Garfield County Fair sees low turnout so far |

Garfield County Fair sees low turnout so far

Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado ” Steve Carter, a Democratic candidate for Garfield County commissioner, set up his booth to talk to potential voters at the opening weekend of the Garfield County Fair on Saturday.

However, he said that there was hardly anybody to talk to.

“It was very surprising,” Carter said. “I felt like I was all alone. I was trying to meet voters, but there was no one to meet.”

By Sunday, several events had been canceled and the turnout was very low, according to Carter and others who attended the annual event.

A carnival was scheduled from Thursday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 3. However, the carnival pulled out after Saturday night and left town. The sign at the Garfield County Fairgrounds read simply “Carnival canceled.”

According to Garfield County Manager Ed Green, the carnival had been booked at the last minute, and there had been some problems with double-booking in another location as well.

“It’s really hard to book a carnival,” Green said. “This one double-booked and put half the rides here and the others in Eagle County. Then the carnival guy got upset and pulled the whole thing.”

Jim Sheets, president of the Garfield County Fair board for the past two years, said it’s been at least four years since the Garfield County Fair has had a carnival.

“From my understanding, they came in at the last minute to help out and did the best they could and we appreciated it,” Sheets said. “But then they had to leave because they were double-booked.”

The concert scheduled for Saturday night was scaled back when one of the co-headliners, Chris Cagle, a country singer, canceled that morning due to an illness, according to Tiffany Richardson, concert coordinator for Colorado West Promotions, which puts on the concert.

The co-headliner, Night Ranger, a rock ‘n’ roll band, still played, Richardson said.

A regional bluegrass band from Arvada called “Long Road Home” was found at the last minute to replace Cagle, Richardson said.

Refunds were made to those who had purchased tickets to see Cagle.

Sheets admitted that there were times when the turnout at the fair, which is scheduled to run through Saturday, Aug. 9, seemed low over the first weekend.

“At times it looked low but at other times it looked pretty good,” he said. “The ice cream social on Sunday was fantastic.”

But Carter said vendors who were planning to be there for the entire week were packing up and leaving Monday evening.

“The vendors were asking, ‘What’s going on here?'” Carter said. “And there was a wine tasting sponsored by a local liquor store Monday evening, but there were very few attendees.”

Carter said that in the past, many times a person couldn’t find a parking space at the fair, but this year, you could park wherever you wanted.

“The only thing that seems to be generating any activity is the 4-H,” he said. “It ain’t the way it used to be.”

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