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Free family entertainment offers daily fun at the fair

Sean Strode
Garfield County Communications Coordinator
Mariachi San Jose play the music of Mexico.
Submitted |

The stars of the Garfield County Fair are the 4-H youth shows and open class competitions, rodeos and its main events. But the heart of the fair is the free and affordable entertainment and activities that take place each day, making the fair a weeklong popular family event. Concert headliner Gary Allan and the Xtreme Bulls and PRCA/WPRA ProRodeo are sure to draw in big evening crowds. And from Aug. 3-8 the free family entertainment will make the Garfield County Fair and Rodeo a lively community festival.

Most people arrive at the fair, walk around to all of the daily events, to the vendor booths and to taste the great fair food. This, for many, is the nostalgic essence of the fair experience. It’s what everyone recalls from growing up and coming to the fair each year. There’s a certain familiarity with just being on the fairgrounds and experiencing the free daily aspects.

In addition to the fair being nostalgic, it’s going to be more action-packed than ever this year. Through the support of the Garfield County commissioners, the 2015 Garfield County fair board and Fair and Events Coordinator Doreen Herriott have organized an outstanding lineup of free events. The fair board has spent the last year gaining valuable feedback from fairgoers and industry experts to consistently evolve everyone’s experience at the fair, while keeping the traditional elements. These events keep the pulse of the fair beating, bring childhood memories rushing back, and add excitement to the air.

“We are always trying to make the fair better, and this year is no exception,” shared Herriott. “For 2015, we have a lot more free music and entertainment each day. Great music, great entertainers … I’m really excited for the fair!”

This year’s fair has more bands and more variety than ever. There is music for every type of listener. Those who enjoy rock ’n’ roll should be sure to catch Fifty50. This Roaring Fork Valley band has won numerous Locals’ Choice awards. Or listen to Tyrel Leonard, a singer/songwriter who will keep the energy high with his acoustic-centered pop and rock original music.

Country music lovers have five different bands covering the entire spectrum of country western music. Stop by and listen to Michael Aldridge playing today’s top country artists. Or catch the Caleb Dean Band performing good ’ol straight-up country, featuring icons of country music. “First and foremost, we’re about having fun,” claims Caleb Dean, band leader. “We’re a country dance and show band with a lot of influence on country music from the ’90s.”

The up and coming Trent Hughes Band plays top country songs with some blues and rock mixed in. And listen to a great mix of high energy southern and country rock from local favorite LeverAction. A must-see show for all ages comes from the Yampa Valley Boys, with traditional western music combined with a little comedy.

Don’t miss the Latin dance band, Onda. Using a unique mix of salsa, funk and jazz, they get everyone dancing. “We give the audience a well-rounded look at Latin music,” band leader Roberto Sequeira said. “We’re not afraid to step out of traditional styles and offer all types of dance music. It’s a really versatile band, and we play all kinds of feel-good songs.” Celebrate the mariachi music of Mexico with the talented Mariachi San Jose. As a special treat, be sure to hear the recording artist Gonzales sing the national anthem Friday and Saturday night.

Live music isn’t the only thing at the Garfield County Fair & Rodeo, there is also great live entertainment for the whole family. On Friday, witness a traditional pow-wow featuring singers, dancers and drummers with the Southern Ute Heritage Dancers. Or take the kids to the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, possibly the most comedy you can fit into one show. To round out the day, it is highly recommended that you see Loop Rawlins Wild West Show. Rawlins will dazzle the audience with mystifying trick roping, whip cracking and gun spinning entertainment.

In addition to all of the free live entertainment, the Midway of Family Fun will be filled with family-friendly options for kids of all ages. Fairgoers will be treated to clowns, face painting, pony rides and jugglers. Little tykes can meet animals in the Noah’s Ark Petting Zoo. New adventures await families for hours of affordable fun, including Young Guns Wild West Park, where every child is a winner. Those feeling a little more adventurous will also have mechanical bull riding and the High Fly Bungee Jump.

Stop by the fair, walk around and listen to some of the free music, and remember all of the great memories through the years. This is the pulse of the fair, so feel its rhythm Aug. 3-8 at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle.


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