Spam Burritos and the Navajo Nation Fair

The Navajo Nation Fair began this week in Window Rock, Arizona, and is considered one of the largest Native American Fairs in the States.  My own introduction to regional fairs begin when I was young, and I can remember long drives that would begin before dawn, and culminate in finding a parking spot for the parade that signals the start of a weeks’ worth of festivities.

The long day that we spent at the fair consisted of food staples such as spam breakfast burritos, corndogs, fries, and popcorn with plenty of lemonades to wash it all down.  I would look forward to the rides and sights that accompanied the fair, and at the end of the day, sleep blissfully with the remnants of the day still sparkling in my mind.

My experience at the fair last year was different as a grown up, primarily because I actually camped the whole weekend at the fairgrounds.  Living in a tent on top of the hill was both exciting and invigorating, especially in the mornings when a quick brisk shower was required to start the day.  The rodeo arena announcer’s queuing up for the day with announcements, the warm days punctuated by laughter and the comradery of fellow artists at the Nizoni arts market.  The cool evenings featuring rodeo events, or concert music, followed by the murmuring of the crowds as the screams of the brave amusement riders echo across the valley.  Followed by sighs and murmurs as the weary fair attendees bundle themselves into their tents and begin the gentle humming of sleep until morning.  All of this punctuated by brief gluttonous trips to the food stands, to keep the mind and body fed.  And through all of this were my trusted market guides, Clarenda Begay and Char Kruger, and the rest of the helpful staff at the Market.

This year, I will be accompanied by my good friend and cousin Isreal Shortman, as his company Tinkr Labs makes its debut at the market. He will be showing snippets from the latest Tinkr Labs project as well as talking about his app, Navajo Toddler for the iPad and iPhone.

My booth will be next to the Tinkr Labs booth, and I will be featuring copies of Ziindi, prints and original artwork.  I will also have “Rez Deep” t-shirts available during this time.  We will be welcoming familiar faces and friends and we hope to meet you there!  Drop on by our booths, say hi, and become part of our extended family!


About damianjim,, Dine' artist/graphic designer, working with contemporary art using linework, Dine' writing, iconography, and native topics.
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