All Creatures Great and Small at the North Country Fair


  • Photo by Mark Larson

Arcata hosts a few festivals each year to which pretty much the whole community turns out. Revelers stream through the plaza's four corners to spend the day weaving through the crowds, perusing craft and food booths, twirling to music in the closed-off streets, eating, drinking and lounging on the grass. The most colorful of the lot is upon us this weekend: the 44th annual North Country Fair, brought to you by the Same Old People, happening Sept. 16-17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days (free). The event celebrates the fall equinox and diversity of the community. This year's theme is a timely one: Sanctuary For All, sending the message that the festival has always been and continues to be a welcoming and safe space for all beings — human, flora and fauna.

This North Country Fair has plentiful booths, myriad local food delights, kids activities, live music and beer. But what sets it apart from its goodtime counterparts are its signature parades: the All-Species Parade, led by the Northcoast Environmental Center happening Saturday at 1 p.m., where tall puppets, stilt walkers and folks adorned with masks, fur, feather and scales delight spectators of all ages, and the Samba Parade on Sunday at 1 p.m. led by Samba da Alegria with its rhythmic drumming and hip-shaking dancers.

The festival is a zero-waste event, leading the charge for change in that area. Organizers ask that you bring a reusable cup/bottle for your drinks. And while all creatures are honored and celebrated, pets fare better away from all the excitement. Please leave your dogs at home.

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