Start preparing for the county fair now

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    By Charlotte Williams
    Special to The SUN
    The Archuleta County Fair is coming. This summer, the biggest celebration in town begins, and you can help make it happen. How?
    If you are young, join 4-H, learn and have fun doing it. There are groups for everything from cake decorating to showing animals like chickens, sheep or even steers. The 4-H displays are the heart of the fair, and the annual livestock auction helps support our community youth in developing husbandry skills and saving for that college degree. Buyers are always welcome, and you can also join in with just a few dollars to “add on” to whatever bid is made on a prize animal. And the VIP treatment you will get as a buyer will warm your soul.
    Another highlight available to any age is the competition classes in the Exhibit Hall. Have you always been able to hostess a fabulous dinner party with lovely table settings? Do you grow an awesome timothy grass? Is your pineapple upside-down cake a legend in your family? We have a place for you. Show off at the fair and see how you compare with others who have a special talent like yours.
    If 4-H is the heart of the fair, the volunteers are its lifeblood. More than 150 volunteers are needed to do jobs of every kind. You can sell tickets at the gate, or help kids games, or supervise goats so they don’t escape at the petting farm, or shuttle folks in from parking, or drive the kids train, or — you get the idea. If you are alive and breathing and can spare a few hours, or the whole week, we have a job for you. And you get into the fair free.
    If you are not so hands-on, but want to make a significant difference, funding is always needed for everything from paying for tents to buying sandwiches for the folks who run the Ranch Rodeo. Whether it is $10 or $1,000 (and, yes, that $1,000 can be 100 folks sending in $10 each), every penny counts toward funding events, paying for entertainment, keeping the carnival going and just making the fair the best it can be.
    Maybe you are the kind of person who wants to do more and be more involved in your community. A great way to immerse yourself in our local culture and make new friends is to join the fair board. Unlike many boards, this one is a working board and all join with different talents to do the actual work of coordinating vendors, planning logistics, finding the best entertainers, advertising, finding sponsors, running herd on all those volunteers, etc. Preparing for the fair takes a full year, with monthly meetings and a dedication that builds until the big event — the Archuleta County Fair.
    The Archuleta County Fair is truly a community effort and unique in the variety and number of participants. Make it part of your life.
    For more information, go to www.archuletacountyfair.com, call the Archuleta County Extension office at 264-5931 or email info@archuletacountyfair.com.
    The Extension office offers CPR and first aid classes each month. Call 264-5931 to reserve your spot.