Rolling into Denver's National Western Complex August 1 through August 3, the Denver County Fair will prove once again that it is like no other fair in the country. Celebrating the many cultures and traditions that make Colorado special, the weekend gathering combines silly games with smart lectures, fun dances with freaky food competitions and endless chances to get to know the farmers, merchants, musicians, fashionistas, performers and artists who make the Mile High City great. With hundreds of things to see and do at this year's fair, we've compiled a list of ten of the best -- but be sure to go to the Denver County Fair's website for a full schedule.
10) Andrew Novick's X-Treme Pancake Breakfast - Gazebo, Saturday, 10 a.m. ($7; kids free with paying adult) He's back! Denver's favorite ambassador of fun will host his annual pancake breakfast at this year's fair, offering up fluffy cakes and a cornucopia of delicious toppings including candy corn and flavored butter, along with a multitude of syrups. Gluten-free and vegan options will be available. If pancakes aren't your thing, the following day Novick will host another wacky morning meal with DIY breakfast burritos and an array of chilis and hot sauces.
9) Holistic Pavilion More than just a place to chow down on a good hot dog and enjoy a few animal races, the Denver County Fair is also a pop-up market for goods and services related to the healing arts. Get a chair massage or tarot reading or pick-up some homemade, all-natural soaps and health-related remedies at this one-stop holistic shop.
8) Locarama Diorama Competition: Design your own food scene What does your ideal local-food environment look like? Design your own farm-to-table diorama at home and take it to the fair, or just design one on-site and enter your masterpiece to win gift certificates and edible items from Ela Farms applesauce, Missy J's truffle treats, Chipotle and more.
7) Robot Opera - Art/Geek Stage, Saturday, 6 p.m. Just one of many stage shows spread throughout the weekend at the Denver County Fair, this year's Robot Opera, Robopera en el Spacio, is sure to captivate all ages. This multi-media performance will feature more than seventy puppets and humans in elaborate costumes acting together in this goofy and unique performance. Keep reading for six more can't miss things at the Denver County Fair. 6) Eating Competitions Throughout each day of the fair, expert-eaters will chow down on everything from homemade pies to hot dogs. Of course, in the tradition of this non-traditional gathering, there will also be bug-eating contest -- so stick around... if you can stomach it.
5) 4H Youth Pavilion The Denver County Fair has plenty of wacky things planned, but it also hosts an important part of any traditional county event: the 4H program. Come see some of the area's most prized farm animals raised by local youth, check out interactive and educational exhibits and a build and launch your own air-powered rocket station.
4) Live Air Hockey Championships - Sports Pavilion, beginning Friday, 6 p.m This isn't any ordinary game of rec-room air hockey -- this is the Olympics of air hockey. World champs and in-state novices will have their try at handling the puck in front of a live audience for a chance to win awesome prizes, like a nice stack of cash. Multiple rounds of this championship -- featuring both singles and doubles' games -- will run throughout the weekend, and advance registration is required. Keep reading for three more can't miss events at the Denver County Fair.
3) FourEver Fab Beatles Tribute - Gazebo Stage, Saturday, August 2, 2 p.m. To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles legendary show at Red Rocks in 1964, a live re-creation of the concert will go down just like the original. The mop-top look alikes will not only be dressing the part, they will be playing the exact same set-list with the same equipment.
2) Miss County Fair Drag Queen Pageant- Fashion Stage, Friday, 7 p.m. Say bye-bye to any archaic notions of a beauty pageant as the fair welcomes this drag battle of glamor back for another year. Hosted by KDVR's Chris Parente, the glittery queen-on-queen throwdown is sure to be one of the biggest events of this year's fair.
1) The Pot Pavilion Since the original plan for the Pot Pavilion rolled out at the beginning of the year, the concept has doubled in size and will take up most of the 21-and-up floor of the fair. The first of its kind in the world, the pavilion will host live speed joint-rolling and Doritos-eating contests, burlesque shows (sure to be weed-themed), a screening of Wizard of Oz set to Dark Side of the Moon and more. Though there will be no actual marijuana on the premises, there will be plenty of pot-related vendors and exhibitors to satisfy your every weed-related desire.
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The Denver County Fair goes down this weekend beginning Friday, August 1 and running through Sunday, August 3 at the National Western Complex. Tickets are $10 for an adult weekend pass and kids under 12 are $5; for events that require additional fees and advanced registration, as well as a complete schedule, check the Denver County Fair website and Facebook page.