The 25th annual edition of the Maricopa County Fair -- regarded by many as a cozier, countrier, cooler, marginally less hucksterish version of the Arizona State Fair -- continues through Sunday, April 16, at the fairgrounds, 19th Avenue and McDowell. Along with the inevitable carnival rides and games on the midway; the usual array of agriculture and livestock competitions and exhibits; and the pie-eating contest, some of this year's highlights include:
Native American Village: The new attraction presents storytelling by tribal elders, "Code Talkers," arts and crafts, and music, including a Pow-Wow Drum Contest and Blanket Dance on Saturday, April 15.
Farmers Market/Craft Show: A wide variety of area artists and craftspeople, including many from the Hispanic and Native American community, will display and sell their wares, alongside home-grown goodies from Valley farms.
Flip-itz: The latest cultlike products being marketed to the kids -- little three- and four-legged creatures called Flip-itz, with names like Limber Louie and QB Ruby -- are given away free to kids between the ages of 5 and 13.
Ron Nix's Stuntman Rodeo: Hollywood stunt specialists, men and women alike, compete with each other in this 11th annual event, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 15. Stunt honcho Nix's work has appeared in such films as Riders in the Storm, Natural Born Killers and Raising Arizona.
Jim Covarrubias: The well-known area painter, who created the fair's official art, will also host an art center at the fair with hands-on art activities available for kids, including competitions for scholarship awards.
Miss Maricopa County Pageant: Contestants in four categories -- talent, interview, swimwear and eveningwear -- compete for a four-year tuition waiver at Grand Canyon University, and, far more important, the chance to claw their way to the top in the Miss Arizona Scholarship Pageant in June.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, April 13; 9 a.m. to midnight Friday, April 14; the same hours Saturday, April 15; and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, April 16. Admission is $5, $3 for kids 6 to 12 years old, free to kids 5 and younger. For more information, call 602-252-0717.