While most of us were learning to use a pencil, Kylene Collette’s parents were entering her drawings to a state fair in her native South Africa. Her first entry was a drawing of a cow—and she placed second.
From there, Kylene progressed to other animals and objects, eventually pursuing a full-time career as an artist, illustrator, and designer. Now the recent immigrant and campus interior designer at Boise State is competing for the second year in a row at the Western Idaho Fair.
“I was illustrating a book for a woman I met through Craigslist,” she recalls. “I had recently picked my oil painting back up, and she told me that I should submit it to the Fair. So I did.”
She was immediately impressed by the caliber of the work on display, as well as the great attendance and enthusiasm.
“I love all the arts exhibits—I love seeing other people succeed, and watching people who may not be artists by trade step out of their comfort zones to put their work on display. That takes a lot of guts.”
And for someone who’s new to the area, she really loves all the support she’s received from the arts community and the region overall.
“I can't say enough about how much I love Boise! There is just such a spirit of positivity and community. People here seem to really embrace life and live every day to the fullest!”
Come live your life to the fullest at this year’s Fair, August 19-28. And when you do, make sure to stop by and say hi to Kylene—and all of the artists on display at the Exhibitor Hall.
Our second out of 5 ways to enjoy the Western Idaho Fair is everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure, and possibly the experience that makes the Fair Famous: food. From elephant ears to corn dogs, swirly fries to the ice cream potato, the Fair is the perfect spot to indulge a little in the fried goodness you’ve been craving all summer.
Take a walk with us down food alley to see some of what the Fair has to offer—and then plan your Fair meals accordingly!
The Western Idaho Fair is famous for good, clean family fun. And if you’re on a budget, there’s no better value in town. For just the price of admission ($7 for adults and $4 for children before August 18), the Fair delivers this summer’s greatest acts. Here’s the lineup:
Manning the info booth at the Fair might sound like a boring job to some. But for the women in the Garden Valley Mustang Sallies horse drill team, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon—and raise money for their passion.
The Mustang Sallies are a group of friends from Garden Valley who share a love of riding. A number of them have been working the info booth at the Fair since 2007 as a fundraiser for the team to purchase equipment, and pay competition expenses. When the horse drilling competition came to the Fair a few years back, they were delighted to compete at the Fair in addition to working the booth, according to Karen Viehweg, the team’s treasurer.
“We all like to do it so much that some of the gals who are not able to ride still want to do the info booth,” she confirms. “We just love seeing people, some year after year, and making their day at the Fair enjoyable.”
Mustang Sallies compete in two Light Horse competitions at the Fair: the four-woman “quad” competition, and the eight- to twelve-person team freestyle competition. In each event, the team is judged on how well they execute their routines, hold formations, and on the behavior of the horses overall.
Music choice is an essential component because horses love good beats, explains team president Mary Jo Dawson. “The horse will lope to the beat of the music—the faster the music, the faster the horse will move. And routines look better when they’re done faster.”
Any dancer will tell you that developing choreography requires lots of time and practice. Horse choreography, then, requires training the horse in addition to team coordination, communication, and practice. Many teams work the majority of the year to get ready for the Fair. But without an indoor arena, weather in the Garden Valley area prevents the Mustang Sallies from getting together much more than three or four months in advance of the contest.
Winning isn’t the most important thing, though. “We all enjoy the competition, and it’s a great, supportive riding community,” says Mary Jo. “Mostly we all do it to become more confident riders and for the fun.”
So this year, if you’re feeling lost, or just want a friendly chat, visit the info booth to say hi to the Sallies. Then come cheer them on at their competitions on August 25.