Art News

The Denver County Fair Gets Two-Faced and Political in 2016

In its sixth year, the Denver County Fair is still full of surprises — and this week’s 2016 poster reveal offers another one.  The latest masterpiece from fair poster artist and Denver painter Mark Penner-Howell is all about politics, with an emphasis on the fair’s newest addition: the Political Pavilion, where debates will unfold and voters can register in a divisive and historic election year.
The poster depicts a cute, canoodling baby donkey and elephant, but the corners tell the fair's whole story by depicting Venus the Two-Faced Cat, this year’s special guest in the Kitten Pavilion (an innovation and huge hit at last year’s fair); Freak Show mascot Bigfoot; a stormtrooper riding a drift trike and — natch — a slice of apple pie. 
"The idea to show the elephant and donkey as babies invites viewers to remember that when we were younger, we never cared about people's political affiliations," says fair director Dana Cain. "We'd like the 2016 poster to remind us of that innocent acceptance and act as a request to reclaim it." 

But rest assured, the fair’s political bent won’t be all touchy-feely in tone — no kid stuff here. At this year's event, you’ll be able to compete in a blue-ribbon lying contest or show off your best Trump impression; other attractions will include donkey rides, dunk tanks, debates and daily straw polls. ”We're really going to have fun with this one," Cain adds. "But we also want to make a positive statement and invite both sides to cooperate and get along.”

And there will be pie. This year’s Denver County Fair will wave the flag on July 29, 30 and 31 at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street in Denver. Buy your poster now, and watch for ticket sales and contest registration news online at the Denver County Fair website
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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd