By Justin Adams

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Large crowds forced Arapahoe County Fair officials to turn some people away on Saturday, the first time that has happened in 115 years. The county tells CBS4 they closed gates at 8 p.m. to keep those who were already inside safe and keep traffic from becoming jammed.

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Organizers say this is the first time they closed the gates due to capacity issues. Although there wasn’t an official capacity limit at the fairground, more than 15,700 people attended the fair on Saturday. The crowd, officials say, was one of the largest in the event’s history.

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“There are narrow, narrow roads around the fairgrounds. So, we wanted, fire and rescue didn’t want us to create a situation where if something did happen they would have a problem getting the emergency vehicles in,” said Luc Hatlestad, spokesman for Arapahoe County.

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“We knew folks were ready to get back to seeing friends and family at a time-honored event,” said Glen Poole, operations manager for the Fair. “While we planned on extra attendance, we were overwhelmed at the number of day-of attendees.”

Those who were turned away were encouraged to return on Sunday when the fair reopened at 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. County officials say refunds will not be offered.

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“We do not issue refunds. That’s a part of the ticket and sent the disclaimer part of it, and we apologize for that certainly. And we’ll try to, you know, do a lot of things to make it better next year, but we don’t issue refunds,” said Hatlestad.

Justin Adams