The Archuleta County Fair is celebrating 71 years today through Sunday with the theme of “A Timeless Tradition.”
The event that brings together people to honor what is unique about living in Archuleta County officially opens at 9 a.m. this morning.
You can find a schedule of events in this week’s PREVIEW.
On the cover of The PREVIEW you will find our fair royalty: Queen Gracelyn Kiker, Junior Queen Elizabeth Grace Grimes, Princess Sophia Alexander and Junior Princess Emma Alexander.
“Fair royalty isn’t just looking pretty and wearing a tiara; it is much more than that. Fair royalty gives young ladies the opportunity to be a part of the community. They promote the fair which is important for the community because it’s a chance to showcase projects, animals, skills and bring people together,” wrote fair board member Cindy Snarr. “Fair royalty not only promotes the fair, but also encourages leadership and helping hands.
“One of our goals is to bring the community together again throughout this year and the following years to come. These young ladies hope to bring people closer and enjoy our small town Pagosa, and are quick to lend a hand when needed; they hand out awards, and they want to take part in events and meet new people. If you see these young ladies at the fair, don’t be shy and come say hi. Fair royalty motivates hard work and getting a little dirt under your nails, all while wearing a tiara.”
This years’ fair recognizes two people who have been instrumental to the county fair: Super Superintendent Tom Lokey and Super Volunteer Michael Moore.
“The Archuleta County Fair sets aside time each year to recognize and honor several well-deserving folks who have made an impact in the fair over the years,” explained Snarr. “These are individual volunteers who step up when asked and fill much needed roles during fair. Often, these volunteers show up year after year without being asked; they know what needs their attention and they get the job done.
“Our fair could not function without these highly motivated, community-oriented men and women.”
This year’s fair is dedicated to the memory of some who are no longer with us.
“The fair board continually looks back and recalls Archuleta County Fair supporters and volunteers who have passed away, but who had passionately served the fair and the 4-H programs. It is with the greatest respect that we remember their efforts and pay tribute to their commitment to the fair,” Snarr added. “This year we are honored to remember these faithful men and women, and we dedicate this year’s fair to their memory: Brenda Decker, Bruce Young, Catherine Martinez, Emma Shock, Glessie Drake, Harry Cole, Lou Poma and Vera Mae Ray.”
General admission will be free again this year, which includes the Livestock Tent, Exhibit Hall, Activity Tent, live music and more. There will be a charge for the rodeos, with tickets available at the gate.
A staple at every year’s county fair is 4-H livestock. Contests are held to reward 4-H participants for the care they take in raising and presenting their steers, sheep, alpaca, goats, rabbits and pigs. These are animals that the kids have raised and cared for since the spring.
The Chuckwagon Dinner is Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and will be followed by the much-anticipated annual livestock auction. This event will be the payoff for 4-H livestock projects.
4-H has been one of the leading youth organizations in the nation for more than 100 years. The program helps youth enhance their communities and their lives.
The learned experience of the older 4-H members is shared with those who are following in their footsteps. Considering that some of those youngsters are handling steers that average some 1,300 pounds, safety is of utmost importance.
The fair is the time for those 4-H’ers to show off the culmination of a year of dedication to completing their many 4-H projects and discovering what ribbons they have been awarded.
You will have the opportunity to check out 4-H members’ work in a variety of projects including rocketry, clothing, scrapbooking, woodworking and more.
You will find open class entries such as quilts, sewing, baked goods, photography, fine arts, beer/wine/spirits, woodworking and more at this year’s fair. You might even find your neighbor’s prized pet rabbit or pet goat in the open class division.
There will be live music, a petting farm, vendors, kids’ games, train rides for kids, yummy food, talented dancers, BMX stunt shows, pie-eating contests, dancing, Wild Man Phil and his exotic animals, martial arts demonstrations and more.
Rodeos are another highlight of the Archuleta County Fair.
The exciting Bares, Broncs and Bulls Rodeo kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday night in the rodeo arena. The evening closes with live music by Tim Sullivan. There will be a Saturday rodeo and the Kid’s Rodeo on Sunday, too.
The mission of the Archuleta County Fair is to unite our community by preserving our history through building memories, encouraging cooperation, creating learning opportunities, providing entertainment, as well as developing healthy competition for exhibitors of Archuleta County enrolled in 4-H and open class competitors from any geographical area of the world.
We salute the Archuleta County Fair Board, Colorado State University Extension staff and the many community volunteers that are making this year’s event “A Timeless Tradition.”
We are truly blessed to be a community steeped in important small-town traditions and enjoyable activities for everyone.
Terri Lynn Oldham House