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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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