FARMINGTON — Three-year-old Benjamin Philpot was up to his elbows in water, petting the stingrays at the Davis County Fair.
“I touched it,” Benjamin proclaimed to his mother, standing nearby. “They felt soft like a blanket.”
His older brother Fred Philpot, 5, didn’t stick his hand in the water, but instead watched the nine stingrays glide by in the 5-foot-by-20-foot open tank.
The exhibit is just one of many at this year’s county fair, which opened Wednesday.
The fair, free to the public, continues from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Saturday at the Legacy Events Center, 151 S. 1100 West, Farmington.
Bountiful resident Audrey Philpot said she brought her kids to the fair to see the Stingray Encounter exhibit.
“I think it is fantastic that they bring in something other than livestock,” said Aubrey, a regular fair attendee since moving to Davis County a few years ago.
She explained, not wanting to offend livestock owners, there is nothing wrong with children being able to experience seeing livestock up close.
Others who took in the traveling stingray exhibit included Carsen Dopp, 12, of South Ogden, and brothers Carter and Barret Coleman, respectively 12 and 8 years old, of Clinton.
“(The stingrays) had like this weird slime on them,” Carter said.
Another fair attraction that drew crowds on opening day was the free pony rides, where a continuous line of 60 children gathered.
Based on the crowds, about 150 pony rides were provided each hour, said Steve Ivie, owner of Utah Pony Parties & Rides of West Valley.
“Everybody just loves to ride our horses,” said Ivie, who had only a minute to talk between getting children on and off the ponies.
A large display of tractors, American Diving Dogs acts and 129 food and commercial vending booths are also at the fair this year.
“It is definitely up from last year. We added at least 20 booths,” said Davis County Fair Director Alli Barnes.
“It’s a great opening day,” she said Wednesday of the early crowds. “For my first fair, it went exceptionally well.”
Barnes was hired in June as the fair director, replacing former director Megan Hatch, who relocated to Southern California.
Because the Davis County Fair does not charge admission and there are several different ways to enter the fairgrounds, Barnes said, no gate count is available.