DOÑA ANA COUNTY – The Southern New Mexico Fair and Rodeo returns in late September for its 54th year.
With more than 60% of the eligible population vaccinated in the state and restrictions on mass gatherings and business activities lifted, South New Mexicans can expect carnival rides and fair food. In 2020, the fair was canceled for spectators amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year the gates to the fairgrounds west of Las Cruces will be open from September 29 to October 3.
Travis Brown, director of the show, said they are currently planning to host a full event with no capacity limitation. He said 36 food and craft vendors have already registered and organizers expect that number to double in the coming months. Approximately 76 vendors were booked in 2019. Attendees can also expect more local musical entertainment than in the past.
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“They have also all been hit hard by the pandemic and have not been able to work, so we are going to be providing more musical entertainment than we have been doing in some time,” Brown said. “(We) plan to have multiple stages with multiple genres of music available throughout the week.”
Aerial acrobatics and magic shows are planned, and the organizers are working on booking a NASCAR simulator, giving guests the experience of driving a real race car. Old tractors, animal shows and other exhibitions will of course be there. Brown said crowds are expected to meet or exceed 2018 and 2019 attendance figures of around 27,000 to 28,000 over the five days.
In 2020, the fair’s breeding and youth exhibition exhibitions have always been held, but as private events.
“Our main mission and function is to support young people in agriculture and so we have always technically organized the fair, it was just not open to the public. It was only open to children and immediate family who were showing their animals and exhibiting non-breeding projects, ”said Brown.
He added that a virtual cattle sale enabled the young participants to raise funds for future projects and efforts.
Brown said 2020 is difficult for everyone and everyone connected with the event is anxiously awaiting its return.
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