Monday, October 2, 2023

Northern Fair returns after 2 years


After being canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Northern Fair is finally back for fairgoers and kicked off on Monday.


Northern fair organizers say safety No. 1 priority

“We’re excited,” said Herbert Clah, the deputy fair director. “It’s the first time in two years of not having it.”

The theme for this year’s fair is “Diné History, Harvest, and Healing.”

Clah said since the Northern Fair is the oldest fair, this year being its 109th, the fair decided to recognize that by honoring it in the theme.


Navajo Times | Rima Krisst
A view of Tsé Bit’a’í from the north side.

“History meaning just remembering our past and how we got to this point,” Clah said. “Harvest, it’s an annual thing where we always try to celebrate the harvest that people are able to grow, their produce and stuff.

“The healing part is just coming back from the pandemic and trying to get back to where we were,” he said.

Covid precautions

With the healing theme, the fair has taken COVID-19 precautions throughout the week and will continue to.
“There’s a lot of protocols and rules in place,” Clah said. “OEH (Office of Environmental Health) are very concerned about preventive measures for the Covid situation.”

These protocols include wearing masks while on the fairgrounds, readily available hand-washing stations, tents where temperatures can be taken, and education about Covid.

“We’re trying to just tell people if you’re not doing well or you’re ill, you got certain symptoms, not to try to come to the fairgrounds,” Clah said.

Unlike the previous Northern fairs, Clah said there is quite a bit more work and financial costs that need to be figured out to follow protocols and preventive measures.

Future fair coordinators

However, on the bright side, Clah said younger people have been interested in becoming fair coordinators.

“Younger people are coming forward and volunteering, so I get some very good young people that are willing to donate their time as volunteers and to hold an event,” Clah said.

He believes it’s good because he is finally seeing more young people become involved compared to previous years when older people have taken the reigns.

“The younger ones are coming to our meetings and wanting to be involved, so we got them involved,” he said. “I see that as a really nice change.”

Clah hopes they have a good and safe fair.

“We want everybody to know we’re trying to do everything we had in the past,” he said.

Northern Fair Schedule:

The yé’ii bi cheii will be ongoing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. — Youth Day
8 a.m. – 6 p.m. — Exhibit/Horticulture Expo
9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. — Elder Fest
10 a.m. – 11 p.m. — City of Fun Carnival
10 a.m. — Indian Market Opens
11 a.m. — Miss Northern Navajo/Miss Northern Teen Traditional Skills Talent Competition
4-6 p.m. — APS Free BBQ (Bashas’ Parking Lot)
5 p.m. — Rodeo Bull-riding Opening Extravaganza
9 p.m. — Entertainment at the Rodeo, MC Shar Redhorse
9:05 p.m. — Krishel Augustine
9:35 p.m. — Talibah Begay/Shar Redhorse
10:05 p.m. — Zuni Pueblo Dancers
10:50 p.m. — Joe Tohonnie Jr. & Crown Dancers

Friday, Sept. 30

7 a.m. — Trail Ride to Yé’ii Bi Cheii
8 a.m. – 7 p.m. — Exhibit/Horticulture Expo
9 a.m. — Youth Day Junior Rodeo
10 a.m. — Indian Market Opens
3 p.m. — City of Fun Carnival Opens
5 p.m. — Song & Dance (Warm Up)
5 p.m. — Miss Northern Navajo/ Miss Northern Teen Coronation of 2022-2023 (Phil Thomas Perform Arts)
5 p.m. — Pow Wow Gourd Dance (Pow Wow Arena)
6 p.m. — Rodeo Slack/Hybrid Performance (Tuff Enough to Wear Pink Day)
7 p.m. — Pow Wow Grand Entry
9 p.m. — Entertainment after Rodeo, Native Bands:
Dine Boyz & Lightening Rock
11 p.m. — City of Fun Carnival Closes

Saturday, Oct. 1

5 a.m. — Parade Line Up East 7-2-11
8 a.m. — Parade Begins
10 a.m. — City Of Fun Carnival
10 a.m. – 7 p.m. — Song and Dance (Registration Opens)
10 a.m. — Indian Market Opens
11 a.m. — Gourd Dance Pow Wow Arena
1 p.m. — AIRCA Rodeo/Wild Horse
Race (History & Heritage/Turquoise Dress)
1-7 p.m. — Pow Wow Grand Entry
7 p.m. — AIRCA Rodeo (Wild West Saturday Night/ Dress Old School)
9 p.m. — Entertainment: Tony Knight

Sunday, Oct. 2

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. — Exhibit/Horticulture Pickup
9 a.m. — Song & Dance Roll Call
10 a.m. — Indian Market Opens
Noon –– City of Fun Opens
1 p.m. — Rodeo Champion Day, Wild Horse Race (RWB/The Real Heroes)
10 p.m. — City of Fun Closes

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About The Author

Hannah John

Hannah John is from Coyote Canyon, N.M. She is Bit’ah’nii (Within His Cover), born for Honágháahnii (One Who Walks Around), maternal grandfather is Tábaahí (Water Edge) and paternal grandfather is Tódich’ii’nii (Bitter Water). She recently graduated from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s in communications and a minor in Native American studies. She recently worked with the Daily Lobo and the Rio Grande Sun.


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