Northern Navajo Nation Fair begins in Shiprock with Youth and Elder Day

Annual gathering continues through Sunday in Shiprock

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Children participate in a free throw shooting contest Thursday during the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock.

SHIPROCK — The Northern Navajo Nation Fair kicked off today here with Youth and Elder Day, featuring a variety of activities for children and seniors.

Those activities included games like food scrambles, dances and obstacle courses.

Several school districts loaded children on buses so they could attend the fair. The Bloomfield Central Primary School and various schools from the Central Consolidated School District were among the schools that brought classes to the fair. Some children from other schools left class early to attend the fair with their families.

Tesla Sleepy, 21, attended the fair with her younger brothers, older sister and mother. She said they decided to pick her brothers up early from their school in Farmington and take them to the fair.

“We try to make it every year,” she said. “At least for kids’ day.”

Participants take part in the Elderfest Song and Dance activity Thursday during the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock.

More:Northern Navajo Nation Fair starts Thursday

The tradition began when Sleepy was in elementary school and her Navajo bilingual class would attend the fair.

“The food is definitely my favorite (part),” she said.

The fair continues through Sunday and will feature dances, art exhibits, a carnival and live music. The fair parade will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday on U.S. Highway 64.

The fair also provided 4-H participants a chance to show off their livestock.

More:What’s happening at the 2018 Northern Navajo Nation Fair

Reina Pino, 16, of Albuquerque, walked away with the purple Grand Champion ribbon for her 11-month-old Suffolk sheep she calls Big Boy. Pino has been raising sheep since she was 7 years old.

“It’s been a family tradition,” she said.

While she has been raising sheep for nine years, this was Pino’s first time showing her sheep at the Northern Navajo Nation Fair. She said her family likes to travel to different shows.

Pino said the hardest part of raising sheep is balancing that with her school work for about a year and then letting the sheep go.

Pino does her homework during lunch and on the bus, as well as during her spare time at school. Once she gets home, she said she spends a couple of hours each day with her sheep preparing them for the fair. This year, she raised seven sheep, including Big Boy.

The hard work paid off when she received the purple ribbon.

“I was very shocked, excited, happy,” she said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

Thayda Burnside gets ready to enter to have his sheep judged in the grand championship judging event for medium-size sheep Thursday during the Northern Navajo Nation Fair 4-H Livestock Show in Shiprock.