Eastern Navajo Fair Board cancel event over COVID-19 concerns

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

GALLUP — Organizers of the Eastern Navajo Fair have canceled this year's event, which traditionally kicks off fair season on the Navajo Nation.

Members of the fair board announced their decision last week, stating they voted unanimously on Jan. 28 to call off the event because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

"Safety is our highest concern for all participants, which lead to this critical decision. Following ongoing and increasing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the board felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation," board members said in the Feb. 2 announcement.

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The fair had been scheduled for July 22 to July 25 in Crownpoint.

They added that the decision was in the best interest for the health of residents, attendees, exhibitors, professional rodeo athletes and community organizations.

However, they look forward to the fair's return in 2022.

This is the second year that board members scrapped the festivities and so far, they are the first to render such a decision.

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Last year, board members said their judgment was to comply with the public health emergency orders issued by the Navajo Department of Health that prohibit large in-person gatherings.

The Eastern Navajo Fair started in 1975 and has the role of being the first to start fair season on the tribal land.

The Navajo Nation Council and tribal President Jonathan Nez in July 2020 supported a measure to cancel fairs, rodeos and roping competitions held in communities across the reservation to protect the public and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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.

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