What began as a public relations campaign for Boulder County, Colorado 137 years ago has now turned into so much more than that. The Boulder County Fair, Livestock Show, and Rodeo is the county's largest single event and is one of the oldest annual events held in the state. Each year, it attracts over 100,000 people from Boulder County and other parts of the state.
Years ago, when Colorado was still just a territory and not yet a state, 100 prominent Boulder County farmers and ranchers began the community event as a way to highlight what the area had to offer potential settlers. Today the event continues to focus on the aspects of life in Boulder County while demonstrating the diversity of its population.
The first fair was held on October 12, 1869 in the city of Boulder, but in 1899 it relocated to Longmont. In the beginning, it was a simple one-day event. In 1875, horse racing was added. Since then, an ever-increasing amount of events have been added and popularity of the event has grown as a result. Since 1869 the Fair has been held every year except for 1946 when a Polio Epidemic forced its cancellation. In 1978 the Fair moved to its new home at the Boulder County Fairgrounds site in Longmont where it has remained ever since.
Why has the event endured for so long? Probably because its mission throughout the years has been constant and simplistic: to provide a fun, educational and agriculturally-based social experience that blends rural and urban youth in the community, seeking to preserve the agricultural heritage of Boulder County and the surrounding communities. In doing such, it provides an interactive showcase for 4-H, Future Farmers of America (FFA), and open class exhibitors to display their projects while teaching youth responsibility, life skills, and leadership. Additionally, the Fair and its programs are completely family-friendly, offering a variety of exhibits, entertainment, and educational opportunities in a safe environment.
In fact, the Fair is all about youth. The 4-H is the youth education branch of the Cooperative Extension Service, a program of the United States Department of Agriculture. It is open to children from ages 8-19 while 5-7 year olds can participate in the Cloverbud program that is non-competitive and focused on fun. The FFA strives to make a positive difference in the lives of young people by developing their leadership potential, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.
As in past years, the 2006 Fair would not have been able to accomplish all that it did if it were not for the hundreds of volunteers and exhibitors that combined their efforts to ensure the success of the event.
"This event would not have been possible without the help of over 400 volunteers and some 87 sponsors from across Boulder County," said Kathy Ohmie Lynch, General Manager. "We truly appreciate their support and participation which made this year's community event one for the record books. We want to thank everyone for being part of our 2006 Fair and hope they're looking forward to 2007!"
This year's Fair, held from July 26 through August 5, was not only eventful with over 350 activities, but was also well-attended. Though the audited statistics were not available at press time, Lynch said she knows attendance did surpass last year's 61,000 and may have exceeded 2004's attendance of 74,700.
The major arena events held this year were the Demolition Derby, the Monster Truck and Freestyle Motorcross National Tour, and the Truck & Tractor Pull. On July 29, the first Saturday of the Fair, over 11,000 people were on hand to listen to Ty Herndon, a country music star and the Demolition Derby, the Fair's top draw.
Sunday July 30, was the most eventful day the Fair has ever had, showcasing Herman's Hermits, the original British Invasion band. The Free Stage seating area was packed for the concert. Just prior to the concert, the Monster Truck event took place in the Outdoor Arena and as soon as it was over, fans rushed to see the band perform.
Other free stage acts this year included
both national and regional performers, including The Groove Hawgs, Jesters
Dinner Theatre's performance of Sound of Music, and Xiren, a Denver band known
for its performances at Red Rocks. Top Hogs Performing Pigs performed on the
stage daily and were a huge draw. The pigs have been featured on Animal Planet
and Letterman and live in Franktown, Colorado. Countless other events and
concerts were well-attended as well and all contributed to an exciting and
The Fair organizes, produces, and promotes a variety of events throughout the year, including the 4-H Carnival, weigh-ins, Fair Board meetings, and more.
The final event of the Fair, held on Sunday August 6, was The Old Timer’s Rodeo, which is the only Senior Pro Rodeo Tour event left in Colorado. Now in its 137th year, it is always a popular event and draws large crowds.
Rodeo events always include: calf roping, saddle bronc riding, ribbon roping, steer wrestling, ladies barrel races, team roping, and bull riding
The riders are men and women, who are 40 years old or older and some of the tough old riders, who love the sport of rodeo, are in their 60’s and 70’s - and still hanging on for those wild rides to gain competitive points and win prizes.
The cowboys and cowgirls, many of whom are previous rodeo champions, come from Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Kansas, South Dakota, California, Wyoming and other states to compete.
For more information on year-round events or to book an event or volunteer for next year's Fair, visit:
or call (303) 772-7170.