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Serving: West

Small-town fair offers slice of Americana

Parade, ranch rodeo among happy scenes as fairgoers bid farewell to summer.

Nothing offers a unique slice of Americana like the small-town fair, where flags wave, children scream with delight, live music serenades a happy crowd and troops and first responders are thanked and honored for their service.

Among the countless activities across the country on Labor Day weekend -- the traditional (if not actual) end of summer -- was the annual Inter-Mountain Fair in tiny McArthur (population 338), a rural ranching community in the high country of northeastern California.

With the theme, "Country Skies and Family Ties," the fair held Thursday through Monday included the kinds of things that make a little country fair unique -- queen and Little Miss coronations, a "Farm Games" competition, clowns and stilt-walkers, a destruction derby and, of course, numerous livestock showings and contests leading up to Monday morning's junior livestock auction in the sale barn.

People flocked from throughout Northern California on Sunday for two of the fair's marquee events -- a noon parade down Main Street and an afternoon calf-branding and roping contest in which area ranches compete. Incidentally, McArthur's main street doubles as State Highway 299, and at least a couple of unsuspecting motorists were none too pleased about having to take the dirt-road detour around the parade on their way from Redding or Burney to Alturas, near the Oregon state line.

Here are some of the sights from the fair.

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