It’s been a far better than fair year for the GarCo Fair
RIFLE — With most of the 2015 Garfield County Fair and Rodeo in the books, early indications point toward increased attendance this year at the annual week-long event.
“Overall, from what I understand, our numbers are up, so people are coming out and enjoying the fair,” said Levy Burris, Fair Board president.
In addition to the 4-H, Future Farmers of America and open-class competitions, all of which have gone very smoothly, Burris pointed to prime-time events, such as the Friday night concert featuring headliner Gary Allan, as huge draws. With more than 7 million albums sold throughout his career, Allan is the biggest contemporary name to play the fair.
“We’ve presold more tickets for this concert than we ever have in the past,” Burris said as a line for the 7 p.m. show started to form around 5 p.m. A final count of tickets sold was not available Friday evening.
Other events, such as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo Thursday night proved to be very popular, according to Burris. Rifle’s own Cole Fritzlan tied for first place in steer riding with a time of 5.2 seconds.
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The fair continues Saturday starting with the Kiwanis’ pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. in Heinze Park, followed by the parade, which is coordinated by the Rifle Chamber of Commerce.
The parade starts at 10 a.m. and runs down Railroad Avenue from 16th Street to Third Street. With the staging area starting at Metro Park on Railroad Avenue, Chamber President and CEO Andrea Maddalone said she expects the line of floats to run up West 16th Street close to Rifle High School.
“It’s going to be big,” she said.
Saturday, the final day of the fair, continues with the Summer of Thunder Car Show in Metro Park at noon and a number of other events throughout the day, including the Rifle Rotary Ball Drop at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday culminates at 7 p.m. in what has become one of, if not the most popular event: the demolition derby.
“The stands are usually packed,” Burris said.
The fair has seen a resurgence the past several years, despite the fact that it no longer features a carnival. In 2013, the county completed a $900,000 improvement project covering everything from the parking lot — which was full nearly every night this past week — to improved lighting, new fencing and a larger equine warm-up area.
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Ivan Jackson joined LIFT-UP as its new executive director in August.