"Our State Fair is a great state fair. It's the best state fair in our state." The title song to "State Fair," a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, may have been written about Iowa in the 1940s, but the lyrics definitely apply to the 2002 Colorado State Fair as well.
The fair, August 17 through September 1, boasts just about every possible slice of Americana: a monster truck show and the "car crunching" Demo Derby, rides, music, Mexican rodeo, livestock and horse shows, and the Junior Livestock Auction, which is always well attended by young 4-H and Future Farmers of America members.
"Kids come from across the state to show their pigs, sheep, horses, cattle," says Chris Wiseman, a State Fair spokesperson. Last year, 636,000 people attended the seventeen-day extravaganza. This year, the festival will end the Sunday before Labor Day, one day earlier than usual.
The nightly entertainment lineup spans many genres of music, from some of country's hottest artists to chart-topping modern bands and those oldies-but-goodies classic rockers. The schedule -- posted on the State Fair Web site, www.coloradostatefair.com -- includes Lifehouse, Poison, Toby Keith, the Statler Brothers and many more. And taking a break from his commercials, comedian Carrot Top will entertain with his distinct prop humor.
"We've really tried to diversify our acts a little more this year," Wiseman says. "We've kept all the old favorites, of course, but we're also trying to be a little more contemporary."
Fiesta Weekend, August 31 through September 1, celebrates Colorado's proud Hispanic heritage by showcasing music, dance, food, art, costumes and a charreada or Mexican rodeo. And fairgoers who dream of the beach can delight in watching artists create a huge sand sculpture out of 300 tons of sand. Last year, they created Jurassic Pueblo; this year the theme is Warner Bros. "It's really a lot of sand," Wiseman laughs.
If roller coasters are your thing, strap into the Renegade, Cliffhanger, the Tornado and the Dizzy Dragons at the Colorado State Fair Carnival. If not, a one-hundred-foot-tall Ferris Wheel spins proudly over the scene, which includes more than a hundred rides.
And what Western State Fair would be complete without a rodeo? The PRCA Rodeo has been a fundamental part of the State Fair for more than 50 years. Hall of Fame rodeo announcer Hadley Barrett will host eight evening performances in the Coors Grandstand, with top rodeo competitors strutting their stuff in both the rough stock and timed events.
As its theme, "Colorado State Fair...more than you can imagine!" suggests, there is a mind-boggling variety of activities.
"The fair is here to promote Colorado," Wiseman says. "Come celebrate with us."