When the New Mexico State Fair blows into town each year, I begin to yearn for the smell of smoked turkey legs while waiting to ride roller coasters and ferris wheels in the midway. After the metallic machinery whips and whirls the summer blues away, emerges the no-brainer to bury my face into powdered sugar with a side of funnel cake. The next logical step would be to let off some steam by chucking softballs at beer bottles for a quick thrill that may result in the adoption of a cheap stuffed animal.

Since 1938, Expo New Mexico has housed the yearly celebration of community artisanship, agriculture, cultural traditions and churros. Not quite sure if churros have been among the state fair’s oldest traditions, but for this 20-something-year-old mesa dweller, the annual pilgrimage to southeast Albuquerque must be accompanied by aguas frescas, fair rides and fried pastries.

The yearly passage through the tunnels underneath Tingley Coliseum and the Downs Racetrack introduces visitors and community members to an array of vendors, exhibits and attractions. The New Mexico State Fair is so much more than a chance to stuff my face and blow off some steam. The fair has become a place for friends and families to share in simple, sometimes sugar-coated, indulgences that quickly become memories — not to mention a precursor to Albuquerque’s fiesta season, that ushers inhabitants and travelers toward the end of the year.

Text by Kevin Maestas and images by Kevin Maestas and Cameron Goeldner

Kevin Maestas and Cameron Goeldner are staff photographers at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at photo@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @chunkfu_kevin or @geoldfinger, respectively.