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Montezuma County Fair adds Celtic games and kids’ events

Festivities start Friday with car race
Tessa Butler and her alpaca compete in the Alpaca Show at the 2015 Montezuma County Fair.

The 2017 Montezuma County Fair starts on Friday, and organizers have added a few new attractions to the schedule.

As in past years, more than 200 4-H and Future Farmers of America students will participate in livestock shows, shooting sports and a wide variety of agriculture-related projects they’ve worked on all year. But there will also be several events for those not involved in 4-H. This year, the fair’s board has added a Celtic Day and a Kids Day to the schedule, both of which will feature special themed events for the whole community.

“We’re working really hard as a board to bring more people out to the fair,” board member Randy McKnight said. “I think people will be really pleased with what we’ve done.”

He said the first weekend of the fair, after the annual U.S. Racing Association car race on Friday night, is usually somewhat light on activities, so he decided to turn the first Saturday into Celtic Day in order to “give people a reason to come to the fair.” Athletes will visit from Aztec, New Mexico, and Moab, Utah, to give demonstrations of traditional highland games like the caber toss, and to teach them to any fair attendees who want to participate. Musicians, including bagpipers and traditional drummers, will also play Celtic music on a stage in the indoor arena throughout the day.

If it goes well enough, said board president Don Janz, Montezuma County may consider hosting a Highland Games tournament like the annual ones in Aztec and Moab sometime in the future.

Kids Day will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 2, and will include a wide variety of family-friendly activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kokopelli Bike and Board will perform bike inspections and teach kids about bicycle safety, staff from the Cortez Cultural Center will provide crafts, a professional disc golfer will set up a miniature disc golf course, and local law enforcement and rescue agencies will give demonstrations including a Flight for Life helicopter landing in the morning.

“We’re trying to get young folks to see what the fair is like, and maybe get them interested in 4-H or FFA when they get older,” Janz said.

For many Montezuma County families, though, the 4-H and FFA events are still the main attraction at the fair. Students will participate in contests ranging from Saturday’s horse show to the tug of war games on Aug. 4, in search of blue ribbons and, in some cases, the chance to move on to the Colorado State Fair.

“It’s the culmination of a lot of the projects kids have been working on,” said Tom Hooten, the county’s Colorado State University extension director. “It’s a high point, or one of the high points, of the year.”

Other annual highlights that will return this year include the family gymkhana on July 30, the crowning of the fair royalty on Aug. 4, Ute Mountain Ute tribal bear dances on several days and the demolition derby that brings the fair to a close on Aug. 5.

Fair activities are scheduled from Friday through Aug. 5 at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. Every event is free and open to the public.

This article was reposted on Aug. 1 to correct the title of CSU extension director Tom Hooten.

If you go

What: 2017 Montezuma County Fair

When: 5 p.m. Friday, July 28, through 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5

Where: Montezuma County Fairgrounds, 30100 U.S. Highway 160, Cortez

Cost: Free

More information: Go to


and click on the “Montezuma County Fair” tab under “Services.”

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