Livestock shows, carnival rides and wacky fried foods are typical reasons people go to the Colorado State Fair, which opens Friday in Pueblo and runs through Labor Day.
But according to Colorado State Fair general manager Scott Stoller, as of earlier in the week, concert ticket sales were up 40 to 50 percent ahead of last year and some shows are sold out. The big-name lineup includes country music’s Lady A, rapper Lil Jon and classic rocker Pat Benatar among others.
“Concert sales are going off the charts this year,” he said. “If the trend stays, we're going to have a phenomenal fair this year.”
Discounted general admission ticket presales outpaced last year’s numbers too, Stoller said.
The fair began more than 150 years ago as a livestock exhibition. Supporting agriculture, especially for youth, is still a primary part of the fair’s mission, according to Stoller. He said as long as the weather cooperates, he expects around half a million people to come to the 11-day event this year.
“At the end of the day, attendance is just a number,” he said. “We are a mission-based organization and focusing on that is our priority. But we also do need to pay the bills. So we do like a lot of people to turn out and support our mission.”
Along with rodeos, parades, statewide marching band performances and art shows, the fair includes all kinds of other attractions from a giant sand sculpture to stunt dog, trapeze and lumberjack exhibitions. There’s also the World Slopper Eating Championship, demolition derby and the annual Fiesta Day celebration on Labor Day weekend.
Fairgoers will also see new improvements on the west side of the grounds between the historic Palace of Agriculture building and the Prairie Avenue entrance. The area was redone last year, as part of a master plan to renovate the entire fairgrounds.
Stoller said it fixed some blighted and potentially unsafe areas. “There (were) places where you probably could lose a shoe if you stepped in the wrong spot,” he said.
Now he describes it as “a gorgeous, thoughtfully designed space” that combines paved areas with grass and trees to create “a definition of space and a lot of places to mingle and enjoy the fair.”
Editor's note: The Colorado State Fair is a financial supporter of KRCC, but has no editorial influence.
More Colorado State Fair coverage
- Colorado State Fair marks 150 years in Pueblo: The past, present and future of the fair
- Farm animals, flowing mullets, and sloppers: Scenes from the 150th Colorado State Fair’s opening weekend in Pueblo
- It’s Business (Almost) As Usual At The 2021 Colorado State Fair In Pueblo
- Photos From Colorado’s State Fair Opening Weekend
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