Farmington — The oldest of the Navajo fairs will once again transform Shiprock into the most happening place on the reservation.
The 102nd annual Northern Navajo Nation Fair goes into full swing when the fairgrounds open at 8 a.m. Thursday. That's when local and regional schools will bus hundreds of students to enjoy the activities offered during Youth Day, and seniors can enjoy Elder Fest at the powwow arena.
Four women are competing for the title of Miss Northern Navajo, and three young women are vying for Miss Northern Navajo Teen.
Although the fair officially starts Thursday, both pageants began Tuesday and continue today. Contestants will show off their frybread and tortilla skills and then answer questions during the cultural interview.
The teen contestants will also compete in the traditional skills and talent segment at 1 p.m. today at the fairgrounds.
New to the pageant is "Royalty Day" where previous Miss Northern Navajo titleholders will meet with contestants and the public, said pageant coordinator Victoria Yazzie. That is today at 5 p.m. at the Phil L. Thomas Performing Arts Center.
The new titleholders will be crowned during the coronation event, starting at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Fair director Robert Felson Jr. is expecting a great turnout for the fair.
The fair will have its usual blend of entertainment, arts and crafts, traditional dancing, livestock competition and rodeo, he said.
Admission into the fairground is $10 for adults and $5 for youth, Felson said. Fair employees will start charging admission at 4 p.m. Thursday.
So far, there are 800 entries for the parade, which takes place at 8 a.m. Saturday, traveling on U.S. Highway 64 and U.S. Highway 491.
Miss Indian World 2013 Kansas Begaye is the honorary grand marshal.
Begaye, who grew up in Waterflow and graduated from Navajo Preparatory School, was crowned Miss Indian World in April at the Gathering of the Nations in Albuquerque.
"She has established herself as a role model for youth," Felson said. "She'll be a showcase for our parade this year."Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nsmithdt on Twitter.