The quiet Douglas County fairgrounds will soon spring to life, transforming from a place with largely empty parking lots and buildings to one brimming with carnival lights, live music, the sound of …
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The quiet Douglas County fairgrounds will soon spring to life, transforming from a place with largely empty parking lots and buildings to one brimming with carnival lights, live music, the sound of barns filled with livestock and the smell of funnel cakes and freshly cooked turkey legs.
The annual fair draws crowds each year, including children who show livestock, families who come for the chance to see farm animals, people who sew, bake and photograph 4-H projects, and spectators who simply enjoy seeing the creativity on display.
Whether people are actively involved in fair events or just there to enjoy the festivities, the Douglas County Fair & Rodeo aims to provide something for everyone.
Fair celebrations kick off with the Douglas County Fair and Rodeo Parade at 9:30 a.m. on July 27 in downtown Castle Rock. The full fair experience runs from Aug. 1-4.
Castle Rock’s Western Heritage Welcome Steer Drive takes place at 6 p.m. on July 26. Every year, cowhands drive a herd of longhorn steer and cattle through the heart of downtown Castle Rock in recognition of the area’s agricultural roots and the start of the fair.
Other noteworthy events include the Hometown Rodeo, during which Douglas County Fair & Rodeo Royalty are crowned. The event starts at 4 p.m. July 27. The carnival opens on Aug. 1 and runs daily, although hours fluctuate.
“Our big concert is Gary Allan,” said Fair Board Chair Pam Spradlin. “That’s Saturday night.”
Allan, the country music singer behind singles like “Watching Airplanes,” “Nothing on But the Radio” and “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)” takes the stage at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 3. His concert follows the PRCA Rodeo performance. Tickets are available online at douglascountyfairandrodeo.com.
Plenty more is planned to keep people entertained in-between fair events. The fair is bringing in a world champion trick roper from Florida who will rope at various events and on the midway.
Fair organizers are also redesigning the fair’s marketplace, filling it with 4-H crafts plus the agriculture and floriculture exhibits, rather than commercial vendors selling items like windows, Spradlin said.
“It’s going to be a really traditional fair look,” Spradlin said. “It’s going to be like the old-time fair.”
Other fair board members and 4-H participants said the fair is an important celebration of the county’s roots in agriculture. Although growth has changed the landscape in recent decades, the county was once a ranching and farming community.
“It does bring the community together, too,” said Bruff Shea, a former fair board member and past recipient of the Legend in Agriculture Award given by the Colorado Agriculture Leadership Foundation.
Longtime fair volunteer Betty Thomas said it also allows residents from urban areas who don’t have ties to agriculture to learn about food production and the industry.
“Just to see where all the food in the grocery store comes from,” she said.
Spradlin believes part of the fair’s appeal is its size, that it’s not too big an event, estimating it would take a family about three hours to see most things the fair has to offer.
Franktown resident Dakota Potton, 12, said he’d take attending fair week over going to heavily-crowded theme parks like Disneyland or Disney World, where ride lines are long.
“You can make a lot of friends,” he said. “And you don’t have to wait (in line).”
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