The Colorado State Fair rolls into its 126th year amid controversy
The 2018 Colorado State Fair kicked off its 126th year last weekend and rolls into this weekend with an entertainment lineup that is destined to entertain the thousands of visitors that will stroll through Pueblo this weekend.
The main attraction on Thursday is comedian Larry the Cable Guy whose down-home take on life in America has been entertaining his followers for decades. His stand up show will begin at 7 pm in the Southwest Motors Events Center.
Speaking of entertaining the masses for decades, rocker Joan Jett and her band The Black Hearts make their way to the main stage at the Southwest Motors Events Center on Friday night to play chart-topping classics like “I Love Rock and Roll”, “Crimson and Clover” and “I Hate Myself For Loving You”. Tickets to both events are on sale through the Colorado State Fair website www.coloradostatefair.com.
Latin flavors will embrace the concert stages on Sunday - known on the fairgrounds as Fiesta Day - with Albuquerque’s own Lorenzo Antonio at the Southwest Motor Events Center as well as La Original Band El Limón following the Celebración de Los Charros rodeo event at the Budweiser Rodeo Arena. Those concert events will begin at 6 and 7 pm, respectively and form part of the 52nd Fiesta Day at the Colorado State Fair.
Fiesta Day has been of part of the State Fair since 1967 and features music, dancing, art and the presentation of the Fiesta Queen. The commotion begins on Sunday during the Fiesta Day Parade and continues into the evening with the Celebration de los Charros.
In a state known for major festivals and events, the Colorado State Fair actually precedes the state itself having traced its origins to 1869, or eight years before Colorado officially joined the United States. In 1869 approximately 2,000 people converged in what is now known as Pueblo for a horse exhibition. That celebration became annual and, eight years later, when Colorado joined the nation as its 38th state, the “State Fair” became its official title.
Though some ramblings about the fair moving out of Pueblo have grown louder over the years, including some state legislatures who have suggested that the best option to fix the fair’s cash flow problems is a change of venue, Pueblo continues to maintain its place as the only home of the Colorado State Fair. During its history in Pueblo, the State Fair has only seen one cancellation - that being in 1917 during World War I when the horse stables and open spaces used for the fairgrounds were utilized by the Army National Guard as training grounds.
Though the mountain ranges across the western slope and down to the four corners have brought their share of festivals - not to mention the multiple weekend events occurring in or near Denver throughout the year - the Colorado State Fair continues to be one of the largest events in the state and one of the largest fairs in the Mountain West.
“Part of it is the attraction for families,” said Karen DeMeier, who has made the trek from Arvada to Pueblo every year since 1996 with her family for the State Fair. “There are a lot of events that claim to be ‘family friendly’ and then they end up just being a bouncy castle in corner surrounded by fighting drunks.”
Some of the more family-friendly events include the butterfly encounter at the Cultural Heritage Building. The walk-through exhibit contains hundreds of active butterflies that brighten up the room with their colors and continuous flight. Mind Works! Is another family-friendly attraction featuring a collection of puzzles, giant classic games like chess, checkers or Chutes and Ladders as well as a bubble arena, construction zone and a toddler area designed to test minds through STEM-based problem solving.