Kids bring a galaxy far, far way to the San Juan County Fair

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Clayton Blatchford shows his first place award to his uncle Frank Blatchford Thursdayduring a Star Wars themed costume contest during the San Juan County Fair at McGee Park Convention Center in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Clayton Blatchford moved a red lightsaber in the air while waiting to participate in the "Star Wars" costume contest Thursday evening at the San Juan County Fair.

The five-year-old was dressed as Darth Vader and spent time practicing his moves then lined up for the contest, organized by members of 4 Corners Ichigo Cosplay at McGee Park Convention Center.

Cosplay is the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game for an event or convention.

"We all love costuming and dressing up. We like encouraging other people to explore their creativity through dressing up and having fun with characters," group member Sarah Alcon said.

Contest Judge Sarah Alcon, from left, awards April Hunt and Alyssa Atcitty with awards Thursday during a Star Wars themed costume party during the San Juan County Fair at McGee Park Convention Center in Farmington.

The contest jelled with this year's fair theme, "May the fair be with you," which is a play on the popular phrase from the movie series.

During the competition, a judge asked the four participants to name the character they portrayed and whether the costume was homemade.

Group member Rebekah Garcia, who was dressed as Princess Leia from the 1977 movie, announced Blatchford placed first then presented a large Darth Vader action figure to him.

Each contestant received "Star Wars" toys as well as participation ribbons from the fair.

At center, Contest judge Rebekah Garcia talks with contestants Thursday before judging begins for a Star Wars themed costume contest during the San Juan County Fair at McGee Park Convention Center in Farmington.

"That's so all the kids don't feel left out," group member Carlos Lugo said.

Alyssa Etcitty, 9, wore a Princess Leia costume.

"I like how her hair is, because I like to put my hair in buns," Etcitty said about the character.

She and Garcia posed for a photo later.

"It’s always great to see Princess Leia continuing to inspire the next generation of ladies," Garcia said.

At center, Lauren Cathcart gets ready to participate in a Star Wars themed costume contest Thursday during the San Juan County Fair at McGee Park Convention Center in Farmington.

Eli Etcitty, the nine-year-old's father, said the costume is one of several his daughter owns, including those for various superheroes.

"She enjoys it. I was going to wear my Darth Vader but I didn't have time," Eli Etcitty said with a chuckle then added he tries to match the costumes his children wear for Halloween.

Lauren Cathcart, 9, dressed as Rey from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and topped the clothing with a blue lightsaber.

Cathcart's outfit pulled double duty Thursday. She used it for the goat costume contest, where her goat wore green Yoda ears.

"I really do like 'Star Wars.' I think it's cool," she said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

From left, Contest judges Heather Gallion, Sarah Alcon, Kahlan Thompson and Rebekah Garcia talk to contestants Alyssa Etcitty, bottom left, and April Hunt Thursday during a Star Wars themed costume contest during the San Juan County Fair at McGee Park Convention Center in Farmington.