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.
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