The Colorado State Fair Aims To Balance Tradition With New Acts

August 14, 2019
Carnival rides are part of the attraction each year at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.Carnival rides are part of the attraction each year at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC
Carnival rides are part of the attraction each year at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.

The Colorado State Fair is finalizing preparations for its late August opening. The theme of this year's 11-day expo is "Horsin' Around in Pueblo since 1869," and celebrates 150 years since the fair's first horse shows.

Scott Stoller is the general manager for the fair, and he says even though attendance was down last year, general attendance has largely ticked upwards. He says a growing focus has been balancing longstanding tradition with new acts and vendors.

Some new contributions this year include a feature on tattoo art, as well as homebrew and poetry competitions. Some long-standing elements include pig races, art displays, monster truck tours, horse shows, and a mix of new and familiar food vendors.

Colorado State Fair General Manager Scott StollerCredit Scott Stoller, LinkedIn / LinkedIn
Colorado State Fair General Manager Scott Stoller

"We try to balance change to make sure we're not switching out too much, but [one of the things] people will notice is some new food stands this year."

For example, the 2019 fair will include a food vendor selling buckets of cookies, modeled after one at the Minnesota State Fair. The first world slopper-eating championship will also take place, involving cheeseburgers smothered in chili. Some other first-time offerings this year include an 80-foot high-dive show and a large-scale balloon artist whose work has included a functional Ferris wheel.

"Any family can come here, no matter what the generations that are in that family and there should be something here for the whole family to enjoy," Stoller said. "People ask us what our demographic is and I just say 'everybody.'"

He said he hopes to reflect the diverse interests of Coloradans and take note of which events gain or lose the interest of patrons.

As for the entertainment lineup, music acts include big staples from rock, Tejano, and country music scenes. The Beach Boys, Mexican artist Ramon Ayala, and country music star Brett Young are among those featured. Animal behavior and autism expert Temple Grandin is also set to give a talk.

The Colorado State Fair runs from Aug. 23 - Sept. 2 in Pueblo. 

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