A two-day festival celebrating rural life in the Rocky Mountain West continues to grow as it enters its fourth year.
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, 3510 S. Third St. One-day admission is $10 at the gate or a weekend entry is $16 . There’s a discount for those 65 and older and with advance purchase. Children 12 and younger are admitted for free.
The fair is organized by Feeding Laramie Valley with the goal of showcasing the culture and spirit of people and communities in Western states and among tribal nations.
“We’re celebrating tradition and innovation in the rural Rocky Mountain region,” said Gayle Woodsum, executive director of the Higher Ground Fair.
Woodsum said the fair is unique because combines elements of a music festival, state fair and cultural event in one place.
“We’re bringing it together — it’s art, music, food, artistry, animals, ag, gardening,” she said. “It’s a way people can go and see all kinds of things they may never have seen before and talk to all kinds of people.
New this year, world-champion quilter and Laramie resident Sherry Reynolds will have six quilts on display at the Higher Ground Fair Quilt Show. Last fall, Reynolds was awarded Best in Show for her quilt “Eternal Beauty” at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. The award was the highest honor at the largest quilt show in the world.
While “Eternal Beauty” won’t be on display this weekend, “Let It Shine,” a Reynolds creation that won the same award in 2012, will be. Several dozen other examples of the traditional craft of quilting will also be on display.
No fair would be complete without music, and the Higher Ground line-up includes two stages packed with performances throughout the weekend from emerging and established artists from the region. Acts include REX Peoples and X Factr, Jacob Larson Band, Sandy Wells Band, J Shogren, The Who Do’s, Los Bohemios and Hazel Miller Band. The Wind River Dancers from Fort Washakie are scheduled to perform at noon Saturday.
The fair also includes a juried artist marketplace, beer and wine garden and kids area. Workshops, demonstrations and speakers are organized into categories including outdoor living, social action, agriculture and ranching and shelter and energy.
Animals set to be in attendance include raptors, draft horses, therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, goats, llamas and alpacas. New this year, children can earn an explorer badge by visiting different areas of the fair.
Re-enactors from the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver will be at the fair representing and range of historic figures. Presentations and workshops will be going all day long on both days, many drawing from exhibits and displays.
Spirit of the Sun, a Colorado-based youth organization that works with Native American communities, will have a booth at the fair and bring a group of members.
“This will be their first time,” Woodsum said.
Woodsum said she hopes visitors, performers, presenters and volunteers will each be able to learn something new and go home inspired to take action in a new way.
“It’s really about community sustainability,” she said.