Officials anticipate large crowds for Garfield County Fair in Rifle |

Officials anticipate large crowds for Garfield County Fair in Rifle

A cowboy grabs the horns of a steer during the Pro Rodeo steer wrestling event at the 2019 Garfield County Fair and Rodeo.
Chelsea Self / Citizen Telegram file

The allure of funnel cakes is stronger than ever.

The looming bull-riding action has never sounded so edge-of-your-seat.

As the area tries to finally rid itself of that nasty global pandemic, the stalls, arenas and grandstand at the Garfield County Fairgrounds & Events Center should soon be busy with workers preparing for the 83rd annual Garfield County Fair.

The fair takes place from July 27 to Aug. 1.

“I think it’s going to be the biggest fair that you’ve ever seen,” Garfield County Fair Board President Klayton Costanzo said. “I think people are excited to get out, do stuff and get some sort of normalcy back in their life, so I think it’s going to be a great experience. I think you’re going to see a lot of people turn out for this one.”

In 2020, the county’s annual get-together went virtual with livestock and open class shows. The livestock sale was also conducted virtually. Meanwhile, all live, in-person events were completely canceled due to COVID-19 precautions.

This year, the fair is back in real life.

“We are excited to be planning this year’s fair and rodeo, especially after last year’s COVID limitations and restrictions. The Garfield County Fair Board has been thinking of new, exciting ways to bring a lot of fun to this year’s events,” Garfield County Fairgrounds and Events Manager Cassidy Evans said on the fair website. “We are hopeful that we will be able to have all events and that we will get to see the smiling faces of our community again.”

Rather than just two live musical acts typical to Garfield County fairs in the past, this year’s main concert includes three acts: country singers Aaron Watson, Michael Ray and Chancy Williams. They all play July 30.

“Concert nights are going to look a little different than it normally does,” Costanzo said. “Beer sales will be there all week, which is going to be something a little different. I believe the carnival’s showing up two days early. So there’s definitely some unique things to this fair that are going to be a little different than most.”

And yes, kids, the demolition derby and monster truck shows are back and slated to take place July 31 to Aug. 1. Meanwhile, the fair starts with a “Family & Kids” rodeo July 27, while a Professional Cowboys Association Xtreme Bulls is set for July 28 and a Professional Cowboys Association rodeo is slated for July 29.

City and fair officials anticipate Railroad Avenue, which has seen a portion of it close to traffic due to recent downtown construction, to be open in time for the July 31 fair parade.

“We’re optimistic, I guess would be the best way to put it,” Costanzo said. “The city’s telling us that they’re going to have Third Street and Railroad (Avenue) done in time for the fair parade. So traffic impact, hopefully, shouldn’t be a thing.”

According to the fair website, this year’s fair is themed “Roaring into the ’20s.”

“An homage to the resilience of our people and the great agricultural heritage of Western Colorado,” the website states.

But in addition to the county’s deep roots, Costanzo looks forward to seeing people gathering in one place.

“It’s just a melting pot of everybody. All persons and entities get to be involved in this, which is cool,” he said. “You get to see a lot of people with a lot of different outlooks on life, and all are coming together to enjoy one thing that benefits the whole county. So it’s always been something interesting to see people from all different walks of life come together and enjoy one greater cause.”

For more information regarding the Garfield County Fair, visit the website at

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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