BOSQUE FARMS — In the summer of 1939, the agricultural community of Bosque Farms began a tradition that has lasted 80 years — the annual Bosque Farms Community Fair.
Through the decades, residents of the village and the surrounding communities have kept alive the spirit of neighborliness and friendship of the fair.
As the longest running community fair in the country, the fair is organized by the Bosque Farms Community Fair Association, a non-profit devoted to community service. Members also help maintain the rodeo grounds, owned by the Bosque Farms Rodeo Association, which is a long-time partner to the fair.
“The rodeo has been great work with; lots of communication and cooperation, said Jackie Ashley, fair association board president. “And our board is a bunch of go-getters.”
This year’s fair is from Friday, Aug. 2, to Sunday, Aug. 4, at the Bosque Farms Rodeo Arena, 1040 Arena Road, north off of North Bosque Farms Loop.
To celebrate 80 years, the fair board is hosting a free cake and ice cream party from 3:30 to 4 p.m., Friday, Aug. 2. It will be served in Cowboy Hall at the rodeo arena.
In keeping with this year’s fair theme “Traditions We Treasure,” the fair board decided to forgo choosing just one or two parade marshals.
Instead, all past parade marshals have been invited to ride on a special float in the parade, along with numerous individuals and organizations who have either been past members of the fair board or rodeo association, or have influenced the community in a positive way.
“A lot of people who were marshals are getting older, and we wanted to make sure we got a chance to honor all of those who are left,” Ashley said.
Those who accept the invitation to ride in the parade should meet at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 3, at the corner of Margaret Drive and South Bosque Farms Loop.
There will be a float with hay bale seating for the grand marshals.
Ashley said welding has been added as a new category for indoor exhibits. The deadline for indoor submissions is 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 1.
Most of the events will take place on Saturday, such as the traditional greased pole climb, rolling pin throw, money pit and kids foot races.
This year, there will be a sand money pit as usual as well as a corn pit with other prizes, Ashley said.
Friday night will feature the perennial favorite — the toad races. Registration is from 4-6 p.m. and the races will get hopping at 6:30 p.m.
“I think the toad races are my favorite part,” Ashley said. “It’s super-duper exciting. The little kids get super hyped up and excited.”
If toads aren’t your thing, the sheepdog herding demo starts at 5 p.m. on Friday. Ashley said unfortunately, the mutton busting was canceled this year, despite still being on the schedule in the fair books.
The Bosque Farms Rodeo Association will be hosting it’s open rodeo starting at 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3, and their slack will run at 8 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 4.
In rodeo terms, “slack” is a time, usually late at night or early in the morning, other than during the performance when the “extra” contestants compete in the rodeo.
There are only so many slots in each rodeo performance for each event, so when more contestants enter than can compete in the performances, they compete in the “slack.”
Ashley said the fair and all the events offered are great for families.
“The community is great. The car show folks are fantastic, it’s such a great community,” she said. “We’re a little event with lots of stuff going on. It’s a way for the community to get to know each other.”
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.