(CBS4) — Similar to professional sports, festivals and large concerts, that annual late-summer tradition, the county fair, is eliminating mass gatherings in consideration of health experts’ warnings.
Colorado continues to expand inter-personal and group activities following the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus that triggered many American businesses and homes to shutter for nearly two months.
Under the watchful eye of public health officials who advise discretion, the return to normal is unfolding slowly.
Thursday, the Larimer County Fair Board reigned in its plans for 2020’s event. With six weeks to go before it starts, the fair parade, carnival midway, and pancake breakfast have been removed from the schedule.
Gone are items from last year’s fair schedule such as the PRCA-sanctioned rodeo, tractor pulls, food vendors, fireworks, a petting zoo and fishing pond for kids, the concert stage, and regular shows by Twiggy the water-skiing squirrel.
The Larimer fair will still feature 4-H competitions and live-stock auctions, but at least some of them may be conducted virtually. Those livestock shows that happen in-person will be limited to one parent per youth participant.
It’s a degree of streamlining occurring across the state.
Arapahoe, Boulder, El Paso, Mesa, Routt and Weld counties have also chosen to limit their county fairs to livestock events, according to the Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows.
Pueblo County’s fair will be entirely virtual.
Others, such as Eagle and Gilpin County, have canceled the fairs altogether.
The popular Greeley Stampede and Steamboat Rodeo Series decided to skip 2020 as well.
Needless to say, it’s a strange new world under Covid-19’s social distancing guidelines, whether you’re a ranch lifer or an urban cowboy.
“This year’s Larimer County Fair will look different than years past, but despite the changes, I’m very proud that my team was able to come together with a creative solution to bring elements of our annual fair to the community,” says Chris Ashby, Director of The Ranch. “We’re excited to engage with fair patrons in a new way.”
Larimer County’s livestock shows will take place in the Budweiser Events Center. The rest of the Ranch Events Complex remains under contract with the state of Colorado to be used as an alternate care facility should northern Colorado medical facilities run out of room for coronavirus patients.
There are less drastic impacts at a few county festivals. The Sand & Sage Roundup in Lamar has canceled concerts only, and Garfield County has left open the possibility for smaller rodeos after dismissing larger “grandstand” events.