‘A spe­cial JOY ’

One more day to en­joy mix of cul­tures, fried food and more at NM State Fair

Albuquerque Journal - - NEW MEXICO - BY MADDY HAY­DEN JOUR­NAL STAFF WRITER

The state of New Mex­ico boasts a unique mix of cul­tures, in­dus­tries and ways of life.

Nearly all of them were proudly on dis­play at this year’s New Mex­ico State Fair, which wraps up to­day.

From a lowrider show to a “Dairy Dis­cov­ery Zone” to a “green-chile-on-ev­ery­thing” pol­icy for many of the fair’s food op­tions, this State Fair is cer­tainly its own.

In some cases, this mix­ing of cul­tures has led to a deeper un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the cul­tures of oth­ers. Take the Keims.

The seven-mem­ber fam­ily from Plac­itas is mostly of Ger­man de­scent, said Dana Keim.

On Satur­day af­ter­noon, Dana, her hus­band, Robert, and their chil­dren — Dominic, 11, Gemma, 8, Ber­nadette, 6, Isi­dore, 4 and Jose­maria, 5 months — could be found on­stage at the Villa His­pana area of the fair.

Robert, Dominic, Gemma and Ber­nadette, blond-haired and blue-eyed, per­formed about 45 min­utes of tra­di­tional Mex­i­can dances with Los Niños de Santa Fe dance com­pany.

“It’s re­ally in­clu­sive,” said Dana, watch­ing the per­for­mance (and keep­ing an eye on her two youngest). “All my kids are to­tally com­fort­able there.”

The whole fam­ily has become in­ter­ested in Mex­i­can and Span­ish cul­tures; Robert re­cently

re­turned from a trip to Spain.

“It’s one of those cul­tures that’s still so alive,” she said. “There’s such a spe­cial joy in do­ing this.”

It cer­tainly ap­pears joy­ful; all the chil­dren in­volved in the pro­duc­tion had bright, toothy smiles.

At the nearby In­dian Vil­lage, the fair’s des­ig­nated “Na­tive Amer­i­can Day” was be­ing cel­e­brated with pot­tery and Navajo rug weav­ing demon­stra­tions, tribal dances and the New Mex­ico State Fair Pow Wow.

Apart from be­ing a vi­brant dis­play of the New Mex­i­can cul­tural melt­ing pot, the fair is also known for serv­ing up a va­ri­ety of de­li­cious, greasy, fried foods.

Eleven-year-old Noah Lu­jan of Al­bu­querque sat by him­self at a ta­ble with a pile of rib­bon fries about as big as his head Satur­day af­ter­noon.

He tilted his head back hap­pily and slowly low­ered each rib­bon into his open mouth.

Asked what his fa­vorite part of the fair was, Noah an­swered with two words: “The food.”

JIM THOMP­SON/JOUR­NAL

From left, Danya Nar­lesky, 6, and Gemma Keim, 8, watch from the wings of the stage as other dancers in Los Niños de Santa Fe y Com­pa­nia per­form at Villa His­pana at the New Mex­ico Stat e Fair on Saturd ay.

Hay­den Mal­lak, 5, tries his hand at milk­ing Bella — the me­chan­i­cal cow in the Dis­cov­ery Dairy Zone at the State Fair.

JIM THOMP­SON/JOUR­NAL

Noah Lu­jan of Al­bu­querque en­joys his food from the State Fair on Satur­day.

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