J.C. Wagner receives a ride atop Caeser, a Bactrian camel, at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair, Wednsday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
The Eastern New Mexico State Fair may have reached its halfway point, but with a wide selection of music acts, carnival rides, shows and performances still to come, it’s fair to say the fun is just getting started.
Trish Lair, fair manager, said the music acts this week should attract folks from far and wide. Vinnie Baggatone & The Baggavaughns, an Elvis impersonator group, will entertain the fair crowd tonight at 7 p.m., leading up to two huge nights of music Friday and Saturday, Lair said. On Friday, Kyle Bennett will perform at 7 p.m., followed by Dustin Lynch at 9 p.m., before Rick Trevino caps off the week of entertainment with a show at 8 p.m.
“This is the first year that we’ve ever had this caliber of entertainment,” Lair said. “Dustin Lynch’s song ‘Cowboys and Angels’ just hit No. 2 on the billboards, which is huge. When we booked him, he was just that up-and-coming kind of guy, and now he’s ‘That guy.’ He’s the guy!”
But if live music isn’t your thing, the choices don’t end there, Lair said. Five American black bears are on display throughout opening business hours in the Commercial Building this week, with shows that include everything from bikes to teeter-totters. The bear shows continue today and Friday at 5 and 8 p.m. and on Saturday at 1, 4 and 8 p.m.
The Funny Dummy Show ventriloquist act promises fun for all ages with a performance tonight and Friday at 7 p.m., and on Saturday at 2 and 9 p.m.
Want to see a hypnotist trip the brain with only words? Hypnotist shows began Wednesday, and continue with a show today at 9 p.m., shows Friday at 6 and 9 p.m., and shows at 3, 7 and 10 p.m. on Saturday.
The carnival, which opens at 5 p.m. both today and Friday and at noon on Saturday, features games and rides for adults and children, including Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, tilt-a-whirls, race cars, super slides, basketball, rope ladders and dunk tanks.
Armband prices for access to all the rides are $20 today, $25 for Friday and $30 for Saturday.
More than 30 oddities can be seen at the Strange Museum during regular carnival hours, mixed enough to melt minds with a five-legged dog, headless girl, chupacabra, two-headed tortoise and giant river rat.
The Chisum Challenge begins at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with 17 teams competing in several events, from trailer loading to wild cow milking. The shows are $10 for adults and $5 for kiddos.
And don’t forget about the fair food. Dozens of food vendors have populated the fairgrounds this week with quite the variety of tasty treats, Lair said.
There are deep-fried Snickers, deep-fried Oreos, corn dogs, cheese sticks, smoked turkey legs, funnel cakes, Thai food, cowboy burgers, BBQ sandwiches, chicken, Philly cheese steaks, gorditas, kettle corn, roasted corn, cotton candy, shaved ice, wild west soda and — who could forget? — pickles on a stick.
“We still have a lot to come. The big entertainment is still to come, so we hope everybody comes out,” Lair said. “Most of the entertainment that’s out here is free when you purchase your ticket to get into the fair. So it’s $6 for adults, $2 for kids and $2 to park. And once you pay that, much of the entertainment — Dustin Lynch, Rick Trevino, Kyle Bennett, the bears, the hypnotists, the funny dummy show — all of that’s free.
“We’re very family-oriented. That’s what we focus on and that’s what we strive for, is to make this a family-fun, safe place to be. We want everybody to bring their kids out and have a good time. That’s what we’re here for, to put on a good event for Roswell and our surrounding area. So come have a good time and enjoy it so we can make it bigger and better next year!”