For the first time, the U.S. Navy is visiting the Utah State Fair.

It is on scene with an F-18 flight simulator, the Destroyers Navy band and the SEAL Sky Diving Team.

The Navy also uses the event as a recruiting tool.

"This is the biggest recruiting event we have done in Utah," said Nick Coley, who works with the Navy recruiting office in West Valley City. "It is really to promote that we have a Navy."

Coley said he gets a lot of people who ask him about his uniform. He happily tells them about his white seaman uniform.

Perhaps the biggest draw for the event is the F-18 flight simulator. The ride is set up on the back of a semitrailer and allows riders to experience a ride in a Navy plane.

Simulation rides last about five minutes, and depending on the day, riders will experience either what it is like to fly in formation with the Blue Angels or what it is like to fly off of an aircraft carrier.

The blue box gyrates, going up and down and making turns. As people exited the simulator, some held their stomachs and let out a big sigh.

Others, however, were a little more enthusiastic.

Brothers Mark Macklyn, 11, Ryan Macklyn, 8, and their friend Matt Dyches, 10, all of Bountiful, came running down the steps with large smiles on their faces.

"It looked cool, so we wanted to go on it," Mark said.

All of them said they had butterflies in their stomachs but that it was cool to "be in a plane." They think it might be cool to be a pilot someday.

Scott Sargent and his son, Jeffery Sargent, of North Carolina, travel all over the country to set up the simulation.

Scott said the simulator averages about 100 riders an hour.

The SEAL Sky Diving Team made various entrances at the fair, also dropping in before the rodeo doing "pyrotechnic" jumps.

The Navy SEALS Explosive Ordnance Team divers were on site doing demonstrations in a 7,000-gallon tank. Curious children gathered around the "wet zone."

As part of Patriot Day Monday, a special patriotic remembrance will be held at 7 p.m. Afterward, Josh Gracin will join the Destroyers in concert.

All military and emergency services personnel with identification will be admitted free on Monday.

As part of 2 News Family Value Day on Monday, anyone under the age of 12 will be admitted for free and adults can attend for $6. Also, families can purchase one All-You-Can-Ride carnival wristband at regular price and receive a second wristband free.

For more information about the Utah State Fair, visit www.utahstatefair.com.


E-mail: blee@desnews.com