This year’s Colorado State Fair had increased attendance and food profits and even a bit of art controversy

Shanna Lewis/KRCC News
The new Prairie Avenue entrance gate on the west side of the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo (August 27, 2022)

Total attendance at the 2022 Colorado State Fair in Pueblo was up from last year, but not by much. Preliminary reports released by the fair show that more than 461,000 people attended the eleven-day event. That’s a one percent increase over last year. 

Colorado State Fair general manager Scott Stoller said they’re pleased with that outcome.

“Last year by all metrics was a success. So to beat success is definitely a good thing,” he said.

Organizers were concerned about the cancellation of a major concert by the band Lady A just before the fair began, according to Stoller, as well as reduced hours. But he said, nearly 70,000 people turned out for Fiesta Day on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. That’s the highest one-day attendance since at least 2011.

Food revenue was up about 15 percent, Stoller said. He attributed that to rising prices due to inflation. He said some of the new activities and events were popular, like the new barn tours.

“Ag is definitely at the core of what we do,” he said. “(The tours) explain the processes and why things are happening for the layman and help us communicate what's going on here at the fair with the general public.”

This year's annual Junior Livestock auction raised a total of $491,000, which is down from last year. Those funds go to the youth competitors and are often used to pay for college tuition and expenses.

The fair got some national attention, too. A controversy about the digital arts competition went viral, because the winning piece was created by artificial intelligence. Stoller said fair staff handled it well and, “it was kind of fun to be, as the Washington Post stated it, the Colorado State Fair was a unique location to write the latest chapter in art history.”

This year marked the 150th anniversary of the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.

Editor's Note: CPR/KRCC is a media sponsor of the Colorado State Fair.