The parade at the Utah Navajo Fair in Bluff is definitely my favorite San Juan County parade. First of all, the weather in Bluff in mid-September is PERFECT! And now that I’m a mom (of a child with severe food allergies) I’ve started to take note of what they pass out at the parades we go to. In the past two years at the Utah Navajo Fair, not only do they give out tons of candy, but we’ve also come home with a lot of non-candy items like apples, bananas, plums, popcorn balls, bottled water, books, small toys, etc. When your child can’t eat 99% of the popular brands of candy, it’s VERY appreciated when there are non-candy items at parades! :)
The parade is on the main street in Bluff, which is Hwy. 191. If you look at a map of the town, there is no way to detour around it with the current parade route, so it completely stops north and southbound traffic for about two hours.
Probably at least once each summer since I’ve worked here, I’ve received calls on our toll-free visitor information line asking what day the parade will be, or what time it will be starting. Each time I’ve been asked this, it hasn’t been from someone who is planning to attend the parade, but from someone who will be traveling through the area and wants to make sure they make it through Bluff before the parade starts. All of these people will tell me the story of the first time they came across the parade, and of course, they will tell me how LONG the wait was.
So here’s your warning! Of course I’d recommend you should attend the parade, but if you aren’t planning to attend and you’ll be passing through Bluff the 2nd weekend of September, be sure to either make it through Bluff by about 9:30am, or don’t try to drive through until about noon!
We left for Bluff at about 8:30am hoping to get there early enough to find a decent place to park close to where we were supposed to meet our friends. We made it there in time, and drove about half the parade route before we got to the area where we were supposed to meet up. It was packed! Many people pull their vehicles off the main road and then back up to the edge of the pavement and sit in the backs of their trucks to watch the parade, so aside from driveways, the road through town is pretty much completely lined with vehicles.
The majority of parade entries this year seemed to be; motorcycles, horses, pageant royalty, and campaign floats. There really weren’t very many actual ‘floats’, but for me it’s all about my son’s enjoyment and I have a feeling that kids don’t care if they’re getting candy and toys from a political candidate, or from a decorated float- they’re just happy to be getting CANDY!
This was my son’s 3rd parade this summer. We went to the 4th of July parade in Telluride, CO and the Pioneer Day Parade a few weeks later in Monticello, but it wasn’t until this parade that he really ‘got it’. Here are a couple pictures from those parades…
Based on how much he talked about them afterwards, I know he always enjoyed himself, but being his first parades, maybe they were just a little overwhelming? But at the parade in Bluff he finally ‘got’ the candy thing.
I taught him to wave at the people in the parade so they’d throw candy to him, and he stood right on the white line with his hands ‘ready’. And of course, he got really excited every time candy was thrown in his direction! He did great for a 2-year old- he got more than a quart sized ziplock full of candy, plus some fruit, some small toys, a bottle of water, and a balloon! Not bad!
After the parade was over, we decided to let traffic die down a little and so we walked over to the Bluff Fort. I hadn’t been there in almost a year- not since their dedication ceremony, (Read my blog entry on the Bluff Fort Dedication Ceremony HERE) and if you follow this blog, I’m sure you can guess why I wanted to go to the Bluff Fort. Yep, I needed to get my zucchini cookie & toffee fix! They have some awesome baked goods at the Bluff Fort!
There was a new addition to the Bluff Fort since my last visit- in a grassy patch under a big tree, they had little wooden horses for kids to play on! There was a line of three horses, a rope, and two wooden cows about 8 feet away for the kids to practice roping on. They also had two wooden boxes nearby labeled ‘Cowboy Clothes’ and ‘Cowgirl Clothes’. Of course, my son refused to wear any of them, but I thought it was such a cute idea!
I have to say, I might have been even more excited about it than my son was! If you read my last blog entry on the Ranch Roping competition we had in Monticello a couple months ago, you’ll know about my ongoing obsession with learning to rope. It was really funny because right after I posted that blog entry, I went to a yard sale and found a steer head for $1!! My husband mounted it for me and a couple weeks ago my coworker lent me a rope and her husband came over and gave me roping lesson! The first thing I learned was the the steer head was much too large to start with, so he had me start with a bucket until I could learn how to keep my loop open. It’s been just over a month now and let’s just say that I’ve improved.
I am now good enough to rope the steer head from about 15 feet 85% of the time or so. I’m sure when I have my next lesson I’ll find out that I’m doing everything wrong, and I’ll be right back at square one, but for now, I’m happy with my progress. :)
The Bluff Fort is a great, free, family-friendly stop when visiting Bluff. If you happen to be visiting on a Friday, be sure to check out ‘Friday Night at the Fort’. From mid-spring through the fall, each Friday evening they bring in different local entertainment; musicians, storytellers, historians, etc., and put on a free performance. It’s been a very popular event, so I’d definitely recommend checking it out!
Distance from Bluff to lodging in San Juan County, Utah:
- Bluff: 0 miles/0 km
- Mexican Hat: 26 miles/42 km
- Blanding: 26 miles/ 42 km
- Monticello: 48 miles/77 km
- Monument Valley: 51 miles/82 km
- La Sal: 90 miles/ 145 km
For more information or to request travel brochures, please call Utah’s Canyon Country at: 800-574-4386
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