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"TREASURE THE FUN" AT THE COUNTY FAIR

 

August 11, 2017

Dorothy Nobis

San Juan County Fair Board Vice President, Billy Huish, knows you'll have a "beary" good time at the 2017 San Juan County Fair

More than 190,000 people are expected to "Treasure the Fun" at the 2017 San Juan County Fair, set for August 14-19 at McGee Park.

Visitors to the fair will notice some changes this year – especially the food concessions. The old concession stand, which has been adjacent to the multi-use building at McGee Park, has been demolished, said San Juan County Fair Board Vice President Billy Huish.

"The old concession stand was old and outdated," said Daniel Hill, Administrator of Parks and Facilities for San Juan County, "and it did not meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards."

A new food truck court will replace the concession stand, Hill added. San Juan County went out to bid for the court, but the bids that were submitted were twice what the county had anticipated. "We (the county) will revisit our design and go out for other bids," Hill explained. "We hope to have the court built by the 2018 Fair."

The new court will also offer opportunities for other events, Hill said. "I'm thinking about having food truck events at McGee Park, so people can enjoy fair food all year long," he said. "We'll have additional room for more food trucks and I think it will be great for other events at our fairgrounds."

Hill's staff – which includes 55 employees – will assist in getting the fairgrounds ready for this year's fair. New electrical upgrades in all of the McGee Park facilities are completed and are the first of three phases of additional upgrades at the park. "Every building will have upgrades of some sort," he said.

The week before, the week of, and the week after the San Juan County Fair are especially busy for his staff, Hill added. "It takes the entire crew to make the fair happen," he explained, adding that while many of his employees are assigned to other county facilities, all of them will, at some point, be at McGee Park, helping prepare, assist, and clean up after the fair.

"The fair wouldn't happen without the support and help of my staff and the support and help of the San Juan County Fair Board," Hill said. "And, at the end of the fair, we all enjoy a sense of accomplishment and knowing the job was well done."

"There are never enough words to express the appreciation the San Juan County Fair Board has for the Parks and Facilities Department's staff," said Billy Huish.

"We've all worked together for so long, and it's a great partnership the fair has with San Juan County, and especially the McGee Park staff," Huish said. "Putting on the county fair takes a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of enthusiasm, and between Daniel's staff, the fair board, and the hundreds of volunteers who help each year at the fair, the San Juan County Fair is the biggest – and the best – county fair in the state."

"The new food truck court will offer more opportunities for food vendors at the fair," Huish said. "We'll have our usual favorites – funnel cake, curly fries, barbeque, and Navajo tacos – and this year, we'll have the rattlesnake eggs back, pizza and kabobs."

Those looking for more than food, however, will find much to do and enjoy at the fair. Frazier Carnivals has been staples at the fair for more years than Huish can remember.

"Frazier Carnivals always donates a percentage of its gross (income) to the fair," Huish said. "It is always a very generous donation and between that donation and our gate income, it keeps the San Juan County Fair financially stable."

If the carnival and the food isn't enough to bring people out to the San Juan County Fair, the entertainment is another enticement. This year's entertainment includes Restless Heart on Aug. 18 and David Lee Murphy on Aug. 19. Ronnie Hill, a popular gospel comedian will appear Aug. 17. All of the entertainment is free with admission to the fair.

Bill Woodard will celebrate his 31st year helping with the lights, sound and stage for the fair's entertainment.

"Billy (Huish) and are I a team," Woodard said with a smile. "I'm honored to be part of this organization and I'm proud to support Billy and the fair board any way I can. The fair is a great organization that does so much for San Juan County."

Woodard is quick to add that his wife, Joy, and Russ Hodges and his wife, Laura, are "powerful partners and we love what we do."

The exhibits, the animals, the livestock auction, the Outhouse Race, the Memorial Coliseum Dedication and the meeting up with old friends while making new ones attracts that more than 190,000 people who attend the fair each year.

The San Juan County Fair Parade will kick off at 6 p.m. Aug. 11. This year's Grand Marshals are James and Gail Justice, long -time supporters of the fair.

All non-livestock entries for the fair will be accepted from 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12. All livestock entries will be accepted from 7 a.m.-noon Sunday, Aug. 13. The commercial booths in the Convention Center will open at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 14 and run through Saturday, Aug. 19.

David Stark, a member of the San Juan County Fair Board and a 4-H Club member and chicken barn supervisor for many years, will be honored at the fair's Memorial Coliseum Dedication, set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16 in the coliseum.

One of the highlights of every fair is the Junior Livestock Auction, which will begin at 10 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19. The San Juan County Fair's livestock sale rivals that of the New Mexico State Fair, Billy Huish said.

"We have a great group of regular buyers at our sale, who know that most of our kids use the money they receive from the sale of their animals to help fund their college educations," Huish said.

The superintendents of all of the school districts in San Juan County also understand the importance of the 4-H Clubs and FFA programs to their students. "I've met with all of our superintendents and they understand when kids who are involved in the fair miss part of that first week of school," Huish said. "We have tremendous support from the entire community for our fair and we just can't thank people enough for volunteering, buying animals or doing add-ons for animals, coming through the gate and enjoying the carnival. All of the money raised from the fair goes back to the kids – in prizes and in cash, as well as helping us with the next years fair."

There will be lots to do, lots to see and fun fair food to enjoy while visitors "Treasure the Fun" at the 2017 San Juan County Fair. If you need more information about the fair, call the fair board office at 505-324-5571, or you may visit http://www.sanjuancountyfair.net for information and updates to the schedule.

 

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