 2. Closed on Mondays
Where: State Fairgrounds, 19th Avenue and McDowell Road in Phoenix
Admission: Adults, $12; children (ages 5-13), $6; seniors (age 55 and older), $6; children under 5, free admission