Fair week could get boost from ENMU

By Tony Parra

Hotel managers in Portales may be salivating once they see the schedule of events planned for the weekend of Aug. 27-29.
The hard-hitting opening of the football season for the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds and the soft cotton candy at the Roosevelt County Fair are just a few of the treats for people in Portales on the weekend.
Roosevelt County Fair Board Chairman Ken Best said the Roosevelt County Fair will take place Aug. 25-29. The Roosevelt County Fair has been taking place on the first or second weekend of August, but will be on the last week of the month this year.
“The carnival which came last year went out of business,” Best said. “This time we got the Murphy Brothers. They said they could stop here on the way to the state fair. They’re going to be at the state fair in Sept.”
The Murphy Brothers are out of Tulsa, Okla.
The Curry County Fair will take place on Aug. 16-21, the Eastern New Mexico State Fair will take place from Oct. 4-10 and the state fair will take place from Sept. 2-19.
“Many of the carnivals were booked for Aug. 4-10,” Best said about the original dates for the fair. “We couldn’t find anyone for that weekend. We had to move it to the last weekend in August.”
Best said The Marshall Lane Band will be the live band for the fair on the concrete slab for Friday and Saturday night.
If that wasn’t enough, residents and college students may have two concert options for the nightcap. Jeff Blake, program coordinator of the Associated Students Activities Board, said they are planning to hold a concert after the opening home football game against Central Arkansas. The football game begins at the Greyhound Stadium at 6 p.m.
Blake said a national headline band is scheduled for after the game but is unable to disclose further details until plans are settled. He said they hope to have an official word on Aug. 2.
“I don’t think it (Marshall Lane concert) will have an effect on the concert because it’s two different target audiences,” Blake said.
Dawg Days will also take place on the same weekend. Shem Peachey, co-director of Dawg Days activities, said a hypnotist and other evening events are planned for Dawg Days.
Dawg Days takes place Aug. 26-28. It is a form of freshman orientation in which incoming ENMU freshman can partake in a barbecue, live music and other activities which allow students to get to know the college and other students. Peachey doesn’t believe the fair will have an impact on the Dawg Days crowd.
“It’s open to the bulk of the activities are for freshman,” Peachey said. “I don’t think we’ll lose many people.”
Meanwhile, people involved with the fair are hoping the ENMU student body has an impact at the fairgrounds. Roosevelt County commission chairman Dennis Lopez said his biggest iniative is to target ENMU students and their families for involvement in the Roosevelt County fairs.
“We (commissioners) want them to participate in the events,” Lopez said. “All the rides are going to better. The fairgrounds are going to be better. They’re going to chipseal the midway part of the fairgrounds.”
Blake believes it’s a benefit to the Roosevelt County residents to have so many options for the weekend.
“I think it’s good to have a lot of things going on,” Blake said. “It’s a positive thing.”
Best said an added bonus to the Roosevelt County Fair this year is a Mexican Heritage Day on Sunday. He said it is the first year for it and the carnival will continue to take place on Sunday. There will be Spanish music bands on Sunday to go with the events.
“We knew this was a good idea,” Best said. “We tried to figure out a way to fit it into a tight schedule. We finally got someone (Ray Perales) who knew more about it and to organize it.”
Some will have a conflict, however. The Portales High School football team will miss most of the Aug. 28 events, due to its season opener at West Las Vegas.