Messages from the Road: County Fairs and Festivals

Flying High: The carnival rides at the Mesa County Fair and Rodeo in Grand Junction, Colorado were a popular attraction for many. The Ferris wheel and swing are seen with the clouds forming in the background as the sun sets. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com

Alien Encounter: Another popular ride in Grand Junction was the Starship ride which featured otherworldly alien characters. The colors and sounds of each of the rides attracted many attendees to the event. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com

By GARY WARREN
Photographer
Formerly of Los Alamos

Attending local fairs and festivals provides us with plenty of entertainment while we travel the country. On our last trip, we attended a county festival and rodeo in Big Timber, Montana, a 4th of July celebration and art fair in Walla Walla, WA, and at a county fair and rodeo in Grand Junction, Colorado. Arts, crafts, music and of course people are fun to watch and interact with at these events.

Attending these events in different states and parts of the country gives us a sample and flavor of life in each place. Although we don’t spend a lot of time at each stop on our travels, our time is generally focused on local events, museums, and things of local interest. We also try to eat at local restaurants when we choose to eat out.

While we were in Montana, the Sweetgrass Festival had a car show on Main Street that also included a few John Deere tractors, as farming and ranching is probably the biggest source of employment in Sweetgrass County . A county parade entertained everyone in the afternoon, especially the children as they watched the candy thrown by the parade vehicles and floats.

While in Washington, we enjoyed seeing the city of Walla Walla for the first time. A small town but home to three colleges gives this community a unique personality. We attended a 4th of July celebration and arts fair at Pioneer Park, a beautiful city park lined with trees that were probably over 100 years old. Some of the stalls featured artwork similar to other regions and some artwork was specific to the region and to life in the northwest region of the country.

The Mesa County Fair and Rodeo in Grand Junction, Colorado was unexpected, but the fairgrounds were next to the RV park we were staying at that week. We enjoyed walking around the carnival and watching the locals enjoy a fun weekend in July. 4H and FFA students displayed their animals, and many attendees enjoyed the typical carnival snacks of cotton candy, funnel cakes, and other treats, along with their favorite drinks.

These are the experiences we don’t anticipate but always love to witness wherever we visit. Often our schedule can prevent us from attending, but we always like to go when the weather permits. Events are fun for all and we get to experience a taste of local interest and lifestyle.

Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn travel the country, and he shares his photographs, which appear in the “Posts from the Road” series published in the Sunday edition from the Los Alamos Daily Post.

Good Vibes: Attendees of the 4th of July Festival in Walla Walla, Washington listen to the music of a local band in Pioneer Park on a warm sunny afternoon. Arts and crafts, good food and music were some of the activities featured at the festival. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com

Food and beverages: A variety of food and beverages were available for attendees at the 4th of July festival in Walla Walla, WA. Food trucks and food stands worked all day to keep attendees happy during the hot Washington vacation. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com

John Deere: The Sweetgrass County Fair in Big Timber, Mont. features a car show on Saturday morning and a parade in the afternoon. When you host a car show in farming and ranching country, you’ll see some awesome cars, pickup trucks, and a few model John Deere tractors. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com

Sweetgrass Parade: The Sweetgrass Parade takes place on Saturday afternoon during the Sweetgrass Festival weekend. Many locals take part in the parade and almost all of the participants throw candy for the young people to collect. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com

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