If you want to understand the values that define a rural area in America, you need to know its people and their heritage, and nothing provides a better stage for a display of fundamental country values than a good old fashioned county fair. There is an extra benefit to attending a traditional county fair: You’ll have the time of your life.
The 60th annual Archuleta County Fair takes place Aug. 4-7. This community event is a highlight at the end of the summer season, providing entertainment and education for everyone who participates and attends. Fair days are full of entertainment, games, exhibits and demonstrations; with gates opening early and closing late you will have plenty of opportunity to come out and visit and maybe even participate in our many events this year. Events this year will be including some new such as a Skateboarding competition, a boxing demonstration, and some traditional such as Parelli Horsemanship demonstration and the Western Rodeo. We also offer a great petting zoo so your young ones can be “up close and personal” with many of livestock they usually only get to see by the side of the road.
This year’s fair begins with the display and judging of some our county’s best quilters. This event starts Saturday July 31, with quilt entries being accepted from 8 a.m. to noon at the fairgrounds, CSU Extension Building located at 344 U.S. 84. Judging will begin promptly at 1 p.m. Anyone interested in entering may contact the extension office. These beautiful and finely crafted quilts will be on display during the fair in the exhibition hall beginning the next Friday, Aug. 5.
All Open Class entries for the fair will need to be brought to the fairgrounds, CSU Extension Building by Wednesday, Aug. 3, from 1 to 8 p.m.. All perishable items will need to be brought Thursday, Aug. 4, between 7:30 and 9 a.m. Please be sure to have your forms and display ready to be placed for judging.
Thursday, Aug. 4, is the day to see some of the smartest and most talented dogs our county has to offer. Many of our local 4-H members have been training and getting their favorite “Best Friend” ready to jump, race and climb through the Dog Agility course. This event will begin at 2 p.m. in the large Activity tent. This day also offers the unique talents of the Parelli Natural Horseman exhibition which will be held in the rodeo arena beginning at 5 p.m. This is truly an exhibition you don’t want to miss. Parelli will also perform Friday at the same time in case you can’t make it Thursday.
Friday, Aug. 5, is the beginning of a great weekend of fun and sun at the fairgrounds. The Livestock Tent, education tents and the Exhibit Hall will be open at 9 a.m. for the public to come and help celebrate all this year’s ribbon winners. The Exhibit Hall showcases some of the finest crops, canning, cooking, wine and beer making as well as many fine arts and crafts. Come and view the talents and skills demonstrated by many of our fine residents. The day’s events in the Livestock Tent begin at 8 a.m. with the swine show continuing through the day with the rabbit show and poultry judging. Kid’s events getting started at 10:30 a.m. with a Hula Hooping contest. Other Kid events through day include, Needle in the Hay Stack, Egg Toss and Bobbing for Apples. This year’s new event will showcase some of Archuleta County’s most daring athletes as they show off their talents in Skate Boarding demonstrations beginning at 10 a.m. We also have the first ever Monte Lane Boxing matches and exhibition beginning at 3 p.m. in the large Activity Tent. If you want that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase your musical ability, the Texaco Country Show Hour is just for you. The competition for this event begins at 5 p.m.. in the large Activity Tent with winners receiving a chance to compete with other talented people in the state. Many of our past participants have gone on to bigger and better things. )Check out Andy Hackbarth’s website.) Finish off the day with the live music from our very own high school musical group, Bixby. They will perform in the Activity Tent 8-11 p.m. Don’t forget we also have great information and demonstrations all day, and all weekend long, at the Education Tent. And the ever popular Beer Garden will be open for business!
Saturday is jam-packed with events. The Livestock Tent begins its busy day at 8 a.m. with the lamb show and action continues through the day with the Master Showman competition and the ever popular Livestock Auction beginning at 6 p.m. The Junior Livestock Sale is the culmination of lots of hard work by 4-H members, and serves to link Archuleta County with its roots, providing support to the 4-H youngsters who have worked hard and dedicated themselves to their projects. Come out and see, and maybe even bid on, some the finest livestock Archuleta County has to offer. Dust off those old horseshoes and join in the fun of the Horseshoe Tournament beginning at 9 a.m. Watch some of the best cowboys and girls in the area at the Ranch Rodeo beginning at noon. Kid’s games will continue from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.. The Skateboarding Competition is open to the public and the contest begins at 4 p.m.. Work up an appetite for the Chuckwagon Dinner beginning at 4:30 with this year’s Fair Honorees being recognized at the dinner. After a full day, boogie on over to scoot-a -boot and listen to the live music of the High Rollers beginning at 9 p.m.
Sunday will be the wrap-up day at the fair beginning with a pancake breakfast and a nondenominational music worship service that will be held at 8 a.m. This is a great way to enjoy fellowship in our beautiful mountain valley. If you ever wondered how all those cowboys and girls get their start you do not want to miss the Kid’s Rodeo, which shows off such skills as Pole Bending, Barrel Racing and the ever popular Mutton Busting. The rodeo starts 11:30 a.m. Get your taste buds ready for an experience like none other: the Lee Sterling Chili Cookoff will be held in the Activity Tent with the public tasting beginning at 2 p.m.. This event is one of the few in the country that encourages people to enter their favorite green or red chile or salsa. We even offer a novelty category for those who have a great spicy dish they want to share. Try some of the best chiles and salsas the fine cooks of Archuleta County have to offer while you enjoy the music of Lester Rivas and watch the kids break a few pinatas. It’s a great way to complete your fair-going weekend. Don’t forget to take a walk through the 4-H and Open Class Exhibits before you leave.
The Archuleta County Fair is a multifaceted affair, loaded with shows, demonstrations and games going on simultaneously at the fairgrounds located just south of town on U.S. 84. There is no such thing as boredom at the fair, just not enough time to do everything available during the three-day event. Everyone is invited, young and old, residents and tourists, old-timers and newcomers.
Let’s all go to the fair and enjoy the traditions this small part of rural America has to offer on Aug. 4-7.
For more information about the Archuleta County Fair, call the CSU Extension office, 264-2388.