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Boulder County Fair back on the homestead for year 153 with family fun, farm friends, carnival rides and more

Experience Colorado's oldest fair from Aug. 11-14

Riders on the Ferris wheel catch a gorgeous sunset at Boulder County Fair in 2021. Aug. 11-14, Boulder County Fair returns to Boulder County Fairgrounds, in Longmont. (Boulder County Fair/Courtesy photo)
Riders on the Ferris wheel catch a gorgeous sunset at Boulder County Fair in 2021. Aug. 11-14, Boulder County Fair returns to Boulder County Fairgrounds, in Longmont. (Boulder County Fair/Courtesy photo)
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Carnival rides, Dole Whip and popsicles are synonymous with summer. Add in a visit to a local county fair and mark that summer as complete.

On Aug. 11, the Boulder County Fair returns to Longmont to the Boulder County Fairgrounds and is hauling in a diverse selection of refreshing treats, rides for the whole family, unique activities, furry friends and more. The fair will run through Aug. 14.

Fries and other carnival foods line a booth at Boulder County Fair in 2021. (Boulder County Fair/Courtesy photo)
Fries and other carnival foods line a booth at Boulder County Fair in 2021. (Boulder County Fair/Courtesy photo)

“I am most looking forward to having the public back at the fair,” said Melanie Bohren, Boulder County Fair’s board president. “I think everyone is excited to walk around among the animals, go on a carnival ride and eat some fair food.”

This year, attendees can expect to see everything from fluffy sheep to robust swine. Part of the Boulder County Fair’s mission has always been to provide a resource to the community of both rural and urban heritage, while showcasing 4-H and Future Farmers of America.

“Our youth exhibitors play a vital role in educating the public about animal care and husbandry, our heritage of agriculture and stewardship of the land when they bring their sheep or pig that they raised to the fair,” Bohren said, “or are able to talk to the public about how to milk a goat or what they grew in their garden to exhibit at the fair.”

There will be plenty of animals on display at the Boulder County Fair. A petting zoo will allow attendees to get a closer look at an array of creatures. (Boulder County Fair/Courtesy photo)
There will be plenty of animals on display at the Boulder County Fair. A petting zoo will allow attendees to get a closer look at an array of creatures. (Boulder County Fair/Courtesy photo)

On Aug. 12 folks can attend a 4-H market goat show, on Aug. 13 there will be a poultry sale and on Aug. 14, at 2 p.m., the junior livestock market sale will be held.

“The fair brings our community together to socialize, celebrate our shared agricultural heritage and invites people from all corners of Boulder County and beyond,” Bohren said.

While parking and general entrance admission is free to the fair, there is a charge for rides. Folks can choose to buy tickets to individual rides that run between $4-8, or they can spring for a wristband that allows unlimited rides for $20-$35.

“I’m not much of a carnival rides person, but I love the view of the Ferris wheel as it frames the Front Range on one side and the fairgrounds on the other,” Bohren said. “There will be rides for everyone, from the fast and spinning to smaller rides for younger folks.”

The fair also offers a cross-section of free live entertainment for all ages.

Jeff and Paige — the husband-and-wife duo dedicated to getting kids excited about science, nature and more through song — will perform two different shows on Aug. 11, at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

“We tailor every set that we do to the audience and location,” said Paige Doughty. “The County Fair audience can expect lots of chances for participation, some songs about local food and agriculture, an exploration of what it means to live in a headwater state and lots of fun and laughs.”

Jeff and Paige will perform at the Boulder County Fair on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. (Jeff and Paige/Courtesy photo)
Jeff and Paige will perform at the Boulder County Fair on Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. (Jeff and Paige/Courtesy photo)

From performances at Chautauqua to the Boulder Creek Festival, Jeff and Paige continue to gain fans of all ages that can’t get enough of the two’s playful presence.

“Jeff and I may teach about things that seem serious and complex but we use music, theater and costumes to keep the learning in a joyful and accessible place for 2 year olds to 100 year olds,” Doughty said.

Doughty has always been a creative soul who reveled in stories as a kid.

“On a family vacation, I was the one curled up with a book, refusing to come to dinner until my chapter was done,” Doughty said. “My love of imaginative exploration and fantasy also drew me to nature. One of my favorite reading spots as a middle schooler was a perch in an apple tree in our backyard.”

Jeff and Paige will perform at the Boulder County Fair on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. (Caroline Colvin Photography/Courtesy photo)
Jeff and Paige will perform at the Boulder County Fair on Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. (Caroline Colvin Photography/Courtesy photo)

For Doughty, visiting the fair offers a chance to embrace the art of animal husbandry and marvel at the many creatures on display.

“I love the community element of a county fair and the way that us city folk — for lack of a better description — get an experience of rural life,” Doughty said. “Whenever I’m at the fair and I see the kids there, I wish I had had a chance to join 4-H when I was young. I rode horses and loved the horse camp I attended as a child where I learned to groom and clean the horses’ hooves and hair, but never got a chance to have a longer-term connection with large animals and farm animals.”

Silver And Smoke — a Denver-based rock band— will perform as the closing act on Aug. 14.

“We’re so excited to play the Boulder County Fair,” said Ty Bray, lead singer and guitarist for Silver And Smoke. “Believe it or not, we have only played in Boulder one other time and that was the Boulder Taco Festival — which we are playing again on Aug. 6.”

Silver And Smoke band members from left, Dino Ianni, Ty Bray, Rick Brown and Tanner Boyle. Silver And Smoke plays the Boulder County Fair, in Longmont, on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. (Jura Daubenspeck/Courtesy photo)
Silver And Smoke band members from left, Dino Ianni, Ty Bray, Rick Brown and Tanner Boyle. Silver And Smoke plays the Boulder County Fair, in Longmont, on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. (Jura Daubenspeck/Courtesy photo)

Silver And Smoke stays busy with gigs at Denver venues, like Bluebird Theater, and also tours nationally.

“We are just excited to play an outdoor show for a warm and friendly crowd in a new environment,” Bray said. “Even though it takes so long to pack and unpack our gear, we’re hoping to take a walk around the fair and see everything before we hit the stage.”

As far as what attendees of the band’s show can expect, a mix of music genres is always on the table.

“Every song you listen to of ours is going to sound fairly different than the last,” Bray said. “And that is definitely a product of four people having four diverse tastes and backgrounds of music. At any point you could ask one of us what we’re listening to and you could hear the answers range from NOFX to Charles Mingus, Led Zeppelin to Alabama Shakes, The Raconteurs to Michelle Branch, Eagles of Death Metal to Thelonious Monk. Pretty eclectic mix if that tells you anything about the four of us.”

From punk to Western country rock, Bray and crew like to keep the genres varied.

“If you’ve never seen a Silver and Smoke show before, you are in for a high-energy, good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll show,” Bray said.

Silver And Smoke will close out the Boulder County Fair with a performance starting at 7 p.m on Aug. 14. (Jura Daubenspeck/Courtesy photo)
Silver And Smoke will close out the Boulder County Fair with a performance at 7 p.m on Aug. 14. (Jura Daubenspeck/Courtesy photo)

While Silver And Smoke will close out the fair with a headlining set at 7 p.m., earlier risers can attended the fair’s Cowboy Church at 10 a.m. Aug. 14 which will feature a performance by bluegrass band The Weld County Ramblers.

“There will be live music on the Fair Garden Stage, a kid’s corral and petting zoo, livestock competitions and 4-H exhibits on display,” Bohren said. “There truly is something for everyone.”

Due to the pandemic, Boulder County Fair was immensely scaled down the past two years, offering rare in-person events and very limited events for local 4-H and Future Farmers of America members.

With coronavirus restrictions loosened, this year marks the return of many missed elements.

Silver And Smoke band members from left, Tanner Boyle, Ty Bray, Rick Brown and Dino Ianni. Silver And Smoke plays the Boulder County Fair, in Longmont, on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m.(Jura Daubenspeck/Courtesy photo)
Silver and Smoke band members from left, Tanner Boyle, Ty Bray, Rick Brown and Dino Lanni. Silver and Smoke plays the Boulder County Fair in Longmont on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. (Jura Daubenspeck/Courtesy photo)

“This fair couldn’t happen without the dedication of the Fair Board, the CSU Extension staff and all of the volunteers who give their time to put on a county fair every summer,” Bohren said. “It truly is the passion of those who grew up attending and competing at their local fair, as well as community members who recognize the importance of bringing community together in a way that benefits all.”

While the actual fair starts Aug. 11, there are plenty of pre-exhibitor events happening this week and next, including a kickoff parade in Downtown Longmont Saturday.

There will also be Creative Living Projects where youth will showcase quilts, farm and garden items as well as a 4-H Product Sale where patrons can purchase winning projects submitted by 4-H youth. Throughout the week, fair-goers can attend chicken, horse, pig, goat, cavy, dog and rabbit shows.

To learn more, visit bouldercountyfair.org.


Schedule

Saturday

  • 10 a.m. Boulder County Fair Livestock and Rodeo Parade kicks off Colorado’s oldest fair. It starts at Roosevelt Park and trots down Main Street in Longmont. The parade, a tradition since 1869, will feature floats, bands, tractors, furry farm friends and more.

Thursday, Aug. 11

Kids’ day

  • 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Fishing with park rangers
  • 9  a.m. 4-H and FFA sheep show
  • 10 and 11:15 a.m. Jeff & Paige concerts
  • 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Petting zoo
  • 1 p.m. Youth farm and garden judging
  • Noon-11 p.m. Carnival
  • 5  p.m. 4-H and FFA dairy cattle show

Friday, Aug. 12

Multicultural day

  • 9  a.m. 4-H and FFA market goat show
  • 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Petting zoo
  • Noon-11 p.m. Carnival
  • 2  p.m. 4-H and FFA beef show
  • 4  p.m. Pee Wee sheep showmanship
  • 5  p.m.-10 p.m. Music and dance performances

Saturday, Aug. 13

Entertainers’ day

  • 8  a.m. 4-H and FFA small animal round robin
  • 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Petting zoo
  • noon-11 p.m. Carnival
  • 2  p.m. 4-H and FFA large animal round robin
  • 5  p.m.-10 p.m. Music performances

Sunday, Aug. 14

Junior livestock sale day

  • 9  a.m. Cowboy Church
  • 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Petting zoo
  • Noon-10 p.m. Carnival
  • 2  p.m.  Junior livestock sale, where fair-goers can get locally raised beef, pork, lamb and goat from the farm to the freezer
  • 4-9 p.m. Music performances

2022 Fair Royalty

Madeline Rose, Queen

  • She is raising donkeys, sheep, a Quarter Horse, chickens, a cat and dogs
  • Has been a member and judge for both 4-H and FFA
  • Took animal science and agribusiness courses while in high school in the Saint Vrain Valley School District

Ava Wright, Lady In Waiting

  • A junior in high school in Erie, she is raising a Quarter Horse
  • This is her third year competing in barrel racing in the Colorado Junior Rodeo Association
  • She has shown horses, chickens and lambs in 4-H and is a part of the All In Stride 4H Club

2022 Fair Family

The Janicki-Knutson Family 

  • Anne and Kent Janicki-Knutson have lived in Boulder County for 34 years and have three children, Mark, Caitlin and Jenna (who has been involved in the 4-H Dog Club for decades).

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