Yuma Ag and You: Yuma County Fairgrounds History

Bobbi Stevenson-McDermott      April 12, 2015 publication

What a wonderful Fair week we had. Normally it is too hot, too windy, rainy or sometimes cold! This year Mother Nature cooperated and gave us warm days, cool nights and light breezes. In my archives I have many historical documents concerning Yuma County agriculture and local activities. Following is the story of the beginning of the Yuma County Fairgrounds.

On December 18, 1952, this article appeared in the Yuma Daily Sun.

Clearing operations were completed this week on the Yuma County fairgrounds on Highway 80 following days of work by volunteers. Hundreds of cubic feet of dirt were moved, a difference of three feet in elevation was levered on the ground –by men and equipment from farms and businesses from the Yuma area.

Next on the agenda will be the installation of a check gate and rye grass planting on 12 of the 20 acres set aside for the fair.

Preliminary work began early last week with the Soil Conservation Service furnishing the staking and surveying, assisted by Bill Power. Equipment and kitchen facilities were brought in Sunday and heavy work began Monday. A total of 12 rigs were working at one time on the leveling operations.

While the fair site was being leveled, a cesspool from the old CCC camp was uncovered and pipe leading to it from cement shower floors was traced down. The Yuma County Fair Commission plans to renovate these facilities and use them during the first fair to save the cost of new installations.

As very little money is available for the first fair, almost all work on leveling and planting will be donated. Tents will be used to house exhibits during the fair. Mainstay of the 1953 fair is expected to be the Junior Fair group which includes exhibits from 4-H, FFA and FHA organizations. However, exhibits will also be shown by local farmers, housewives and businessmen.

A county fair was proposed following a meeting of the Junior Fair Board and the Merchants Committee of the Chamber of Commerce last October. Board of supervisor members okayed use of part of a county-owned 80 acre tract for the fair.

Working at the fair site this week were Oliver Baldwin, Lloyd Ferguson, Gerald Putnam, R. F Aliries, E.O. Ballard, N. Phipps, G.L. Nunnaley, Jimmy Aguios, Fred Euhus, Billl Power, Bob McCreight and Al Face. Furnishing equipment were McLarens, Warner & Stewart, Steve Sturges, Walt Kamman, Howard Gites, John Howe, W. Trussell, and F. N. Collins.

The Braden Machinery Co. hauled a large amount of the equipment to the fair site. Bob Hodge, Don Westover and Buddy Stewart furnished fuel for the equipment while Central, Richards and L & P Markets furnished food. Abe Marcus set up a kitchen and cooked and served meals. A number of firms and individuals also helped during the clearing and leveling operations.

While many not recognize the names in this article, they are all farmers and agricultural businesses that served the Yuma community for many years. 63 years later, the agricultural community is still actively supporting our youth and the community working at the Yuma County Fair!