The Davis County Fair is a Family Affair

The Hansen family has worked, volunteered, and submitted entries to the fair over the past 20 years.

Dave Hansen is one of the few Legacy Events Center employees who regularly involve his family in helping at the Davis County Fair. Dave and his wife Marla have lived in Syracuse for most of their children’s lives and it seems the Fair has always been a part of it.

The whole Hansen family. Amber, Annie, Sydney, Marla, Sam, and Steve.

Before the fair begins, their two youngest children, Amber and Annie help paint, sort ribbons, and take in entries in the living arts category of the fair. “My kids have been indispensable.” He explained that not many children get to see their parents at work and he thinks that is very beneficial to his kids. “I also think it’s been a great blessing for them to get to interact with good people that we work with who have been kind to them.”

Amber and Annie holding Charlie their bunny.

Their youngest daughter Annie made it to 10 years old this year, a much anticipated year that qualifies her to volunteer in the Bunny Barn. She has seen her older sister Amber volunteer and she already knows she needs to “make sure people are being gentle with the bunnies and the bunnies are being nice to the people.” Marla said Amber and Annie have been looking forward to volunteering at the fair since the beginning of summer.

Two years ago, Amber was volunteering in the Bunny Barn for about 10 hours a day. “I really wanted a bunny,” she said. “I was close with one of the bunny barn workers so I asked her if she had any for sale without my dad really knowing.” Since the worker knew and trusted her, she gave her a baby Rex the worker had been raising from her home. “He was so little when we first got him.” They had to bring two of his siblings home with them because he was too little to be alone.

Amber taking care of Charlie while the public pets him during the Fair.

They named him Charlie and he has grown up to be, as Dave describes him, “A cute, big, fat, mellow rabbit.” They enter him into the fair to be the rabbit that everyone gets to pet, so if you want to pet Charlie, look for Amber and Annie in the Bunny Barn this year.

The Hansen’s two older children have moved on to other endeavors. Sam who is 18 is selling solar in Hawaii and Sydney who is 20 is serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Calgary, Canada. Marla said it’s been neat seeing their two youngest girls experience the same things their two older ones did when they were younger: Kettle corn, the rodeo, volunteering, and concerts.

“From the time I started here, Sydney was just a year old,” said Dave. “We really tried to gear the fair towards kids’ activities and kids entertainment because that brings the whole family in.”

Their daughter Amber really enjoys photography and enters some of her images into the fair each year. “It’s been a really fun hobby for her and she’s getting to where she does really well,” said Dave. Amber explained she started teaching herself how to take photos on her iPhone but now she shoots on a Canon. “When we go on vacation I just like taking pictures of everything.” If you want to see more of her work, you can find her on Instagram at @amberslifephotos.

Dave explained there are two main categories people can submit entries into the fair: livestock which includes the animals, and living arts which encompasses quite a bit including canning, crocheting, and even Lego sculptures which was Sam’s first entry in the fair. 

Fair Events

Dave is looking forward to the 2019 events at the Davis County Fair. “I’m surprised by how much interest there has been about the hot air balloon glow.” Hot air balloons will fill up at dusk but won’t take off. When they hit that flame burner that inflates the balloon, the whole balloon will light up.  “The colors in the fabric of the balloon are really intensified when this happens especially against the dark sky.” To accompany that, Polynesian dancers will be dancing and it’s right by the stage where there’s always some sort of performance happening. The event is free with admission on Thursday Aug. 15.

He also said he is expecting the GENTRI concert on Wednesday night to be a highlight. This gentlemen’s trio use their polished voices to create music that has a pleasantly flowing quality that any age can enjoy. Marla said they attended the BYU Vocal Point and Madilyn Paige concert last year and now Amber and Annie are fans of Madilyn Page.

Annie said a highlight for her is seeing the horses at the rodeos. Dave said the Rodeo on Friday and Saturday night usually sell out but he is guessing people can still get good seats if they get their tickets early in August.

They have also brought back the DockDogs diving competition that was really popular years ago. Dogs dive off a portable dock and compete to be the highest jumping, farthest leaping, or fastest retrieving. The event was at the fair two years in a row and the second year it got so big that people were spilling out into the rest of the fair trying to watch. Dave said it got bigger than the fair could handle but have since made changes to the layout and programing to make it all fit. “People go crazy about it. It gives people a chance to watch the dogs run down the ramp and jump as far as they can and some of those dogs get amazing distance. Every night it’s fun. Every time they perform there’s something fun to watch.”

Most of the volunteers for the Davis County Fair come from the general public. “Usually, someone knows someone who is willing to help, but we are open to volunteers!” said Dave.  If you call their office (801)451-4080, they can help you find the right place to volunteer based off your skills and interests. “If you are a crafty person, maybe you could be a judge, or help take the entries in.” There are opportunities to be door watchers at concerts, and help take care of the animals by cleaning up their living areas.

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