Fun for the whole herd at Garfield County Fair & Rodeo | PostIndependent.com

Fun for the whole herd at Garfield County Fair & Rodeo

An excited Garfield County Fair and Rodeo crowd cheer for performing artist Chris Janson at the 2016 concert.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

For the first time in nearly two decades, the carnival is back at the Garfield County Fair and Rodeo.

Fair Events Coordinator Doreen Herriott said, “Every year people always ask me, ‘Why don’t we have a carnival,’ and finally it is back.”

“I’m in the business of fun,” Herriott said, and this year’s 80th edition of the county fair should be fun. The Mattfeldt Family Carnival, a Great Northern A’Fair, owned and operated by Tim and Dana Mattfeldt out of Phoenix, Arizona, are providing amusement rides, games, concessions, confections and traditional fare.

It’s not the first trip to Rifle for the Mattfeldts. “Our last visit was 15 to 18 years ago, when we brought a small unit to the fair,” said Tim Mattfeldt the carnival owner. The Mattfeldts started the carnival in 1996, and predominantly serve Arizona, northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

With the return of the carnival, fair officials believe the attendance will jump this year; projections are calling for around 35,000 attendees.

Ride tickets are available onsite. Ride tickets cost $1 and rides are $2 to $5 each.

The carnival isn’t the only entertainment this weekend, as there will be fun for the whole family. Country music star Jon Pardi will headline tonight’s concert in the outdoor arena. Pardi is the reigning Country Music Association’s new artist of the year and Academy of Country Music’s new male vocalist of the year.

Originally from Northern California, Pardi grew up listening to country legend Dwight Yoakam and was inspired by Merle Haggard and Buck Owens for their Bakersfield sound. His hit songs include “Dirt On My Boots,” “Heartache On The Dance Floor” and “I Like Beer.”

Opening up for Pardi will be grammy-nominated country artist Midland. The band is made up of singer Mark Wystrach, guitarist Cameron Duddy and bassist Jess Carson. Midland will electrify the crowd with their hit song “Drinkin’ Problem” and more hits off their debut album “On The Rocks.”

Gates will open at 5 p.m. with music starting at 7 p.m. Premium tickets sold out six weeks ago, but grandstand and arena general admission tickets are still available. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.garfieldocuntyfair.com or call 800-626-TIXS (8497).

The free stage will host music, magic and dance through out the weekend at the fair. Acts include magician Elias Caress, ArtillumA dance group, music from Fifty50, The Mixx, LeverAction and more.

Saturday is a big day at the fair, with big events including the parade, which will get rolling down Railroad Avenue at 10 a.m. The second annual strongman competition will challenge contestants’ brute strength at 11 a.m. at the outdoor arena track.

The livestock sale, where the hard work of feeding, training and grooming their animals will pay off for the 4-H and FFA members as the bidding begins at 11:30 a.m. “The community is great at supporting the kids,” Herriott said about the annual livestock sale.

Classic cars and hotrods will be displayed downtown on Third Street after the parade until the ninth annual Summer of Thunder car show roars to life at noon in Metro Park.

Adrenaline pumping, metal crushing and bone jarring fun will bring the night to a close as the annual demolition derby takes center stage at the outdoor arena Saturday at 7 p.m. The derby is usually the biggest draw for the entire fair. Tickets are $25 for adults (13 and older), $15 for seniors (65+) and youth (4-12), and free for 3 and younger.

Monster Trucks will rule Sunday as the 80th edition of the Garfield County Fair wraps up. Events will start with monster truck rides at noon followed by monster truck and tuff truck track party at 1 p.m. and the car crushing show will begin at 2 p.m. all in the outdoor arena. Tickets are $20 for adults (13 and older), $10 for seniors (65+) and youth (4-12), free for 3 and younger.

For more information and a full schedule of all the events at this year’s county fair go to garfieldcountyfair.com