Best Photos From Navajo Fair and the Crowning of Miss Navajo Nation, Rhonda Joe

The annual Navajo Fair celebrated its 70th anniversary in the fall with fashion, dancing babies and of course frybread, as seen in this photo gallery.
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There was fashion. There were dancing babies. There were tears, and a coronation.

This and more made the 70th Navajo Nation Fair memorable. And it’s never too early to begin planning to hit the next one, which will be held later this year from September 5 through 10.

What started as a small gathering to bring Navajos together during hard times has, over seven decades, turned into an extravaganza attended by thousands of people during its one-week run every September.

“The Assistant to the BIA General Superintendent John McPhee came up with the idea of a Navajo Fair as an opportunity for Navajos to gather together for a couple of days to socialize, compare each other’s harvest, have something positive and enjoyable to do rather than just dealing with the Depression, stock reduction, unemployment and having their kids hauled off to boarding school,” said Navajo historian Martin Link, according to a history posted on the fair’s website. “He and other BIA workers assembled a kind of crude fairgrounds just southeast of Window Rock and invited everyone to the party. Surprisingly enough, a lot of Navajos came and seemed to enjoy it.”

The fair was first held from 1937-41, the website says, before being halted during World War II, and picking up again in 1946. Attracting people from all over the world, the Navajo Fair is today not only an event for tribes to reconnect but also serves to educate non-Native people about indigenous culture and life ways.

The 2016 fair ran from September 6 through 11 and featured the crowning of Miss Navajo Nation, Rhonda Joe, who demonstrated her frybread-making skills, among many others, along with a host of other contestants. The fashion was stunning, the babies were supremely adorable, and the food was divine. Here we give you photos from the best of the Navajo Fair 2016.

70th Annual Navajo Nation Fair Baby Contest 2016

Baby girl in traditional cream colored outfit demonstrates her talent in beadwork with help from her mom. She gets distracted by balloons on stage. 70th annual Navajo Nation Fair Baby contest.

Rodina Jordan makes frybread fire, Navajo Nation Fair 2016

Rodina Jordan, Miss Navajo Nation 2016 contestant builds a fire for the fry bread making contest at the 70th annual Navajo Nation Fair. Rodina is 25 years old from Oaksprings Arizona.

Navajo Fair 2016 Rhonda Joe frybread contest

Rhonda Joe, Miss Navajo Nation contestant demonstrates her frybread-making skills at the Hazel Yazza Pavilion, Navajo Nation fairgrounds on 9 September 2016.

Miss Navajo Nation 2016 contestant Shannon Gorman, 24 years old from Chinle Arizona demonstrates her traditional talent of rug weaving at the 70th annual Navajo Nation Fair.

Miss Navajo Nation 2016 contestant Shannon Gorman, 24 years old from Chinle Arizona demonstrates her traditional talent of rug weaving at the 70th annual Navajo Nation Fair.

Former Miss Navajo Nation 2015 Alyson Shirley models a dress by Defy Mi designs at the Navajo Nation Invitational Fashion Showcase at the Gorman Hall Window Rock Fairgrounds at the 70th annual Navajo Nation Fair.

Former Miss Navajo Nation 2015 Alyson Shirley models a dress by Defy Mi designs at the Navajo Nation Invitational Fashion Showcase at the Gorman Hall Window Rock Fairgrounds at the 70th annual Navajo Nation Fair.

Navajo Nation Fair 2016 fashion

A Dine model shows a Marisa Mike Pendleton dress in the 7oth annual Navajo Nation Fair Nizhoni Arts Market Clothing/Model contest held at the Gorman Hall Window Rock fairgrounds.

sheep butchering, Navajo Nation Fair, 2016

Kaylee Begay is 23 years old from Canyon De Chelly, Chinle Arizona. Here she is demonstration her skills in the sheep butchering contest as part of the Miss Navajo Nation pageant. Her teammate, also a Miss Navajo Nation contestant, is Shannon Gorman, also from Chinle Arizona.

sheep butchering, Navajo Nation Fair, 2016

Kaylee Begay is 23 years old from Canyon De Chelly, Chinle Arizona. Here she is demonstration her skills in the sheep butchering contest as part of the Miss Navajo Nation pageant. Her teammate, also a Miss Navajo Nation contestant, is Shannon Gorman, also from Chinle Arizona.

Rhonda Joe, Miss Navajo Nation 2016-17, at Navajo Nation Fair

Rhonda Joe, the new Miss Navajo Nation 2016-2017 cries tears of joy and appreciation as her grandmother stands by her side. She was crowned during Culture Night on Saturday, 10 September 2016 at the 70th annual Navajo Nation Fair.

Outgoing Miss Navajo Nation Sunday September 10, 2016

Outgoing Miss Navajo Nation 2015-2016, Alyson Shirley, mingles with well-wishers after she gives up her crown at the Navajo Nation fairgrounds during Culture Night on Saturday, 10 September 2016.

Rhonda Joe, Miss Navajo Nation, 2016-17

The newly crowned Miss Navajo Nation, Rhonda Joe, smiles for the crowd of 12,000 at the Navajo Nation fairgrounds during Culture Night on Saturday, 10 September 2016, at the 70th annual Navajo Nation Fair.