The Navajo Nation is celebrating with a fair and rodeo Sept. 6-13 in Window Rock. The fair is an Arizona and Native American tradition, with a mission “to preserve and promote pride in the Navajo heritage and culture for the benefit of the Navajo Nation.”
The Navajo Nation Fair, in its 63rd year, is the largest American Indian fair and rodeo in the Southwest, with an average daily attendance of 10,000 to 15,000 visitors. It starts each year after Labor Day weekend and ends the following Sunday. This year’s fair will consist of 20-plus coordinated events, including an Indian rodeo, wild horse race, Navajo song and dance, powwow, Bucky Covington concert, champion bull riding, fine arts and crafts, Miss Navajo competition, Ashkii happy kids day, children’s exceptional rodeo, James & Ernie comedy show, basketball tournament, baby contest, horticulture exhibit, livestock show, 4-H competition, hip-hop dance and concert, parade and carnival.
The Navajo Nation Fair was established in 1938 to stimulate livestock improvements and management through exhibits for the Navajo people.
This year’s theme is “Yesterday’s artisan, for the future generation.” The fair has become a world-renowned event that showcases Navajo agriculture and fine arts and crafts. It aims to promote and preserve the Navajo heritage by providing cultural entertainment. The fair offers a unique cultural setting for all visitors, one of the few fairs at which you can experience the Navajo culture, tradition and food all in one place. For this reason, the Navajo Nation Fair receives many visitors from afar, especially professional photographers and travel writers from all over the world. The visitors have a good opportunity to experience local foods. It is also a great place to shop for Native American jewelry and apparel made by local artists.
Country music artist Bucky Covington will perform at 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 11. Covington made it to the final eight during the 2006 season of the television show “American Idol.” The 29-year-old North Carolina singer’s debut single, “A Different World,” has him on the country charts and airwaves.
The rodeo and concert admission is $15 for children and seniors and $20 for adults. The Indian rodeo will showcase some of the most talented cowboys in the Southwest.
In the Miss Navajo competition, the contestants are evaluated on their traditional and contemporary skills. Some of the demonstrations include butchery, corn grinding, being fluent in the Navajo language and rug weaving. Once crowned, the winner will serve as an ambassador of the Navajo Nation and carry out duties that help Navajo communities with education and leadership.
On Saturday night, dancers from other tribes perform for thousands of spectators. These performers include Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, Aztec and Apache Crown Dancers. The performance includes singing and dancing from most Southwestern tribes.
The Navajo Nation Fair and its events can provide you with a great itinerary to include in your next exploration of Arizona.
For information, visit www.navajonationfair.com.