Southern New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo returning for 54th year at the end of September
DOÑA ANA COUNTY – The Southern New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo is returning at the end of September for its 54th year.
With over 60% of the eligible population vaccinated in the state and restrictions on mass gatherings and commercial activities lifted, southern New Mexicans can look forward to carnival rides and fair food. In 2020, the fair was canceled to spectators amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, the gates to the fairgrounds west of Las Cruces will be open from Sept. 29 through Oct. 3.
Travis Brown, fair manager, said they currently plan to host a full event with no limitations on capacity. He said 36 food and crafts vendors have already registered, and organizers expect that number to more than double in the next few months. About 76 vendors were booked in 2019. Attendees can also expect more local musical entertainment than in years past.
“They have all also been drastically impacted by the pandemic and have not been able to work, so we are going to be providing more musical entertainment than we have for quite some time,” Brown said. “(We) plan to have multiple stages with multiple genres of music available throughout the week.”
Aerial acrobatics and magic shows are planned, and organizers are working on booking a NASCAR simulator — giving patrons the experience of driving a real racecar. Antique tractors, animal shows and other displays will of course be part of the event. Brown said crowds are anticipated to reach or exceed the 2018 and 2019 attendance numbers of about 27,000 to 28,000 people over the five days.
In 2020, the fair's youth livestock and exhibit showings were still held, but as private events.
“Our primary mission and function is to support youth in agriculture and so we still technically held the fair, it was just not open to the public. It was only open to the kids and immediate family who were showing their animals and exhibiting non-livestock projects,” Brown said.
He added that a virtual livestock sale allowed participating youth to raise money for future projects and endeavors.
Brown said 2020 was tough for everyone and all connected to the event are looking forward to its return.