All fairs are basically about excess -- let's see what random shit we can deep-fry; let's see who can grow the most freakishly large tomato; let's see how long this guy can stay on top of a really pissed off animal much larger than him; let's see how far this tractor can pull stuff -- and where there is excess, there is always weirdness. Ultimately, that bizarro-America exorbitance is what makes the summer fair season so great, and it culminates each year in the weirdest, most excessive fair of them all: the Colorado State Fair, starting tomorrow in Pueblo. With a little determination, you can find weirdness at any point during the fair's epic 10-day run, but if you're looking for truly excessive weirdness -- and if you're not, you should be -- then look no further.
Dress-A-Bunny Contest This one requires little explanation, since it's exactly what it sounds like, so rest assured that this one's weirdness will be rivaled only by its cuteness. Contestants vie for bunny-dressing supremacy in three categories -- "originality/creativity," "behavior of bunny while in costume" and, for some reason, "communication skills" -- and (BONUS!) you get two for the non-existent-for-spectators price of one with the Dress-A-Bird show, which immediately follows at 6:30 p.m.
When: August 27 at 6 p.m. Price: Free for spectators
To be fair, what's commonly known as "mutton bustin'" is pretty common at state and county fairs everywhere, but that doesn't make it, as a concept, any less weird: To wit, it's 3- to 6-year-old kids riding sheep, rodeo-style. Upon reflection, it actually infuriates me that I never did this as a kid.
When: Weekdays at 7 p.m., weekends and Labor Day at 12:30, 2:30, 4:30 and 7 p.m. Price: Free to spectate, $12 to ride (gear provided)
Colorado Strongman Competition Dudes lift shit! Also they pull shit! And, of course, the good strongwomen of Colorado lift and pull shit, too. There's a strong component of lifting and pulling shit to any fair worth its accompanying county or state, and nowhere is that component more freakishly noteworthy than when the entities doing the lifting/pulling are human beings. On a side note, if you plan to drunkenly heckle these gentlemen, do it toward the end of the competition, when they're tired.
When: September 3, 12 to 4 p.m. Price: Free to spectate, $40 to enterBruce Sarafian, World Record Juggler
"What does it mean," you may be wondering, "to be a world record juggler?" I will tell you: It means having juggled the most balls at a time of any person ever -- 12 balls, to be exact -- and it's held by Bruce Sarafian, who set it at 11 balls in 1993 and then, just for shits, broke it. Also, obviously, he rides a unicycle. It may be true that you could find juggling and unicycling at just any state fair, but you can only findworld record
juggling and unicycling at this one.
When: 12:30, 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. daily Price: FreeHendrick's Racing Pigs Show
Pigs... that race. Literally months apparently go into training these pigs -- which are somehow not being made into delicious meats instead -- to run as fast as they can toward the goal of winning an Oreo cookie (cheap date, amiright?). But the real prize goes to everyone who gets to see it.
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When: 11 a.m., 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. daily Price: Free