Up in Smoke

In its fourth year, the ultra-urban Denver County Fair has edged a lot closer to becoming world-famous, and with good reason: Organizers Dana Cain, Tracy Weil and Andrew Novick work hard to constantly reinvent and improve the overall event while hanging on tightly to what’s tried and true, like the freak show and hundreds of blue-ribbon competitions. This year, the addition of the fair’s new Colorado-centric Pot Pavilion — an entire level of paraphernalia vendors, doobie-rolling contests and pot-themed burlesque shows — is pushing everything right over the top, and Cain says ticket pre-sales have been coming in from all over world (the world!!).

But today — the last day of the three-day fair — takes a traditional turn with a Viva Denver! celebration that not only acknowledges the city’s Latino culture, but also plays up everything that’s best about the festm, including its quirks. “Viva Denver Sundays always start with Andrew Novick’s X-Treme Breakfast Burritos,” Cain says of the multi-topping, build-it-yourself buffet extravaganza. “And this year, you can even have bugs on your burritos: You can sprinkle crickets on there along with everything else.”

Along with the chow, Viva Denver will feature Lucha Libre bouts at 1 and 3 p.m.; a Pugs Versus Chihuahuas race at 1:30 p.m. (“Everyone has plain Chihuahua races now,” says Cain); dance performances by Fiesta Colorado at noon, 2 and 4 p.m.; and piñata bashes for the kids at 1 and 3 p.m. And for purely adult entertainment, don’t miss Alamo Drafthouse’s Reefer Moments Cheech and Chong Quote-Along in the Pot Pavilion at 11 a.m. Fittingly, the day will end with the non-Viva Denver spectacle of Brewer & Shipley’s live rendition of “One Toke Over the Line” at 4:20 p.m. (no smoking allowed...).

The Denver County Fair is open today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the National Western Complex, I-70 and Brighton Boulevard; parking is $8 per vehicle. Tickets are $5 to $10 (free for kids three and under); purchase yours at the box office or online at denvercountyfair.org.
Aug. 1-3, 2014

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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