The Colorado State Fair Is Ready To Return In 2021 After The Pandemic Closed Down Most Activities Last Year

A more traditional Colorado State Fair — complete with concerts, cows, corn dogs, crazy competitions and carousels — is back on tap in Pueblo this summer, as long as the COVID-19 situation in the state continues to improve. 

Colorado State Fair general manager Scott Stoller said his team is excited and optimistic.

“Also we're rooted and grounded in reality," he said. "So we know, like everybody else, over the last 18 months, (we have) learned that things can change.”

The fairgrounds were used earlier this year for a mass COVID vaccination site. Now, Stoller said there’s already plenty of familiar activities happening at the 102-acre facility, including smaller events like weddings or quinceaneras and large ones like the Rocky Mountain Street Rod Nationals car show that typically draws huge crowds.

In a normal year, hundreds of thousands of people attend the 11-day Colorado State Fair. But last year, pandemic restrictions closed down most of the usual activities.

The youth livestock shows and sales were able to go on at reduced capacity, according to Stoller.

"We were also able to do a drive-through fair food event, which kind of kept the spirit of the fair alive. That was a very, very popular event,” he said. 

It turns out that it wasn’t just the food that was popular. So many people were online watching live streams of the cars waiting in line to get the food, “it was burying all of our other content on our social platforms, so we moved that to our website,” Stoller said. 

“Who knew a traffic jam for drive-thru food would be so intriguing?”

Another popular live stream last year was the slopper eating contest. It featured some of the world’s best-known Major League Eaters, including champion eater Joey Chestnut, who ended up in second place.

For this year, the theme is “All Roads Lead To The Colorado State Fair.” Stoller said he hopes that Coloradans “from all four corners and every big and large town in between can come to the state fair and participate in our livestock event, the gathering and cultural activities.”

He said they want people to feel comfortable since no one has been to the fair since 2019.

“We think it's really important that we make it as familiar as possible since it's two years strange,” he said.

So the whole family can watch the livestock shows; prize-winning vegetables, jams and pies will be on display; and concerts, carnival rides, monster trucks and the rodeo will rev up when the fair opens on Aug. 27.