A fair state of mind

By Tova Fruchtman: CNJ staff writer

Many Clovis families will bring their animals to the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque this weekend.

Curry County has the largest number of people staying in the dorms for those involved in the agricultural competition, said Les Owen, Curry County 4-H agent.

“A lot of people joke about it — that their family vacation is going to the state fair,” Owen said.

The Blackburn family from Grady will be one of the families from Curry County competing. Jennifer, 17, Heather, 16 and Brian, 15, are showing animals.

Darshan Blackburn, their mother, said they have been going to the fair for this event since Jennifer was 9 years old.
Blackburn said that she hoped that all of her children’s animals would make it to the sale that takes place on Sept. 17.

“I think it’s just a good experience and everybody should do it once,” said Blackburn about showing animals.

But for those who are not interested in showing or buying animals there are many other activities at the state fair.
Veronica Valencia, the media relations manager for the state fair, said “the state fair is a tradition in New Mexico that has been around for 57 years.”

After the cost of admission and parking the fair offers many venues for free entertainment, Valencia said.

Free daily shows include “Super Spectacular,” a performing cat and dog show, “Winds: Thrills of the Universe,” an acrobatic thrill act and “Extreme Stunt Show,” a dare devil show, she said.

Villa Hispana, Native American Village, Ford Village and African American Pavilion all have free activities and entertainment, Valencia said.

She said there is also a children’s area. The youngsters can do arts and crafts, participate in the “Peewee Stampede,” a miniature rodeo, watch “Dr. Rocks Dinosaur Adventure,” a puppet show, and get on stage to sing and dance with “T-bone.” Local dance groups, cheerleaders and martial arts groups will also be performing, Valencia said.

Another free activity for children is the McDonalds Farm. “The farm is a hands-on exhibit that teaches kids what it would be like to live on a working farm,” she said. Children can plant seeds, pick fruits and gather eggs along with other activities. “Kids three to 10 really have a great time,” she said.

For the adults, Valencia emphasized the art galleries. “We have some fabulous artists here in New Mexico. At the free art galleries you can see some of New Mexico’s most talented artists,” Valencia said.

Beginning today through the weekend there will be rodeo shows followed by concert performances. The Invitational Indian Rodeo begins on Monday, followed by a performance from Native American rapper Litefoot.

On Sept. 18 is The B.B. King Blues Festival. Tickets for these events are an extra charge and can be purchased at the box office or at www.tickets.com, Valencia said.

Valencia’s personal favorite part of the fair is the food.
“I like the food because the fair is the one time of the year when you can have a corn dog and cotton candy,” she said.
She said their will be two new vendors selling Cajun and Jamaican food this year.

The New Mexico State Fair tradition is the Navajo taco. The taco is served on a big fried flat bread, Valencia said.

The state fair seems to have entertainment for everyone.
“You can experience everything here — from art to agriculture, animals concerts and competitions. There is just so much to see here,” Valencia said.

The New Mexico State Fair
Now – Sept. 18
Open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 12 midnight weekends
Building exhibits 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: Adults: $5 Kids 3 to 12: $3 Parking: $7 on Tuesdays everything is $2
Information: www.exponm.com