Aug 27, 2021 - News
The Colorado State Fair must go on: What to know about 2021 event
Carnival rides light up the sky at the Colorado State Fair in 2019.
Carnival rides light up the sky at the Colorado State Fair in 2019. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Colorado State Fair returns to Pueblo Friday after a one year pandemic hiatus, but the coronavirus is once again threatening to spoil the food and fun.

State of play: The state is averaging 1,500 new COVID-19 cases a week right now — five times the rate in 2020, when organizers canceled the public elements of the fair.

  • Pueblo is one of the harder hit counties in Colorado, with a positive case rate well above the state average, official data shows.

What to know: Fair organizers estimate that crowds for the 11-day event will reach near 2019 levels, when more than 466,000 people visited the grounds. "Tickets are selling super well," said spokesperson Katie Richmond. "We are glad to be back."

  • Colorado public health officials are encouraging people to wear masks indoors and outdoors where social distancing is not practical.
  • No proof of vaccination is required to attend the fair as the state pursues an optional approach, despite increasing evidence that mandates are effective tools to boost immunizations.

The other side: Instead, state health officials will lure fairgoers with gift cards and other incentives to visit a vaccination clinic on the fairgrounds on the weekend days.

If you go: The schedule is packed with down-home fun and crazy food. Here are three can't-miss events:

  1. Food truck competition on Aug. 31: Five food trucks (including two from Denver) will prepare two dishes and compete for fan favorite and the official "governor's plate" award.
  2. World Slopper Eating Championship on Sept. 4: This sanctioned eating contest will draw the nation's top eaters, who will try to consume as many sloppers as possible in 8 minutes.
  3. Swifty Swine Pig Races, each day: What motivates a pig to race? Oreos, of course. The sight is sure to make you squeal.
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