By Marion Vendituoli
Sept. 9, 2020

In a unanimous vote, the Board of Supervisors denied permission for the Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo Association (SCCFRA) to hold a modified County Fair at the Sonoita Fairgrounds on September 19. Previously, the Board had voted two to one to approve the Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo, held Sept 5-7 at the Fairgrounds

The proposal for the County Fair submitted by SCCFRA included limiting the fair to one day and holding all activities outside. The event was to feature a farmers market, vendors, games, a corn hole tournament, three entertainment acts, and an outdoor movie at sunset. They estimated that 300 people would attend throughout the day, with no more than 75 people at one time. There would be no entry fees and no main gate for people to enter through, and all health protocols would have been followed, identical to those approved by the health department for the rodeo. The games, which included sack races, a pet parade, rubber duck fishing, water balloon toss, and egg and spoon races, would have been spaced apart and cleaned between contestants. 

When asked why the Supervisors denied the permit for the Fair, Bruce Bracker, Supervisor for District 3, which includes Sonoita, replied that they followed the recommendation of the County Health director, Jeff Terrell. “It was a unanimous decision to deny the fair because no Arizona counties approved their fairs,” Bracker said. “I think it was the right decision.” In fact, Graham County has scheduled a modified two-day fair October 9 – 10. Bracker also stated that there was concern because he thought the fair was an indoor event, even though the proposal stated that all activities would be held outside.   

From 2019 County Fair Junior Livestock Show & Sale.
Photo by: Marion Vendituoli

The Junior Livestock Show and Sale, usually held during the fair, will be taking place, with a modified show schedule to limit attendance and with an online, rather than live, auction. “We’re disappointed that we are not able to have the fair, but we are thankful that the kids will still be able to have their livestock show and sell their animals online. From the beginning, the board was committed to hosting the junior livestock show and sale,” Lacy Beyer, Fairgrounds Manager said. 

For more information on the Junior Livestock Show and auction, visit http://sonoitafairgrounds.com/fair or contact Dean Fish, Livestock Committee Chair, Champions for Youth Foundation at anchorf@gmail.com.