FARMINGTON — If you want to know where everybody is the next week or so, try McGee Park.
You guessed it, pardner. It's early August and that means it's time for the San Juan County Fair.
The weeklong fair's theme this year, "Fun for 'Ewe' and Me," spotlights the area's agrarian roots and its sense of fun, indoors and out.
Starting today, thousands of entry hopefuls will begin hauling in their barnyard animals and bundt cakes, flower arrangements and photography, scarecrows and salsa.
In the rear lot nearest the river, an old-fashioned carnival barker will take your tickets for rides and attractions.
If you're not busy setting up a booth or entering your alpaca, there will be plenty to sample, including cowboy coffee, hot dogs, barbecue fare, or uniquely fair-spun desserts like chocolate-dipped bacon or a caramel apple cored and spliced like curly fries.
But it's Monday when the fair kicks into full swing.
On Monday, Sadie Shelton, a volunteer coordinator for fair royalty and "everything that's needed," will be running the scarecrow contest.
"Monday is funnier than you would ever believe," Shelton said. "A lot of the scarecrows are just unbelievable, funny to watch people's reactions when they see them."
Usually the scarecrow entries honor the fair's theme.
"Bahhh, there'll be some sheep involved somehow," she joked. "It's really cute, from little kids' to seniors' scarecrows. They can win money, too."
While anybody can enter a scarecrow in the fair, it can't be "scary or gross -- just family-friendly," she said. "Only scary to crows, not people. Happy scarecrows."
Shelton, a passionate canner, will also be bringing quail eggs, smoked salmon, beets and other foods she cans for the food preservation entry.
"If it runs and I can catch it, I will put it in a jar," she said.
If scarecrows only leave you wanting more, try the outhouse race on Monday.
"It's just something you've got to see," said Stephanie Hammons, a volunteer and longtime fairgoer. "Four people push an outhouse along an obstacle course with one person inside on the throne. It's hilarious."
Luckily for the person inside, each team rotates positions along the course. One station challenges contestants to "dunk for turds," a barrel full of chocolate candy bars.
All through the week, fairgoers can take in exhibits displaying quilting, gems and minerals, junior and senior hobbies, canned goods, baked cakes, fine art and pet rocks.
"I like the concerts, on Friday and Saturday," Shelton said.
Grand Ole Opry singer Pam Tillis belts it out Friday and the Bellamy Brothers -- of "Let Your Love Flow" fame -- perform Saturday night.
"The atmosphere is amazing," she said. "It's one of the nicest places you can go have fun for a week, see people you may not have seen in years, all having fun, surrounded by carnival rides, farm animals, incredible exhibits and amazing food -- especially the green chili wraps. I get two or three a day."