Parowan UT – Vermillion Castle and County Fair

Iron County Fair, Parowan, Utah Vermillion Castles in First Left Hand Canyon (Yankee Meadows Road), Parowan, Utah

We learned the "Vermillion Castles"

are not man-made

Yankee Meadows Reservoir in Parowan Canyon, Parowan, Utah

Yankee Meadows Reservoir in Parowan Canyon

Yankee Meadows Reservoir in Parowan Canyon, Parowan, Utah

A split rail fence lines the reservoir

Yankee Meadows Reservoir in Parowan Canyon, Parowan, Utah

One couple we met ate fresh-caught trout every night

Second Left Hand Canyon, Parowan, Utah

Our epic ride up 2nd Left Hand Rd was challenging

Second Left Hand Canyon, Parowan, Utah

Finally, we made it to the top

Rides at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

The Iron County Fair had something for everyone

More rides at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

Lots of thrills for young and old

Crafts on display at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Musical performance at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Clowns at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Petting Zoo at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Rodeo Queens at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

Mark discovered the Rodeo Royalty

Old folks playing horse shoes at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah is fun for everyone Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah tractor show Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah tractor show Tractor show at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah Kids get fun rides at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

Nearby, the youngest crowd got to test the

driver's seat for the first time

Antique car show at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

The older "kids" showed off the muscle cars of their youth

Tractor show at Iron Country Fair, Parowan, Utah

Parowan, Utah: A Vermillion Castle and County Fair

August 26 - September 5, 2008 - After

visiting Kanab and Alton, UT, on the

eastern side of the mountains, we made the

heart-stopping climb and descent into Cedar

City and went on up the interstate to

Parowan.  We had heard there was great

boondocking somewhere in Parowan

Canyon but I couldn't figure out quite where

it was on the map.  We stopped in the

Visitors Center to get some help, and

discovered the town was hosting the fun-

filled Iron County Fair over Labor Day

weekend in just a few days.  Whie I was busy studying the maps and local photos of the

canyon to get my bearings, I barely noticed Mark saying, "Hey, there's a 5K race on Labor

Day.  Wanna do it?!"  I must have muttered something that sounded like agreement,

because the next thing I knew Mark had filled out the race forms and was reaching in his

wallet for the entry fee.

Part of my confusion about the

Parowan Canyon roads was that I

thought the "Vermillion Castle"

landmark would be a building -- a real castle!  Instead, it was a series of

red rock spires.  Also, we soon learned that although everyone in the

area knew exactly where Second Left Hand Road was located, there

was no road sign to help visitors find its tree limb-shrouded entrance.

We camped at

the top of the

canyon in a

scenic meadow

surrounded by

mountains.

One day we got the crazy idea to ride our bikes down 3,000 feet

into Parowan on paved First Left Hand Road and then climb back

up on the gravel 4x4 Second Left Hand Road.  The mere 16 miles

took us well over two hours, and we were pooped when we got to

the top.  I kept looking at my bike's odometer and telling myself, "3

mph is a very respectable speed!"  The views of Yankee Meadows

Reservoir at the top were well worth the effort, and we heard from

several sources that the fishing in the reservoir was excellent.

The Iron County Fair was a classic small town fair, and we wished we

had our little granddaughters with us.  As the mayor said to us days later

when we met him walking down Main Street, "It is a little piece of

Americana."  Attendance was much higher than in past years, perhaps

because people were staying home to save gas money.  The rides were

packed, the kettle corn was delicious, and there were events and prizes

for everything imagineable.

There was live

music and a vast display of beautifully crafted artworks, from crocheted

booties, to finely made quilts, to an elegant wedding dress, to leggo pirate

ships built by the kids, to pies, jams and cookies of all types, to

photographs of everything under the sun.  Blue ribbons abounded, and

they were all well deserved.

As we wandered the

fairgrounds, we met all

kinds of characters.

We are learning to be a

little more brazen in

taking photographs of

the fun people we

meet, and Mark

captured the fair's clowns, both two-

legged and four-legged, while I captured

Mark basking in the glow of the Rodeo

princesses, queens and attendants.

The horseshoe championships were hotly contested, with

professionals stepping up to expert throws, and the area was filled

with smiling people of all ages.  The tractor display showed farm

equipment of all types from an earlier age.  Mark spotted one built

when he was born in 1954 while another fellow noted one

built in his birth year, 1939.  We had lunch with the tractor

drivers, learning a little about that hobby while we munched

pizza, and we got to know Red, Basil and Alden, each of

whom we had either seen around town in previous days or

spent time with in the weeks following the fair.

There was a long train for

the toddlers that snaked

endlessly around the

fairgrounds.  The kids

alternated between

grinning with delight and

frowning in concentration

as they turned their

steering wheels around

each corner.  There were

cries everywhere of

"Mommy, can I ride in that?"  Meanwhile, the dads were busy admiring the muscle

cars on display, hoods up, chrome polished, each restored with loving care.

The fair went on for

three days, and we

returned on Labor

Day itself to watch

the parade down

Main Street.  There

were floats, dance

teams, horses, fire

engines, the Rodeo

Royalty on

horseback, local

politicians and candy and toothbrushes

thrown into the crowd.  Parowan is the heart of Mormon Pioneer history, as it was the first

community settled, even before Salt Lake, and several floats made proud reference to

that heritage.

We left the fair contented and smiling.  It had been a perfect day and weekend, the best

Labor Day that either of us could remember.  And -- oh yes -- we each placed 2nd in our

age group in the running race, and paid the price with sore joints for a few days

afterwards!

We recovered from our race in Cedar City where we watched the Great American

Stampede Horse Parade (some pics and notes on our "What's It Like?" page), and then

we made our way on to Pioche, Nevada, which felt to us like the true heart of the Wild

Wild West.