Fair-goers and firefighters exchange high-fives during the Eastern New Mexico State Fair Parade. (Mark Wilson Photo)
The Fair Day Parade had a little bit of something for everyone with entries that went quite literally from A, All Saints Catholic School and the American Legion, to Z, the Zombie Walk.
The 2013 parade had fewer entries than last year, with a total of 87. People began to gather a little after 8 a.m. to make sure they got a good spot to observe this kick-off to the Southeastern New Mexico State Fair activities while the floats lined up.
Dogs whined, howled and hid when the sirens sounded, marking the start of the parade. As always, the parade began with vehicles from each one of the emergency services: The Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, the Roswell, Dexter, Hagerman and Lake Arthur police departments, and the Roswell, Midway, Sierra, East Grand Plains fire departments, to name only a few. Babies cried until the sirens passed.
Schools and their teams from all over the southeastern district, counties and towns were represented. The cheerleaders and bands had the opportunity to strut their stuff for the judges, who had a stand set up in front of the Chaves County Courthouse.
Those running for offices were out in force, including State Attorney General Gary King who waved to the crowd; Dennis Kintigh who just announced his candidacy for the mayoral race; Britt Snyder, Republican candidate for Chaves County Sheriff and Gary Graves, who also tossed his hat in the ring for SO. Another Sheriff’s candidate, Pat Barncastle, was accompanied by his personal canine campaign corps. Each modeled “Barncastle for Sheriff” T-shirts.
The Republican Party float featured the Republican elephant suitably attired with hard hat, steel-toed boots and area notables. The Democratic Party had a solo clarinet playing “Happy Days Are Here Again,” along with signs for various Democratic candidates.
Vendors walked down the street selling their wares while children ran, some performing cartwheels, with others playing tag, much to the dismay of their harried parents and grandparents. However, few could complain since the children were happy.
The parade finished around noon. The judges announced their awards around 3 p.m. at the Fair Grounds. The Judges Award went to the Chaves County DWI Program, which was a stark reminder to the effects of drinking and driving, with the sounds of crashing metal, two crumpled cars and New Mexico State police officer lecturing a supposedly inebriate driver. The names of students who had died and the years of their deaths were posted. The float was followed by a hearse.
The Spirit Award went to Charlie’s Angels, the Most Beautiful to the Bank of the Southwest. The top elementary-middle school band was Mesa Middle School while the top high school band was New Mexico Military Institute. Awards for cheers were given to Sierra Middle School and Goddard High School. Elite Gymnastics received the award for commercial floats, with Sidney Gutierrez getting the non-commercial award. The Sweepstake Award went Graves Farms. Their float combined Western dancers high-stepping it among the corn, with a reminder of holiday things to come, a ghoul leaping out from between the bundles.