Ramsey County Fair 2019

 

Rosefest 2019 - A Special Section published by Lillie Suburban Newspapers
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The 106th annual Ramsey County Fair ... A long-standing tradition! 

Every family has its own traditions. Traditions for celebrating the holidays, birthdays and special events. County fairs have been a long-standing tradition in the community. Back in the day when towns were not very large, county fairs emerged. It was a time, after a long season of hard work, for community members to gather and celebrate with their neighbors. 

County fairs have evolved with the changing times, adapting to changing communities. The Ramsey County Fair, celebrating its 106th year, has had its changes, but also realizes the value of traditions and has strived to keep as many traditions as possible for families to pass along to future generations. 

While many county fairs have had to start charging a fee for admission, Ramsey County remains one of the few free admission fairs, charging only a $3 parking fee — if you should park in the lot. The Ramsey County Fair has also striven to include affordable food vendors and amusement rides each year making it a budget-friendly way for a family to come and celebrate with its neighbors.

There is something for everyone at the fair: music, entertainment, food, rides, 4-H displays, exhibits of food, and crafts

This year’s fair begins at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, and closes at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, July 14. The fair’s “kickoff” — the White Bear Avenue parade, starts at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, beginning at Ivy Avenue and traveling north to Aldrich Arena. 

You can be part of the fair as well. Maybe you have a family recipe that you love to make, or a work of art, whether it’s something you have sewn, quilted, knitted or painted. You never know, you just may win that prestigious county fair blue ribbon. Do you have a special talent? Be sure to enter the Ramsey County Fair’s amateur talent contest — winners get to compete in the State Fair competition. Or maybe you would just enjoy sitting back and listening to some good music in the shade, with a lemonade in one hand and cotton candy in the other. 

Kids — have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be a farmer? Check out the “Farmer for the Day” exhibit or check out the activities presented by the folks from Gibbs Farm Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life. 

Of course, you can’t beat the fun at the carnival and midway.

For more information on events, contests and schedules visit the Ramsey County Fair website at www.ramseycountyfair.org. The five-day fair takes place in Maplewood at the intersection of White Bear and Frost avenues.

 

Calling all DIY-ers and Pinterest fans: It’s your time to shine

Have you made a craft or recipe in the past year that you are ready to show the world at the Ramsey County Fair? 

Here’s your opportunity — whether it’s a painting, needlework, photography or your secret recipe for strawberry rhubarb jam — you could be eligible to win cash prizes (and ribbons, too). 

There are categories for arts and crafts, painting, stamping, sewing, knitting, clothing, photography, home furnishings, plants, flowers, vegetables, foods and more.

Exhibits must have been made or grown by the exhibitor anytime from Aug. 1, 2018, through July 9, 2019. All entries will be accepted for display in the general exhibit area on the fairgrounds between 5 and 8 p.m. on Monday, July 8, or between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9. Food items will also be accepted on Wednesday, July 10, from 8 to 10 a.m. and horticulture items accepted Thursday morning, July 11, from 7 to 10 a.m. All exhibits must remain at the fair for the duration of the fair.

For more information call Sharon Stillings at 651-633-8577. For an application and exhibitor information visit the Ramsey County Fair website at www.ramseycountyfair.com.

 

40-year tradition carries on through Los Alegres Bailadores

Mexican folkloric dance group performing at Ramsey County Fair

Marjorie Otto

news editor

 

Becky Moran Cusick has practiced traditional Mexican dance all her life, starting out as a student and now teaching others. 

She established the Mexican folkloric dance group Los Alegres Bailadores — “the happy dancers” — in 1977, and today it remains a foundational part of St. Paul’s West Side community. 

The group is performing at the Ramsey County Fair on its last day, Sunday, July 14.

Cusick, along with four other maestras — teachers — work with students as young as 3, all the way through adults. She teaches out of the West Side’s Our Lady Guadalupe Church, the same place her aunt taught classes when she was a kid. 

Cusick learned Mexican folkloric dances from her mother and that aunt, who were born in Mexico. As a teen, Cusick knew she wanted to study more of it, and at 17 her parents supported her to travel to Mexico for a summer. There, she studied at el Palacio de Bellas Arts with Amalia Hernandez, in Mexico City. 

She learned from several teachers that summer, but one in particular stood out: maestro Tizoc Fuentes Yaco. Cusick enjoyed his teaching style and at the end of her first summer planned to return to Mexico City in a few years’ time to study with him again. 

However, when she returned and went to sign up for classes, she learned he no longer taught there. She was “crushed,” she says. 

Cusick eventually learned from a janitor at el Palacio that Yaco had started his own dance studio a few blocks away. She found it and spent the rest of her career studying and working with him. 

When Cusick started her own school in St. Paul, she and Yaco worked together to create workshops where her students could study with him in Mexico, and he could come to Minnesota to teach. Yaco’s wife also studied Mexican folkloric dance, bringing an academic aspect to the dance classes. 

For some 30 years, Cusick and Yaco worked together doing workshops and creating opportunities for her students to travel to Mexico.

Yaco passed away a year ago, but one of his children, Zodoc, has continued his father and mother’s work of teaching and researching Mexican folkloric dance. He continues to work with Cusick as well, just recently wrapping up a group of workshops. 

Cusick says it’s fun working with Zodoc, since she’s known him his whole life and watched him grow up.

“It’s a blessing he took up his parents’ work.”

 

‘Show what Mexico 

has to offer’

Los Alegres Bailadores reaches across generations in more ways than one — Cusick often teaches children of former students and has adult students who continue to learn for decades. Today, Cusick has anywhere from 80 to 100 students enrolled in the group.

“It’s really touching to have students come back and bring their children,” she says. 

Cusick says her students are what make the group a success — from the parents who support their children and volunteer at events, to the adults who come back year after year to learn more, “without them it wouldn’t have been what it is.”

While St. Paulites can be familiar with Los Alegres, Cusick says the group has been traveling more widely to share its traditional  Mexican dances. This will be its third or fourth time performing at the Ramsey County Fair.

“I really believe people are now interested in diversity,” Cusick says, noting that in the past, it wasn’t as easy to book shows and that viewers were much more reserved. 

Nowadays, the group’s schedule is packed with performances at events like St. Paul Saints baseball games, Timberwolves games and soccer matches. Cusick says viewers ask all kinds of questions and that Los Alegres Bailadores’ shows “just put a smile on people’s faces.”

Dancers wear colorful outfits that correspond to their dance and the Mexican state from which it comes, something Cusick says is always viewers’ favorite part.

“In Mexico, folkloric dances tell stories,” she says, pointing out it’s especially true for children’s dances, with the movements imitating birds and other animals. 

For older dancers, the performances may not tell a story — they’re more a representation of tradition. 

Mexico has 31 states, meaning Cusick and her fellow maestras teach a variety of dances. She says many Americans are most familiar with the mariachi dance and music tradition, which comes from the west coast state of Jalisco. Mariachi most often features guitars and trumpets, but may include other instruments as well.

“The importance is we show our audiences what Mexico has to offer,” Cusick says.

Los Alegres Bailadores will be performing at the Ramsey County Fair on Sunday, July 14, at 12:30 p.m. For more information about the group and its classes, visit www.losalegresbailadores.com.

–Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com.

 

Ramsey County’s next big star

Do you have what it takes to be the next big star? The 106th annual Ramsey County Fair talent contest is now taking applications from those who wish to compete in this year’s amateur talent show on Sunday, July 14, at 3 p.m. Winners of each category will go on to represent Ramsey County at the Minnesota State Fair.

The competition categories are: pre-teen for ages 12 and under; teens for ages 13 through 18; and open class for all ages. Any type of talent may enter; contestants can perform individually or with a group. 

Registration must be received before the deadline of Saturday, July 13 at 5 p.m. (no exceptions). The entry fee of $10 must accompany the registration form. For more information on rules or a registration form visit www.ramseycountyfair.com.

 

Show off your pet

Kids ages 5 through 19 are invited to participate in the Youth Pet Show at the Ramsey County Fair on Thursday, July 11, at 6:30 p.m., with registration at 6 p.m., in the Pet Show tent.

All pets are eligible  dogs, cats, hamsters, birds and rabbits, etc. All animals need to be leashed/caged while on the fair grounds. There will be prizes and trophies awarded. Categories of competition include: most knowledgeable youth; largest pet; smallest pet; pet with the most hair; pet with the most fur; pet with the most feathers; youth and pet who most resemble each other; most unique pet; best dressed pet; 4-H Youth with the best pet; Grand Champion pet; Reserve Champion pet.

For more information, call the Ramsey County Fair office at 651-770-2626.more information, call the Ramsey County Fair office at 651-770-2626.

 

Click here for more information on the many Ramsey County Fair activities!


 

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