70th annual Navajo Nation Fair opens Wednesday

Window Rock -The 70th Annual Navajo Nation Fair launches into full swing Wednesday at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony at the fairground entrance, which will be followed by the annual barbecue.

The Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President announced in a news release that this year the Navajo Nation is hosting N7 ambassador Jude Schimmel at Kid’s Day on Thursday, welcoming the return of the Miss Navajo Nation Pageant to the fairgrounds and sponsoring the annual free fair barbecue on Wednesday, instead of Thursday.

Schimmel will give a motivational presentation and book signing at the Navajo Nation Museum at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, along with an appearance at the fair pow wow that same night at 7:30 p.m. She will also attend Ashkii Happy Kid’s Day on Thursday 10 a.m.

“We’ve changed the schedule a bit by having both the opening ceremony and the barbecue on the same day,” Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources Director Bidtah Becker said. “It’s definitely better than last year. We have improved the carnival grounds to make it easier for walkers, strollers and wheelchairs to come through.”

President Russell Begaye encourages all fair attendees to be patient and practice safety during this year’s fair. The president said the fair’s theme, which is “Let us come together as one – Through K’e we are strong”, reinforces the traditional Navajo philosophy of kinship.

“We encourage everyone to look out for each other,” Begaye said. “Parents please watch your children and don’t let them wander off as there will be a lot of people in attendance. We want everyone to have a fun time. The Navajo Nation Fair is family time when relatives and friends return to the Nation to gather with their families.”

Vice President Jonathan Nez said that K’e is the “foundation of who we are as Navajo people.”

Nez added, The Navajo Nation fair is a time when everybody comes together. We want everyone to be safe this week. Many friends and family will come together during this time and that is what fair time is about.

He said, “It’s at this time that we reach out to share our harvest and bring our families together. We also extend an invitation to other tribal leaders to come and join us at this year’s 70th annual fair.”

Beyond the carnival rides and midway lights, the core of the Navajo Nation Fair is rooted in harvest season for the Navajo people. Office of the President and Vice President executive staff assistant, Yvonne Kee Billison said the Navajo Nation Fair signifies a transition from summer into fall and winter.

“It signifies core teachings that are associated with planting and harvest time,” Kee Billison said. “It also signifies our Navajo New Year which takes place in October.”

Kee Billison, who organized this year’s Ashkii Happy Kid’s Day on behalf of  OPVP, said the fair is a good place to network and provide useful information to attendees.

“Many programs and departments will set up informational booths in Nakai Hall and hand out flyers telling about what their departments do,” she said. “For Kid’s Day we will have approximately 2,000 to 4,000 kids come through. I recommend that our programs take advantage of this to meet with parents and talk about safety and prevention issues.”

The Navajo Nation Fair is a drug and alcohol free event. The Navajo Nation Police Department will be on hand to enforce the no drugs and alcohol policy.

Begaye emphasized, “We ask that you don’t come intoxicated and ask that you refrain from drinking while at the fair. It will cause disruption and can cause the bad times at the fair.”

The Office of the President and Vice President would like to thank all departments, divisions and sponsors who are involved in the production of the 70th Annual Navajo Nation Fair.

For more information on events, please visit: http://www.navajonationfair.navajo-nsn.gov/. Also visit the Navajo Nation Fair Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/NavajoNationFair.

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