Iron County Fair brings out a bountiful bricolage of carnies, crowds, cowboys

PAROWAN —There are carnival music, shouting carnies and the smell of kettle corn in the air at the Iron County Fair in Parowan. Carnival rides and games are crowded in at one end of the fairgrounds, with the arts fair and exhibits at the other.

A fair-goer jumps off the short jump at the Mobile Free Fall at the Iron County Fairgrounds, Parowan, Utah, Sept. 5, 2015 | Photo by Emily Hammer, St. George News
A fair-goer jumps off the short jump at the Mobile Free Fall at the Iron County Fairgrounds, Parowan, Utah, Sept. 5, 2015 | Photo by Emily Hammer, St. George News

There are classic rides, like the Ferris wheel and the carousel, and some less familiar offerings, such as that offered by Mobile Free Fall, where brave souls can climb 25 feet up and jump down onto a large inflatable. For the smaller kids, there’s a shorter, less daunting jump that’s still enough to conjure a smile.

Some of the workers are new to the carnival, like Ethan Balls, an employee with Mobile Free Fall who’s working his first year. Others, like Donnie Smith, a carnival employee working the games, have been on a bit longer. Smith joined the carnival circuit 16 years ago.

“My uncle was a carnie and made pretty good money, so I thought, ‘why not try it for a while?'” Smith said.

While traveling with the carnival, Smith has been all over the continent, including 48 states, as well as the Bahamas. He said he plans to keep up the job for a while.

Bill Tevlin has been driving the train he built for over 20 years, Parowan, Utah, Sept. 6, 2015 | Photo by Emily Hammer, St. George News
Bill Tevlin has been driving the train he built for over 20 years, Parowan, Utah, Sept. 6, 2015 | Photo by Emily Hammer, St. George News

“It pays the bills,” he said.

The arts fair has a rainbow of different things to offer from fish to cotton candy; hot tubs to knives; and, at one of the most popular booths, a sugar bear, a small marsupial about the size of a chipmunk.

Troy Baldwin, of Pocket Pets, has had sugar bears as pets for about three years after he and his wife saw them being sold at a mall.

Baldwin and his wife sell sugar bears at the fair, as well as letting fair attendees pet and hold one of the small animals. He said they’ve been to a couple other fairs and sell a few sugar bears each time.

To the delight of all aspiring conductors, a small train drives around the fair. The train is owned and driven by Bill Tevlin, who built it in 1993. He’s driven it at fairs in Utah, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, but because of health concerns, is now selling it.

A bull-rider at the rodeo, Iron County Fair, Parowan, Utah, Sept. 6, 2015 | Emily Hammer St. George News
A bull-rider at the rodeo, Iron County Fair, Parowan, Utah, Sept. 6, 2015 | Emily Hammer St. George News

The train’s selling price is set at $20,000, and a bounce house Tevlin also owns is going for $300.

“This is my last show,” Tevlin said about this week’s fair. “I quit.”

The day’s entertainment was sheltered from the wind in a large tent by the booths. Throughout the day, there were singers, bands and Off the Cuff, a Cedar City comedy improv group performing inside.

Later in the evening, the rodeo kicked off at 7 p.m. with Iron County royalty. After, there was bull riding and calf roping. Hundreds of spectators watched as cowboys and cowgirls tried their best to stay on bucking bulls or rope and tie up a calf.

The Iron County Fair continues until Monday night. The carnival and exhibits will be open Sunday afternoon from 4-10 p.m., along with an all-day tractor show. Monday night will be a full day of festivities, with a 5K in the morning, a parade, carnival, horseshoe tournament and bull wars. A full schedule of events can be found online.

Read more: Iron County Fair packs in good times

If you haven’t been to the fair yet, pack your family in the car and head down to Parowan for a fun-filled family-friendly time.

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News: ehammer@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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