Here's Why the Denver County Fair Axed the Pot Pavilion for This Year

If the lack of a Pot Pavilion at this year's Denver County Fair, which starts July 31 and runs through August 2 at the National Western Complex is harshing your mellow, don't blame the cats, the lawsuit over last year's edibles mess or even the fair's organizers losing their love of weed. None of those had anything to do with it. The real reason there's no pot — or very little, anyway — is a depressingly simple mixture of economics and opportunity cost.

"We found ourselves in a situation a month ago where the whole fair was almost sold out, except the Pot Pavilion," explains fair co-owner and director Dana Cain. "So last year we had 57 booths sold in the Pot Pavilion. This year we had six booths sold in the Pot Pavilion! So I was like, we can't do it. You can't have something that spectacular and the next year it’s just lame. That's not fair to anybody, least of all the exhibitors.

"Last year it was the world’s first Pot Pavilion," she adds. "Pot had just become legal. Everyone was losing their minds. Everybody was so excited to be part of the very first Pot Pavilion at the county fair. Well, fast forward a year later, now, and it’s completely old hat. Denver has pot events every weekend. So exhibitors can come to the fair, where we have certain restrictions — you can’t bring actual product, you can’t sample anything out — [or] there are plenty of events where people can go and get high. I get that that’s going to be more appealing to a lot of that market."

In the face of the low turnout by pot exhibitors, Cain made the decision to ax the pavilion and either refund or relocate the remaining exhibitors. She says half took the refund and half took the relocation, so you will find a few pot-related booths here and there (check out the holistic pavilion, bro). Cain stresses that neither a distaste for pot nor the lawsuit had anything to do with the change in plans.

"[The lawsuit] was between the vendor and a few people, and it was settled out of court. I don't know any more about it than that," she says. "It’s kind of a bummer to hear people say, 'Oh, yeah, you got in trouble and you can’t do the Pot Pavilion again because of it.’ It’s like, no. We were planning on doing it again. We hoped it would always be part of our fair. It was great last year. Everybody loved it! But for us, it’s always, 'How are we going to top that?' This year, we got cats. we were going to have both, but you know..."

Still, it is Denver. If you want to get high as a kite at home before heading down to the Kitten Pavilion, no one is going to stop you, least of all the cats. 
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Cory Casciato is a Denver-based writer with a passion for the geeky, from old science fiction movies to brand-new video games.
Contact: Cory Casciato