A celebration of rural life is coming to Laramie this weekend, complete with music, food, demonstrations, vendors, activities for children and more.
The Higher Ground Fair is scheduled to run from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the Albany County Fairgrounds. Admission is $10 per day or $16 for the weekend. Admission is free for children 12 and younger.
Now in its second year, the fair celebrates the traditions and innovations found in the Rocky Mountain region, said founder Gayle Woodsum, who also leads Feeding Laramie Valley, which is organizing the fair.
“In a two-day regional celebration of Rocky Mountain rural living, we’re bringing together the greatest possible mix of interests, perspectives, ideas and fun, with something of appeal for everyone,” she said.
More than a dozen speakers and demonstrations are scheduled for the weekend. Topics include women in music, dark sky health, beekeeping, search-and-rescue dogs, genetically modified organisms, permaculture, gardening, draft horses, meditation, renewable energy and watersheds.
“We want people to learn new things but also to build upon things they already know,” said Marissa Stanger with Feeding Laramie Valley. “We hope that can be done with the different exhibits we have.”
Animals are a big part of rural life, and the Higher Ground Fair will feature llamas, alpacas, horses and dogs. There will also be performances by local Irish dance, belly dance, folk dance and improv groups. Folk artists such as jewelers, furniture makers and photographers will have their work on display.
Social action groups from around the region will have informational booths at the fair, along with dozens of other vendors, which Stanger said could be a way for people to learn about volunteer opportunities in their community.
“We want people to view it as a networking fair and a chance to learn a lot of new things about the region,” she said.
In the Kids’ Adventure Zone, children can try an obstacle course, join in a daily parade, dig for artifacts, play games and make crafts.
“It’s a way for them to get their hands dirty and learn about what’s going on in the region for them,” she said.
A full slate of musicians from the region are scheduled to play during the weekend, including local groups such as J Shogren Shanghai’d and Whiskey Slaps, alongside popular regional acts such as Patti Fiasco, Hazel Miller Band and Los Bohemios.
“The stage is at the center of it all, so wherever you are at the fair you’ll be able to hear the music,” Stanger said.
Food trucks from the region will be available, with an emphasis on locally-sourced offerings.
“That’s really important to us,” Stanger said.
Feeding Laramie Valley is a nonprofit organization that collects and produces fresh produce to share with the community. The group also focuses on food and health research, entrepreneurial development and other programs that promote food security.