‘It’s part of our history’: Volunteers install new fences, gateways and signs at Iron County fairgrounds

PAROWAN — New fences, gates and signs, all made out of iron and steel, have recently been installed at the Iron County fairgrounds, just in time for the annual county fair.

Volunteers who helped install new signs at Iron County fairgrounds (L-R): Randy Wood, Hal Winterton, John Vincent, Marilyn Wood, Matt Wood, Jesse Wood and Paul Cozzens, Parowan, Utah, Aug. 13, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Iron County Commissioner Marilyn Wood, who helped bolt the new signs into place on Saturday, said the project was nearly one year in the making.

Wood said she had attended several Parowan City Council meetings last year as officials worked together on an agreement that would enable the county to ultimately take over ownership of the fairgrounds

The signage and fencing plans for the entryways were among the various improvements that were discussed, Wood said, adding that the upgrades represented “what we envision the fairgrounds to be and the things that we’re planning on doing if the transfer goes through.”

Other improvements include new bleachers in the rodeo grandstands, along with additional space for concessions and vendors.

“When we took it over from Parowan, all of us commissioners felt like we really needed to fix it up and let Parowan know that we were serious about taking it over and making it better,” Wood said.

One important aspect of the sign project, Wood noted, is that it was accomplished at virtually no cost to the county or its taxpayers, as all of the materials, supplies and labor were donated by volunteers, herself and several members of her family included.

Saturday morning, Wood joined her husband Matt Wood in securing the large girders onto the chains using 1-inch bolts, while fellow Iron County Commissioner Paul Cozzens operated the lift below.

Workers prepare to install new signs at Iron County Fairgrounds, Parowan, Utah, Aug. 13, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Two of the three signs that face 300 East on the fairground’s west entrances say “Iron County Fair,” but the northernmost one says “Old Paragoonah Road.”

Marilyn Wood noted that the driveway underneath the sign follows the path of the original road that linked Parowan and its neighboring town of Paragonah. The “Paragoonah” spelling on the sign is intentional, Wood said, noting that not only is that how the name of the town was originally spelled before one of the o’s was dropped, but also it also better reflects the correct pronunciation.

Wood said she is working on writing up a history of the old Paragoonah Road and the fairgrounds area, which will be placed on an informational marker near a pedestrian entrance on the west side.

The fourth and final marker to be installed Saturday was an “Iron County Fair” sign at the south entrance. For that last sign, Cozzens enlisted the help of his teenage daughter Brooklin, his adult son Brad and two of Brad’s young sons to go up with him on the lift and help attach the bolts.

“It’s part of our history,” Wood said. “These are going to be there for a long time.”

“That’s why Paul wanted to take his kids and grandkids up in that basket,” Wood said. “Every year when they come over to the fair, they’re going to say, ‘I went up there and put that sign up with my grandpa.’”

Iron County Commissioner Paul Cozzens and family members prepare to affix a new sign to a gate at the south entrance of Iron County Fairgrounds, Parowan, Utah, Aug. 13, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Altogether, a total of 742 volunteer man-hours were spent on the project, Wood said.

“We want to thank all the people who helped, because that was above and beyond,” she said. “A lot of those guys just put in a ton of work.”

After the basic idea for the entryway signs, gates and fences had been developed, Ron Larson drew up the design plans. Frank Nichols donated the vintage iron pipes, wheels and other metal pieces, with some of it coming from the old Iron Springs mine and the decades-old irrigation wheels coming from a parcel of farmland near Beryl.

Welding supplies were donated by DJB Gas Services and Matt’s Springs and Repair. John Vincent and Matt Wood did most of the cutting and welding work before the fencing sections were transported to Parowan, with Randy Wood doing most of the on-site welding to attach it all together. 

BZI Steel donated the steel beams for the signs and also provided the plasma cutter that was used to cut out the letters. Luke Schmid of Cozzens Cabinets handled the computer work needed to send the designs to the cutter. The metal tabs to attach the signs to the chains were cut by Kearney Wood, who is also planning to help Tyson Nelson make gates for the south entrance.

Also helping out on the project were county public works director Bruce Anderson, in addition to Justin Goodwin and others from the county road department.

“We hope that these upgrades will help make our fairgrounds nice and welcoming to visitors,” Marilyn Wood added.

This year’s Iron County Fair, which has the theme of “Light up the Sky,” starts Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 5. But while the fair is traditionally staged over Labor Day weekend, there are several other related events taking place throughout August. Events that already have happened include the Miss Iron County Pageant on Aug. 6 and the mud run and mud bog events last Saturday. Upcoming events include an ATV excursion, mini car races and a demolition derby on Saturday, and a trail ride and country music concert on Aug. 27. 

Sept. 2 will be the first of three nights that a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo will be staged, with a fireworks show capping off each evening. Folks can also enjoy carnival rides and viewing the many exhibits at the fairgrounds throughout Labor Day weekend.

The Iron County Fair will wrap up on Labor Day (Sept. 5) with a 5K walk and run starting at 8 a.m., with the races being followed by a festive parade up Parowan’s Main Street at 10 a.m. Those events will kick off a full day’s worth of activities. For a full schedule and other details, visit the fair’s page on Iron County’s website.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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