State Fair beckons many back again

By Skye McMillon/ NM News Port

The New Mexico State Fair is back for its 85th year.

The fair is among the biggest annual events in the state, attracting some 500,000 attendees, ranking it among the top five state fairs in the nation praised for affordability, nice weather, and appealing programming. 

Once again, the fair will feature rodeos, concerts, a parade, a green chile cheeseburger challenge, and of course, the midway filled with rides. 

What’s new this year is a live shark and stingray encounter exhibit, showing how we can conserve these animal populations around the world. Guests are even encouraged to pet the stingrays. 

A new ride has been added. “The Slingshot” allows fairgoers a great view of the city while defying gravity.

“We have a ton of new stuff here and a couple of brand new spectaculars,” said Ty Stevers, the media and marketing director for EXPO New Mexico, the fair’s home base in Albuquerque.  “We expect a great turnout.”

“We try to make it so that there are tons of free experiences for you,” Stevers said. “We have amazing concerts. There are so many great live bands in Albuquerque and New Mexico that are local, that are just starting to get big.” These include Mammoth WVH, Justin Moore, Chancey Williams, and others, Stevers said.

Stevers says his personal favorite fair attraction is the Indian Village. 

“It’s just incredible – the talent and just the cultural expression that goes on in there. Just beautiful dances, amazing frybread, and Navajo tacos.” 

“This is for New Mexicans. By New Mexicans,” Stever said. “We’re a diverse state, with diverse cultures, and diverse peoples and this is the place where they all come together and we all celebrate.”  

EXPO New Mexico receptionist April Armijo recalls the fair being part of the family. 

“When I was a little girl, my grandmother – we grew up in a financial strain –  so she would work really hard, and when she would save her money, she would always take me to the carnival or to the fair,” Armijo said. 

“The state fair is something very special. It brings me back to those memories as a kid, and I think every child feels that way.”

Taryn Robles is a student at UNM and an Albuquerque native. Returning to the fair each year is a tradition.

“ I love going to the fair just because growing up here my whole life it’s been an event,” Robles said.

”I love everything about the fair, even the food and all the fun rides, but being there with my family and friends would have to be the best part about it.”

The New Mexico State Fair is held from September 7 to 17 at the Expo NM in Albuquerque. Tickets cost $15, not including parking. The schedule of events and other information is available at the fair’s website.