New attractions highlight list of offerings at San Juan County Fair

Extra concert night, live duck races and hypnosis shows on tap this year

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − Coming off a year in which it attracted record attendance, the San Juan County Fair will return to McGee Park this week with some new attractions and a long list of old favorites.

With the fair's annual kickoff event, the San Juan County Fair Parade, having taken place on the evening of Aug. 5 in downtown Farmington, preparations for the fair itself swung into high gear this weekend at McGee Park. The weeklong event features animal shows; a rodeo; sewing, baking, photography and quilting competitions; concerts; food and drink vendors; a Barnyard Olympics competition; outhouse races, and, of course, a carnival.

Darrin Church, a San Juan County Fair board member, said there was a lot of pent-up demand for the fair after it was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and that led to last year's unprecedented turnout. He thinks conditions are ripe for another impressive response this year.

"We're feeling like it's going to be another good year," he said.

Trucks loaded with carnival rides are parked at McGee Park on Aug. 5 in preparation for the San Juan County Fair, which takes place all week at the fairgrounds.

The only disappointing element of last year's fair was the fact that the number of animals entered in the various competitions was lower than normal. That was because it wasn't until relatively late in the year – April or June – that it became apparent that the fair could take place as scheduled, by which point many families already had made the decision not to invest in a show animal that year, he said.

But that won't be the case this year, he said.

Visitors attend the San Juan County Fair, Thurday, Aug. 17, 2018 at McGee Park in this file photo.

"Animal entries are up across the board," he said.

In addition to the staple events that serve as the foundation of the fair, Church said organizers have added some new attractions this year, including a series of duck races featuring real ducks in front of the memorial coliseum. A series of hypnosis shows will take place each day during the first four days of the fair.

Church also is looking forward to the outhouse races, in which teams traditionally made up of local football squads or firefighting units build entries that are pushed around an obstacle course.

A food vendor's trailer sits parked at McGee Park on Aug. 5 as preparations for the San Juan County Fair continue.

And there will be an extra concert night this year, he said, beginning on Wednesday, Aug. 10 when Allie Colleen performs at 8 p.m. at the open air pavilion. Other shows follow at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12 with Mark Wills and at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13 with Thompson Square, both in the same location. Admission to the concerts is free with paid fair admission.

The San Juan County Fair runs from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8 through Saturday, Aug. 13 and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14 at McGee Park, 41 County Road 5568 between Farmington and Bloomfield. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children and seniors. Call 505-325-5415.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.