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‘Ick Factor’ Complaints Shuttered ‘World’s Smallest Woman’ Sideshow

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The Boulder County Fair in 2013 (credit: CBS)

The Boulder County Fair in 2013 (credit: CBS)

LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) - An “ick factor” led to the closure of “The World’s Smallest Woman” exhibit at the Boulder County Fair last week, officials said.

Visitors hoping to see an attraction starring Little Liz, who exhibitors say is the world’s shortest woman at 29 inches, were denied after Boulder County officials shut down the show following two complaints from parents.

The Longmont Times-Call first reported the story.

“There was kind of an ‘ick factor’ to it. When I talked to our open space director and one of our county attorneys about it, we had the gut check of ‘This is not the sort of use we want to encourage.’ … We just didn’t feel it was appropriate to a family show,” Carrie Haverfield of the Boulder County Commissioners’ office told the Times-Call.

The attraction closed Friday evening, Haverfield said, after the county received two complaints that day. The fair ran from Aug. 1 to Aug. 10.

Haverfield said the county commissioners have begun discussing whether the sideshow’s closure will change its policy about what types of attractions will be allowed.

“We have had some very preliminary conversations about what, if anything, we should be looking at for future fairs — in terms of the different types of exhibits and if we want to and if we can put anything into the contracts about what’s allowed. But it’s all very preliminary and definitely no decisions have been made,” Haverfield told CBS4. “I think there will be conversation. What the outcome of that conversation is, I couldn’t say at this point.”

By Monday morning, she said she had seen two emails that thanked and supported the county and one email opposing the decision.

The sideshow’s closure means Little Liz lost three days’ worth of pay, fair coordinator Laura Boldt told the paper. She said the Boulder County Fair Board, which runs the fair, seemed surprised the county wanted it closed.

The owner of the carnival, Pat Crabtree, told the Times-Call that Little Liz and her cousin, who are from Haiti, perform at 20 events a year.

“Her sitting on a chair for pictures isn’t any different than a guy dressed like Santa Claus sitting here for pictures,” Crabtree, who runs Crabtree Amusements, said. “To me, it adds something to life, it’s good for them , and it doesn’t hurt anyone.”

The company’s website says it’s focused on providing families “with a safe, enjoyable fun-filled day to remember.”

(credit: bouldercountyfair.org)

(credit: bouldercountyfair.org)

Haverfield said the county had to consider what residents deem appropriate and both complaints came from parents who were with their children.

“They both said their children were very disturbed by it,” she told the Times-Call. “That’s not the type of activity we want to see happening.”

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