San Juan County Fair on schedule to open August 1 in Monticello
The theme of the 2020 San Juan County Fair is “In An Uncertain Year, Your Fair Family’s Here.” It will be the twentieth county fair Anna Fredericks has organized. It will also be the most different county fair she has organized.
Part of the challenge, Fredericks said, has been simply getting word out that the fair is still opening as scheduled. “I’m not sure how the rumor started that the fair was cancelled, but it has always been on,” she said.
It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted drastic changes in all of our lives. Sadly, it will also prompt drastic changes to the event lineup fair patrons will see this year.
Fredericks explained that in the coming weeks, fair organizers will watch Pioneer Day events in Monticello closely and stay in touch with the San Juan County Health Department to remain aware of changes with COVID-19 restrictions and precautions and keep fair patrons safe.
“We’re trying to remove things that we feel are not really safe while at the same time maintain the integrity of the fair,” Fredericks explained.
The fair, scheduled for August 1-8, will still provide plenty of much-needed fun. Most of the traditional local events are still on the docket, including the local rodeo, youth rodeo, livestock competitions and auctions, all-night softball tournament, family movie night, exhibits, food vendors, and more.
The local talent find has been moved to Thursday night, when the concert would normally have taken place. The Monticello High School drama team which was scheduled to perform “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” this spring will showcase some of the songs from that production.
Unfortunately there have been some cancellations due to the coronavirus. With uncertainty surrounding the future of the pandemic, Fredericks said she was unable to sign contracts for the concert, the big rodeo, inflatables, or side entertainment.
Also, in support of what the Navajo Nation is attempting to accomplish with curfews and lockdowns, fair organizers felt it would be best to cancel the mud bog. “A lot of people from the south end of the county participate in that,” Fredericks explained.
There will be plenty of precaution at the fairgrounds, including signage for social distancing, hand sanitizer (which has always been available), and patrons can don masks if they choose to do so.
Fredericks said she is also prepared to make further adjustments as conditions warrant. “If we need to count people as they enter the fair we will,” she stated. “We’ll carve out some time that we only allow senior citizens into the fair booths building.”
She said she even has a contingency plan in place to accommodate the junior livestock in the main fairgrounds arena.
Since there is no royalty for the 2020 fair, all former royalty through the history of the fair has been invited to return to Monticello and help.
Fredericks reports, “We’ve had quite a few former queens who have responded. If they have their banner and crown they can wear it. They can have their royalty moment again and it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Fredericks said she wants to encourage folks to enter things in the fair. “Everyone’s had lots of time at home,” she explained, “so we hope they’ve made something!
“If you’ve perfected your bread recipe, bring it to the fair. If you’ve made some quilts or if your kids have made some artwork, we’d love to showcase it and show what we’ve been doing during our downtime.”
Fredericks pointed out that fair organizers are making an effort to ensure they’re not burdening fair patrons with extra costs in 2020. The only event the fair will charge for is the youth rodeo, but every penny of that money goes either toward stock fees or back to the kids for prizes.
It will also cost to participate in the archery shoot, but that is an event separate from the fair sponsored by the Angel Archers.
“We would love for people to come and spend some time with us at the fairgrounds if they feel comfortable doing so,” stated Fredericks.
“Though things may change, we’re thankful that the county has allowed us to move forward with the planning for the fair. It’s something to look forward to, which we all need at this time.”
Look for vendor applications, youth rodeo applications, and a full schedule of 2020 San Juan County Fair events on the web at SanJuanCountyFair.com or on Facebook.