PUEBLO — “For most of the summer we didn’t think it was going to happen.” Shae Stone is one of the young people showing goats at the Colorado State Fair Events Center. The highlight of the year for kids raising animals in 4H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs was in question because of COVID-19. “We were really excited to come down here and be able to show our livestock.” There is extra excitement for Stone because her goat Larry won his division.
The Colorado State Fair is happening, only in a stripped down version for 2020. “We wanted to focus on what we could do, and we knew we could do something for the 4H and FAA kids who have these projects they work all year on,” said Fair, Executive Director, Scott Stoller. Agriculture is the foundation of the fair and the element of the State Fair given priority as the pandemic continues.
The competitions are happening with extensive health guidelines in place. Everyone on the grounds has to wear a face mask, they can only be in the competition arena when competing, and there is a lot of time between competitions to prevent crowding. “We had to spread out the activities. So, last weekend we had the dog show, next weekend we have the horseshow, this weekend we have the livestock show. Normally all three of those would occur on the same weekend,” said Stoller. Rather than side by side in pens, animals are spaced into multiple buildings to give their human handlers social distancing.
Spectators are not allowed at the livestock competitions. There are no vendors, shows, or carnival at the fair so no-one will be wandering the fairgrounds in 2020.
There are some altered options for enjoying a few fair favorites. “They can drive through the grounds during set hours to get their favorite food, funnel cake, turkey legs, corn dogs all the good stuff.” The popular Fiesta Day Parade will also happen in a different way. It is planned as a “reverse parade” where spectators drive-by the parade entries.
Fair organizers have many on-line options. The livestock shows are streamed live. There will be on-line cooking classes, demonstrations, and the slopper eating contest featuring Joey Chestnut. There are also online contests with prizes. To find out schedules or enjoy the fair on-line go to ColoradoStateFair.com