All Smiles

Ezra Fry in the ball pit at the 2018 San Pedro Valley Fair at St. David School. The 86th SPV Fair is set for Saturday.

ST. DAVID — In a celebration of heritage and culture it’s time Saturday for one of the valley’s beloved events.

While traditions run deep in the San Pedro Valley, nowhere is that more evident than in St. David, site of the 86th San Pedro Valley Fair.

The daylong fair has been a prelude for local Cochise County Fair entrants, while serving up a full menu of family oriented fun since its inception in 1933.

Exhibits, food, vendors, carnival games and fun will be the order of the day.

The School PTO organizes the carnival games and vendors while the high school’s Future Farmers of America and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America collaborate on the annual undertaking.

Think your garden-grown jalapeños, preserves or salsa are blue ribbon worthy? How about your poultry or rabbit or floriculture specimens? Ribbons will be awarded for homemaking, poultry and rabbits, hobbies and crafts, crops, floriculture and more.

The community is invited to bring exhibit entries between 8 and 10 a.m. with the fair and exhibits open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. While the fair and carnival end at 2 p.m., be sure to return to the school at 70 E. Patton St., for a family dance from 7 to 10 p.m.

The salsa making contest is set for 10:30 a.m., carnival games from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with concessions offered from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Most activities are centered in Kartchner Hall with the carnival games held in the adjacent courtyard. Poultry and rabbits exhibits are housed in the Marven Busby Ag Building, named for the longtime community member and ag teacher.

According to Ron Higgenbotham, longtime educator and community member, the fair became reality soon after Aug. 28, 1930, when St. David High School became a charter member of the Future Farmers of America when it was organized in Arizona. J. Leo Mortensen was the agriculture teacher and became the first FFA advisor, with Reuben Wilson as the first president.

Some fun and interesting tidbits about the fair through the years, according to a previously published account by Higgenbotham: “For many years, the fair was a huge and very important community event. The old timers say the tables in the old Kartchner Hall would be loaded with crops. In the early years, at the Fair Dance the FFA Sweetheart sat on a throne of bales of hay and was crowned by the FFA president with a circlet of fall foliage and vegetables. One year, the Benson newspaper reported that the Sweetheart candidates “have been competing in hog calling, cow milking, and calf judging” in preparation for the fair.

“A professional orchestra was hired for the dance, sometimes brought in from Tucson. One year it was the “Tucson Melodians” and another it was “Kings Swing Band.”

The fair receives attendance and participation from the neighboring communities that make up the valley, and event organizers are expecting the usual strong turnout.

“Don’t miss this opportunity to socialize, support your local school, and keep this fabulous tradition going strong,” event organizers said.

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