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Make plans for the 98th Inter-Mountain Fair

Article and photos by Alex Colvin
09/10/15 – From September 3-7, the 97th Annual Inter-Mountain fair featured five days of events, competitions, exhibits, and fun. This is a major family-friendly event involving sponsors, businesses, volunteers, and participants from throughout the Intermountain area. It is a showcase of the life, work, and creativity of the people and towns of the Pit River Basin in Northern California and draws tens of thousands of visitors each year. Here is a tiny fraction of what you missed...

Sculpture in the school art exhibit
Sculpture in the school art exhibit

Because the five day fair offered such a large array of events, I knew I could not take it all in. Just as when one goes to a smorgasbord, one can't eat all of the dishes, so in attending the fair each person has a unique experience. Here I share my taste of the fair.

Saturday afternoon on the fairway
Saturday afternoon on the fairway

My wife Linda and I went on Thursday morning because I wanted to get pictures of the horse show. I watched the English and Western classes and was particularly thrilled to see the performance of Bendito, one of the finest horses in the United States.

Johan-Nass riding Bendito
Johan-Nass riding Bendito

"Bendito" in Spanish means "Blessed One." This beautiful Andalusian horse is owned and trained by Kim Johan-Nass who moved to Fall River Valley 20 years ago and loves it here.

Johan-Nass and Bendito taking a break
Johan-Nass and Bendito taking a break

When I told Johan-Nass that I had never seen a horse with such a steady temperament, she just laughed and said, "He's so fun!"

The other horses and riders also gave excellent performances. The competition was spirited and friendly. Bendito and Johan-Nass won multiple blue ribbons, which were handed out by the delightful Intermountain Queen and her First and Second Princess.

Inter-Mountain Fair Royalty Alesha Johnson, Taryn Gagnon, and Baylee Berlt at the horse show
Inter-Mountain Fair Royalty Alesha Johnson, Taryn Gagnon, and Baylee Berlt at the horse show

Around 12:30 p,m, there was a lunch break in the horse show and we took the opportunity to visit some of the exhibits and grab a bite to eat.

As we were enjoying a corn dog and polish sausage during our break, Linda Corr came by to invite us to Albaugh Hall for a sampling of baked goods.

Blue Ribbon volunteer Linda Corr
Blue Ribbon volunteer Linda Corr

Kevin and Linda Corr were chosen as Inter-Mountain Fair Blue Ribbon winners for 30 years of service to the fair. The fair has been integral to their lives. Over the years, Kevin has been the Fairground's maintenance supervisor, announced the Inter-Mountain Fair parade, and helped with security. Linda has been an active participant and volunteer in a myriad affairs and events.

Boys on bungees
Boys on bungees

On Saturday, we returned to the fair. We had volunteered to man the art show from 7-10 p.m. My wife had entered some photography in the professional division and I had entered some paintings and poetry. We came early to see the animals and get more pictures.

One of the things that really impressed me about the fair is how much fun the children were having. There were numerous activities for kids, young and old.
Having a ball in a ball
Having a ball in a ball

For the first time, the fair had a children's circus with clowns.

Swan Brothers presenting a swan
Swan Brothers presenting a swan

For the amusement of young and old there was also a comedy show on the fairway.

Hollywood on Wheels
Hollywood on Wheels
Adults were also joining in the fun.
Woman climbing rock wall
Woman climbing rock wall

When I got to the stock pens, I was able to see and meet some of the prize winners. Young Austin Prichett from Aden had won the award for 4H Grand Champion Steer for his steer Outlaw that he had raised from a calf.

Austin Prichett with Outlaw his 4H Grand Champion Steer
Austin Prichett with Outlaw his 4H Grand Champion Steer

Nathan Dougherty from Burney 4H got a blue ribbon for Dixie, his Southdown market class lamb, as well as a ribbon for Polly for wool-bearing sheep and a blue ribbon for his Olde English Game/Serama cross chickens.

Dixie the prize-winning market lamb
Dixie the prize-winning market lamb

There were many fine animals. Here's the Grand Prize Market Hog raised by Triston Welander.

Welander's Grand Champion Market Hog
Welander's Grand Champion Market Hog

The quilt show in Ingram Hall amazed me. Kaye Burns from McArthur won best of show for a machine quilted illustration of Pegasus. The artwork and design were original.

Best of Show Large Quilt By Kaye Burns
Best of Show Large Quilt By Kaye Burns

The annual Boster Award for best hand-made quilt went to Jeanne Danielson from Montgomery Creek.

Best hand-made quilt
Best hand-made quilt

Making my way to the art show, I picked up a delicious barbequed shrimp kebab and sat for awhile to listen to one of the bands. The music was excellent. The singer was soulful and expressive and the lead guitar player was fantastic.

Band at the Fair
Band at the Fair

This was one of several bands that played throughout the evening. As the band finished, I went into the art show where Linda and I worked with Rose Peer from Intermountain Artists for the next three hours to greet people as they came to view the display of paintings, photography, drawings, art crafts, and poetry.

Best of Show at the Inter-Mountain Fair Art Show by James Pell

Best of Show at the Inter-Mountain Fair Art Show by James Pell

There was a steady flow of viewers throughout the evening. Linda cheerfully encouraged people to vote for the "Give it your best shot" category in which the public decided the winners.

Patty Williams, the 2015 Honorary Mayor of Burney stopped for a while to chat. I was fascinated to learn that she had grown up in Arizona. She said that as a child she loved it when the tarantulas came out.

"If you touched them with a stick, they would jump way up in the air." she said, holding her hand up to show how high they would leap."

Photography and Art
Photography and Art

We also had a delightful conversation with rancher Tim DeAtley and his daughter Haylee about the history of the Intermountain area. Tim was able to tell us about several of the people in the photographs which made the photos come alive.


One of the things that I love about the fair is the friendly atmosphere and the people one meets. As Shakespeare said, "Make new friends but keep the old, the one is silver the other gold."

We met people from Redding and Sacramento. Kay Nichols and other friends from Round Mountain came through and commented on the artwork and photography.

Before the day’s events ended, I had a chance to get out and shoot a few pictures of the carnival.

Everyone loves a carnival
Everyone loves a carnival

On Monday, Linda and I headed back to the fair to pick up our entries. Between the two of us we collected 11 first and second place ribbons. We also had a chance to visit the flower show and the exhibition of school art.

Garden Shop in the Flower exhibit
Garden Shop in the Flower exhibit

So much work from so many people went into making this year's Inter-Mountain Fair a success carrying on a great tradition going back to 1918 when Roderick McArthur, W.J. Albaugh and James R. Day organized the first fair with a rodeo in the McArthur corrals and exhibits in George Rose’s barn. The spirit of cooperation and commitment continues. The Grand Marshall of this year's fair was Shirley McArthur who has participated in the fair for 71 years. In the Fall River Valley and surrounding areas, so many people have grown up with and contributed to maintaining the tradition.

Volunteers at the school art exhibit
Volunteers at the school art exhibit

It was an honor and a pleasure to attend and participate in the 97th annual fair. This article shares my taste of a great tradition. Yet, it is just a small taste. What did I miss? What did I leave out?

The Parade, the Monster Truck Show, the Demolition Derby, the Junior Rodeo, the Lady's Lead, the stock auctions, small animal shows, many of the displays, the Friday evening concerts, and so much more. As I said in the beginning, the Inter-Mountain Fair offers so much that no one person can take it all in. It is the contributions and experiences of everyone combined that makes it so great.

Next year, you will have to come and experience it for yourself.

For additional information about this area, visit our Intermountain-Hat Creek page.

Alex Colvin is co-owner of The Lace Gallery in Burney, California. He previously wrote for non-profit corporations in the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Since returning to Burney, where he has deep family roots, Alex and his wife Linda have dedicated themselves to exploring and photographing the natural beauty of Northern California.

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