The sixth annual Denver County Fair unpacks this Friday, July 29, at the National Western Complex, where it runs through Sunday, July 31. In a summer full of festivals, shows and events, this extravaganza has built its own strong following by celebrating all that is weird and wonderful about Denver. The Kitten Pavilion will be back with new furry celebrity guests in tow, along with other fair favorites like the freak show, human hamster balls, bug-eating and hot dog-eating contests, unicorn rides, a zombie beauty pageant, a petting zoo, the Denver 4H Pavilion and so much more.
While the fair's schedule is packed with events and vendors that return year after year, organizers also make an effort to bring in brand-new ideas, games, guests, exhibitions and contests. With devoted DCF attendees and first-time fairgoers alike in mind, we've compiled a list of ten reasons to attend the Denver County Fair below — but be sure to check out the unconventional carnival's website for the complete schedule.
10. Blues Brothers Bootleg Roadshow
Saturday, July 30, 3 p.m.
Main Gazebo Stage
Jake and Elwood are still on that mission from God, and this fortieth-anniversary tribute brings the infamous band back together for a wild ride that takes you from "Soul Man" to "Rawhide." The Colorado-based homage is made up of stellar players who put one of the greatest music movies of all time on the live stage, where it belongs. Besides, the Bootleg Roadshow performance is free with fair admission. Whaddaya want for nothin'? A rubber biscuit?
9. Andrew Novick's X-Treme Breakfast Combo
Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31, at 10 a.m.
Main Gazebo Stage
Lifelong Denver resident Andrew Novick has been helping to keep the Mile High City weird and wonderful for decades, and he'll be back at the fair with his food-focused exploits. New this year is the option to enjoy Novick's X-Treme Breakfast Combo of pancakes and burritos on both Saturday and Sunday, when you can pile your pancakes high with gummi worms and crushed-up ice cream cones or pack a breakfast burrito with Spam, mole and hot sauce, choosing from more than 100 wacky ingredients and 31 flavors of butter (Vietnamese coffee butter and cherry-sours butter, to name a few). Settle in with your king-sized plate and enjoy some cartoons before exploring the rest of the Denver County Fair's many offerings.
8. Political fun with candidate impression contests and more
All weekend; see schedule for details
Whether we like it or not, this knock-down, drag-out political season is far from over. Make fun out of your frustrations by sharing your killer Donald Trump impression for a chance to win a prize or try out your best fibs in the Blue Ribbon liar contest. You can also join one of the Democrats-versus-Republicans tug-o-wars offered each day, or take a gander at the hairball toupees on kitties in the "Trump-Your-Cat" contest.
7. Colorado Movie Cars
Thanks to the smashing success of the Ghostbusters remake, fans have been able to catch the original film that's practically running on a loop across various cable networks. One of the most memorable aspects of that movie remains the Ecto-1 — and lucky for Denver, Colorado Movie Cars has a souped-up replica of the ghost-busting wagon for all to enjoy. This car club brings its fleet of meticulously crafted versions of famous automobiles to the fair, where they'll be lined up at the Geek Pavilion and ready for photo ops and cameos in your Snapchat stories throughout the weekend.
6. Rocky Mountain Rollergirls
Friday, July 29, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls are no joke: These hard-hitting athletes from teams like the Sugar Kill Gang and the United States Pummeling Service take the sport of derby seriously. Bringing strength and spirit to the skating arena, they'll throw down in three bouts at the Denver County Fair — and fans will have a chance to get up close and personal with teammates at special meet-and-greet sessions scheduled between rounds.
5. Minions! Live!
Saturday, July 30, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Little ones can mingle with Minions, snap photos with Minions and, if they speak Minionese, have a chat with their favorite Minion at this meet-and-greet. The big yellow goofballs are ready to invade the fairgrounds and excited to party with fair-goers, so get out your phone: This promises to be one serious selfie extravaganza.
4. Celebrity Cats
The Kitten Pavilion
An instant hit last year, the Kitten Pavilion will double in size at this fair. Special guests for the 2016 edition include Venus the Two Face Cat, coming all the way from North Carolina for all three days; she'll be joined by Colorado's own Floyd the Lion. And over 200 cats will prance across the stage on Saturday and Sunday in a multi-ring cat show overseen by the International Cat Association. Some felines will be available for selfies, too.
3. Star Trek's 50th Anniversary
The Denver County Fair will host a tribute to Star Trek that spans the weekend: Learn to speak Klingon, play Klingon Tribble Hockey and sing along with Trekkie karaoke. You can also test your knowledge of the Federation with Star Trek trivia or start your day at the fair by watching episodes from various versions of the series.
2. Pokémon Go Live Poké-Hunt
National Western Events Center
Proving yet again that the Denver County Fair is all about what's new, now and next, it will host a Poke-Hunt across the fairgrounds. The big quest officially begins at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 29, with over 200 Pokémon lures near the National Western's own PokéStop. Daily meet-ups at the Geek Pavilion will give players a chance to chat about their captures and share tips and tricks. Pokémon tournaments will also be held in the nearby Pokémon Gym.
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1. Fair-Lympics Arena
In the spirit of the Summer Games, the Denver County Fair will host its own version with the Fair-Lympics. Classic competitions like the long jump and relay will play out alongside rubber chicken "javelin" throwing and synchronized air swimming. As with all things at this summer carnival of the eccentric, each event is as serious as you make it — meaning trained athletes and first-time poultry tossers alike are invited to compete.
The sixth annual Denver County Fair runs Friday, July 29, through Sunday, July 31, at the National Western Complex; tickets for the weekend are $15 for adults, $8 for kids, with a variety of day passes, discounts and special packages available. For more information, a schedule of events and a list of participating vendors, visit the fair's website.