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At last, a fair day

Jack and Linda Vigil drive 150 miles to visit the New Mexico State Fair every couple of years.

It’s a tradition for the couple, who live in Cleveland, N.M., ever since they married almost 40 years ago.

“It’s been a lifetime,” Linda Vigil said.

The fair was lively Saturday afternoon as joyful screams echoed from high-flying rides on the midway and Third Degree blasted classic rock from a nearby pavilion, and all the while the mingled aromas of barbecue turkey legs, roasted corn and anything-you-can-imagine fried on a stick wafted across the fairgrounds.

As for many others, the food is a big draw for the Vigils.

“We just try it all,” Jack Vigil said, between bites of a corn dog. “It’s a good experience.”

The Vigils said they had just arrived in town and planned to see the rodeo, car shows and Villa Hispana and stop by the Manuel Lujan Jr. Exhibit Complex to browse all the new products on display – an experience they can’t get back home.

“It’s such a small town, that’s why we come out here to see the new products and spend the day at the fair,” Linda Vigil said, as a slingshot in the distance launched a couple more than a hundred feet into the air. “We stay away from the midway. We’re not midway riders – we like to do the other things around here.”

The couple said they were very happy the weather in Albuquerque was clear and warm.

“We hadn’t seen the sun for two months,” he said. “It’s been raining every day. I’m not used to it – I like my tan.”

Aside from many of the tried and true attractions – pig races, petting zoo, sea lion show – some new additions popped up, like the Lumber Jack and Jills Show.

During the show “lumber jills” in bright orange Husqvarna suspenders competed against a “lumber jack” in different feats like chainsaw cutting, log rolling and axe throwing.

Frequent fair visitors Nick and Lydia Blodgett watched the competitions with their 2-year-old daughter, Rachel.

“We like getting out and spending time with the family,” Nick Blodgett said. “Just enjoying each other’s company.”

They particularly enjoyed the log rolling where two “lumber jills” see who can stay atop a log as it spins while floating in a pool of water.

“I wanted to get in there,” Lydia Blodgett said, beneath the hot sun.

Lydia Blodgett said her favorite attractions are the animals, petting zoo, rabbit exhibits and cattle.

“I raise animals and I used to live in the country so I like seeing all the different livestock,” she said.

However, the Blodgetts said they will not be seeing the pig races this year.

“We saw that last year, thought it was boring – to be honest,” Lydia Blodgett said, laughing.

Although the Blodgetts love the festivities and plan to keep coming back, they had one complaint.

“We wish the food was cheaper,” Lydia Blodgett said. “That’s the only thing. I’d eat a lot more if it was cheaper.”