Dana Cain's top ten things needed for a successful county fair

Dana Cain's Ten Things You Need to Do to Put on a Denver County Fair

Dana Cain believes a couple of things about event planning. First, and this is crucial, one must be prepared. Second, one must buoy the audience with hoopla throughout the event. Never forget a detail, and never let them down.

Here are ten other things needed to put on the Denver County Fair, a truly unprecedented, groundbreaking event with a Dana Cain spin:

10} Run the whole thing like a well-oiled machine. When 50,000 people turn up at the door, everybody has to get in, and everyone should be happy and comfortable and having a good time. "Then I can be calm, collected and professional," Cain says.

9} A sideshow. "I put a lot of time and attention into hav ing a really classy sideshow," Dana says. "That harks back to my days with the Twilight Zone fest. I LOVE weird shit. It never got weird enough for me."

8} Add in a few crazy things that people won't expect: the 4-H kids have rockets and robots, and there will be a holistic tent. Always surprise them.

7} Have animals and all the other things that people expect at any other county fair: pies, produce, crafts and so on.

6} Bring in food that will appeal both to sophisticated foodies looking for natural, organic and sustainable meals and to the people looking for the newest mutations on deep-fried Twinkies. Have it all, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

5} Come up with a unique brand and hook that will differentiate you from other county fairs and make yours special.

4} Hire a carnival company, then let them handle that part of it on their own.

3} Line up enough staff to have all the big bases covered. Work harmoniously.

2} Research county fair history and traditional county fair structure requirements, plan for competitions and include tie-ins with the Colorado State Fair. If people like this fair, maybe they'll want to go down to Pueblo in August.

1} A gimungous venue. Denver weather in the summertime can do anything. At the National Western, 300,000 square feet of indoor venue space will be divided into themed pavilions.

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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