Northern Navajo Nation Fair gets underway

The 105th annual fair opens in Shiprock with a series of events for seniors and children

Joshua Kellogg

SHIPROCK — The overcast sky and occasional light sprinkle of rain didn’t dampen the mood this morning as the 105th Northern Navajo Nation Fair officially got started.

The Apcahe Crown Dancers perform during Elder Fest Thursday at the pow wow arena at the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock.

Many parts of the fair — including the carnival rides and games, Indian market, rodeo events and nightly performances —  started today  and will continue through Sunday.

Children and seniors were able to participate in events organized for them in different parts of the fairgrounds.

In the pow wow arena, seniors grooved to the music of the Desert Sun Band as part of Elder Fest.

Rena Redhouse was one of the people on the dance floor. She said she likes all forms of song and dance, including rock 'n' roll.

“I like (how) all the elderlies get together and have fun together,” Redhouse said.

The stands of the arena were filled with people as they celebrated and recognized the elders in the crowd.

Glenn Pablo competes in a "barrel racing" competition during Elder Fest Thursday at the pow wow arena at the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock.

“It’s a day for recognition and appreciation for the elders,” Coordinator Louise Washburn said in a phone interview Wednesday.

A series of games, entertainment and contests were planned for the seniors, and several baskets full of gifts were given away.

During one game, 10 participants volunteered to take part in a senior barrel racing event. Participants competed to record the best time as they carried an American flag and ran around three laundry baskets acting as the barrels.

Raymond Curley said he enjoyed the exercise from his run, which earned him a second-place finish. The Elder Fest provides Curley an opportunity to visit with friends and family, he said, adding he had run into people he hasn’t visited with for several years.

At the Youth Day activities, volunteers painted faces and created balloon animals for children. Costumed superheroes, including Wonder Woman, posed for photos.

There were several booths set up near the activities sharing information on health and child safety.

In a tent near the exhibit hall, the Central Consolidated School District was operating a booth for students to showcase their talent today  and Friday. Students at the district's elementary schools took turns performing on stage throughout the day. Middle and high school students will perform as part of the showcase on Friday.

Monē Tan, a student at Ojo Elementary School, performs during the annual Central Consolidated School District talent presentation Thursday at the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock.

During a presentation by Ojo Amarillo Elementary School, students sang a couple of songs as a choir, and a group of students gave a basket dance performance.

Principal Abena McNeely said she was happy to see her students get a chance to perform for an audience.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.