Xavier takes the Arizona State Fair

Friends smile at the State Fair

Lily Tierney '19

Friends smile at the State Fair

Lily Tierney, In Class Writer

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The Arizona State Fair runs in Phoenix from Oct. 5 through 28, located at W McDowell Rd and N 19th Ave. From rides and games to events, the state fair attracts thousands of people at each of their locations. It is notable for uniting young and old, while at the same time creating a memorable experience for people. Various amounts of food can be bought at the fair, including turkey legs and fried Oreos! Not only is the food popular, animals and livestock are also favored. For over a century, it has been a gathering place for people all over the state of Arizona. Many residents enjoy coming to experience the diversity of the community, to honor the past and traditions, to celebrate and explore, and to immerse oneself into a fun, amusement filled experience. Not only does the state fair tie to Arizona because it travels to Phoenix, but a local Xavier College Preparatory student’s family owns the fair.

Senior Carmela Palmieri has been working at the fair from a young age. Palmieri says, “Yes, I work at the fair! I’ve been working from a very young age in my parents 10 food stands.” Gaining experience from a young age, Palmieri moved up the ladder, “I now, am a manager for my parents, which consists of running the front counters/registers, making schedules for workers, and helping in our office after closing. Also, I help count money and balance the banks for the next day. I do this all year long and have a very busy schedule of school and work.” Palmieri dedicates a lot of her time to assisting at the fair, “On weekends during the school year, I usually fly out Fridays after school to wherever the fair is located and go to work for the weekend, then fly back Sunday nights.” Along with Palmieri giving a lot of her time to help out at the fair, her family has also done the same for years, including her mother and siblings.

The Arizona State fair, having been established by Harley Leavitt and Ray Cammack, has been advancing and growing due to the Palmieri family. Palmieri states, “In the early 60’s my grandpa’s dad, Harley Leavitt, sold his house for a merry-go-round. At about the same time, my grandma’s dad, Ray Cammack, sold his Chevy car dealership for bumper cars. These two pieces of equipment traveled around the west and middle east parts of the United States to small carnivals. As the carnival business grew, they both bought food stands and games to add to their businesses. In 1988, my great grandpas merged their carnivals together creating what is now known as RCS (Ray Cammack Shows). My mom and her five siblings were born into it and have grown up working at the fair, and my cousins and I are the fourth generation. The business has stayed in our family for all these years and my grandparents now own it. Everyone in our family has helped RCS grow into one of the most technologically advanced carnivals in the nation.” From merging flourishing carnivals to a huge family effort to grow out the business, the Arizona State fair was created and incorporated into the business. Ray Cammack Shows have grown and now travel to various cities, Palmieri expressed, “RCS travels to seven different cities in the west coast. Our year starts in Houston, Texas at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, from there traveling to Tucson, AZ, Del Mar, CA, Orange County, CA, Lancaster, CA, LA county Fair (in Pomona, CA), and then home to Arizona State Fair. So to sum it up, RCS travels to Texas, California, and Arizona.”

The Arizona State fair is known for many of its amazing aspects, but one of the more popular parts is the food. Palmieri states, “My favorite thing is the food!” After working at the state fair for years, Palmieri is accustomed to all the incredible food options. It gives Arizona an opportunity to showcase the different kinds of traditional, contemporary, and tasty foods! From funnel cakes to fried Oreos to turkey legs to corn dogs, there is more food than one can imagine! The food creates a unique experience for each guest, and no matter what the food is, the “food experience” will be remembered for a lifetime. The fair is so much more than the food, Palmieri voices, “The fair is fun-filled with over 70 rides, 70 games, and plenty of delicious food. We have everything from thrill seeking rides to ferris wheels, swings, slides and fun houses. Our games are a wide variety of typical carnival games, some challenging and others easy wins. The food will never fail to satisfy you. There is everything like cotton candy, snow cones, turkey legs, fried treats, ice cream and much more.” People are provided with an adrenaline rush on rides such as G-Force, Insanity, Mach 1, and Alien Abduction. Rides like La Grande Wheel allows guests to relax and view the city. The skyride gives guests an opportunity to see the whole fair from up above and feel the breezy October air. The residents of Arizona are given a memorable experience and the times of their lives!

The Arizona State fair contains a wide variety of animals and livestock. According to the AZ State Fair website, from Oct. 5-7, there is a beef display, rabbits, and sheep. On the 10-14, there are pigeons and boer goats. From the 17-21 there is poultry. For the last week, there is an educational small stock, dairy cattle, and dairy goats. There are livestock competitions, and anybody can compete in them.

For the duration of the fair, there are 13 different performers in concert at the Arizona State Fair! People such as Pitbull, performing Oct. 17, and Gary Allen who performed on October 5th.

The fairgrounds, which were established in 1905, is home to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Veterans Memorial Coliseum opened nearly 50 years ago, and has been visited by people like President Barack Obama, Elvis Presley, Cher, and Pope John Paul II.


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