PUEBLO — It's day 6 of the Colorado State Fair, and attendance is up this year. Nearly 200,000 people have gone to the fair so far, and the crowds have meant a big economic boost for nearby businesses and vendors. For others, it’s also one of the biggest fundraising efforts of the year.
“With a combination of Labor Day Weekend and the fair, it does boost the business by probably 30% at least, and it brings a lot of new faces in town,” said Gene Horstman, the owner of Pueblo Liquor, which is located right next to the fair.
Horstman has owned the business for about 13 years, so he’s not new to the crowds that come in with the state fair. He says the weekends during the 11-day event, bring in the most people.
“The weekends have the biggest impact and the nights when there are concerts or special events, there will be a lot more traffic coming in,” said Horstman.
Meanwhile, volunteers work in the parking lot at his business, where every car parked for the fair, raises funds for two causes.
“It’s helping a lot. Every car that parks you're helping save a pet’s life, and the more cars that park here, the more money we can put toward our project, the more pet lives we save, the more kids we can help,” said Jerry Maestas.
Maestas volunteers to help park vehicles, and he says all of the money generated goes to Cooper's Companions and Central High School's JROTC program.
“There are a lot of dogs that come in and Cooper's Companions saves animals primarily from high-risk kill shelters,” said Maestas. “Meanwhile, there are a lot of kids, and they have tough times and the ROTC is there for them.”
The Colorado State Fair also brings in money for all of Pueblo County. A study was done of the 2021 Colorado State Fair, the information was released earlier this year. According to the report, $43 million was brought in directly and indirectly during the fair last year.
“Which is astonishing. That's a huge number. You have so many local vendors here, we have people that are here from around the state, staying in the hotels, eating up at the restaurants, shopping downtown,” said Scott Stoller.
Stoller is the general manger of the fair, and he says, more than 500 full-time and part time jobs are brought in every year because of the fair, contributing to the overall economic impact. He also mentioned that more than $4 million in tax revenue support the city of Pueblo, and Pueblo County.
“It’s nice to know that the activities that we do, do generate profit for local businesses and support our community, and give back in many ways,” said Stoller.
Attendance at the fair is also up 12% this year, which is around 21,000 people, and that's despite having reduced and limited hours throughout the weekdays.
The busiest days are expected to be Saturday and Sunday this weekend.
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