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Stage set for county fair

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Rope-swingin' cowboys, crafts, demolition derbys, pigs, cows, old-time fiddlers, rabbits, chickens, cotton candy, snow cones, fireworks, Dutch ovens, sheep . . .

Must be fair time.

The Salt Lake County fair runs Wednesday through Saturday, and officials are touting two major additions: the newly completed, air-conditioned, 81,000-square-foot special events center, which will house commercial exhibits, arts, crafts and food stalls, and the Great American Wild West Show, a 90-minute Western variety show on the order of Buffalo Bill's touring shows of yore.

"The grown-ups love the memories (and) the kids love the beautiful animals, the excitement and noise," said show producer Don Endsley. (Seems to us if you're a grown-up old enough to remember Buffalo Bill's shows first-hand, you ought to be a fair exhibit yourself.)

The shows, which take place in the equestrian arena Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m., feature impersonators of Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp and others performing various stunts with guns, ropes, horses and steers.

The events center was under construction during last year's fair, the first time it was held at the South Jordan Equestrian Park after more than six decades in Murray. Now that the center is finished, county officials say, the fair has fully completed its move and is ready for the future.

"This new facility accommodates the growth generated by the fair," County Commissioner Brent Overson said. "We believe the residents of Salt Lake County will be pleasantly surprised (at) how the new events center adapts to this major annual event."

There will be a midway, of course, the "City of Fun Carnival" and entertainment on two stages as well as the arena. The Miss Salt Lake County Fair Pageant will be Wednesday at 7 p.m., and fireworks will close out each evening.

The Salt Lake County fair is the largest county fair in the state, with more than 50,000 visitors each year.

The fairgrounds are at 11400 S. 2200 West, South Jordan. For more information, check out www.slcoevents.com. Fair programs are also available at various locations throughout the county.

E-mail: alan@desnews.com