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Southwest USA State Fairs

Late summer and early fall means State Fair time! Here is the info you need to see one, or even all, of the state fairs in the Southwestern United States. What if you have never seen a state fair? Then you should rush with all due haste to remedy this profound lack of experience. The fair is a statewide exhibition of what that region has to offer. It tends to happen around harvest time when everything such as crops and livestock have reached peak perfection.

So you get to see exhibits of the livestock, crops, handicrafts, and art of the local citizens, which are judged in various categories for first place (blue ribbon), second place (red ribbon), third place (white ribbon), and Best in Show. Because this is the Southwestern USA we're talking about, you can expect a strong expression of Hispanic and western cowboy influences. You will also encounter much Native American culture from several sources including the Apache, the Navajo, the Pueblo tribes, the Pima, the Tohono O’odham, and the Utes.

Often a State Fair Queen is chosen to preside over events. Back in pioneer times, all this helped to encourage trade and give everyone an excuse to gather and hear the news. Tradesmen, vendors, and hucksters hoping to unveil the latest product would make sure to appear. Nowadays you get all that plus a rodeo, live concerts (usually country music), and the ever-popular carnival midway that is packed with amusement-park rides and games of chance. Make sure you take a stroll through the midway to watch the flocks of teenagers preening, alighting here and there, and occasionally bursting into wild cackling like migratory birds. And where else do you have the opportunity to sample the world’s most disgusting junk food except at the state fair, home of the corn-dog, funnel cake, and deep-fried candy bar? Plan your trip and enjoy.

Arizona State Fair
held at 1826 W McDowell Rd, Phoenix, Arizona 85007
2014: October 10 to November 2
(24 days including 4 weekends)

The Arizona state fair recently made #6 on a list by the Huffington Post of the Ten Best State Fairs in the nation.

Colorado State Fair
held at 1001 Beulah Ave. Pueblo, Colorado 81004
2014: Friday August 22 through Monday September 1
(11 days including 2 weekends)

Nevada Sesquicentennial State Fair
held at Fiji Park, Carson City, Nevada
2014: Thursday July 31 to Sunday August 3
(5 days including 1 weekend)

In 2011, Nevada became one of the only states in the nation not to have a state fair when it cancelled the event because fundraising efforts couldn’t reach what was needed. However, the year 2014 is the 150th anniversary of Nevada’s statehood, which motivated the locals to revive the state fair tradition. Previous fairs were held in Reno; the 2014 one will be held in Carson City, and then it may return back to Reno in 2015.

New Mexico State Fair
held at 300 San Pedro Dr NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108
2014: Wednesday September 10 through Sunday September 21st
(12 days including 2 weekends)

Utah State Fair
held at 155 North 1000 West Salt Lake City, Utah 84116
2014: Thursday September 4 through Sunday September 14.(10 days including 2 weekends)

While there is some overlap between the Utah and New Mexico state fairs, you can actually plan to attend all five state fairs, even the huge one in Arizona that stretches for more than three weeks. The good people of Phoenix have wisely scheduled it into October so you won’t find the heat as likely to squash you flat as in late summertime.

Enjoy the free, weekly, no-spam Southwest USA newsletter emailed to you each Wednesday.
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Content copyright © 2015 by Karm Holladay. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Karm Holladay. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Karm Holladay for details.


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