Gilpin County Fair offers new events, activities, and contests

fair_01Not the same old song and dance this year!

By Heather Pearce

The Gilpin County Fair returns bigger, better and more family-friendly than ever, Aug. 20-21, with new events, rides, attractions and contests. While many popular aspects of the Fair return—including the Saturday night bonfire and Sunday morning pancake breakfast—this year’s event also features bull riding, mutton bustin’, live music, craft beer and cider, barrel racing, longhorns and an array of thrilling attractions and competitions.

As the Fair’s new coordinator, Heather Pearce, has helped organize the fair the past three years and looks forward to offering new events and bringing back old favorites this year. One of the biggest misconceptions about the Gilpin Fair is that it’s same every year. Pearce is working to keep things fresh, and in 2016, the event is definitely offering something different. “We have lots of new and exciting things for all ages, and even different events on Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to come both days,” Pearce said.

The Mardi Gras Bulls & Beads event, Aug. 20, takes over the rodeo arena at 2 p.m. with traditional bull riding, newly popular ranch bronc riding, mutton bustin’ and a sheep scramble. The fair’s first day also features a barrel racing jackpot, a flag disposal ceremony, Timberline Fire Fashion Show, Misto the Magi magic show and contests including log splitting, dog agility, and karaoke and talent show. An opening ceremony for the County’s new year-round BMX pump track takes place at 10 a.m., followed by various contests, as well.

Be sure to catch the live entertainment under the tent featuring the band NoGo Gillbillies, Hot Spell, and the Canyon Creek Band. Tae Kwon Do and robotic demonstrations are also planned. There will also be craft booths, Carousel of Happiness animals, Colorado peaches, a rock climbing wall, a giant slide, EKGs, fire trucks and more.

When the fairgrounds close on Saturday at 8 p.m., there is still more fun to be had. The Mardi Gras Bulls & Beads After Party and Awards—including an awards presentation, cowboys, bands, food, drinks and more—takes place outside the Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk.

The Fair’s second day, Sunday, August 21, features much of the same excitement from Saturday in addition to slot cars, petting zoo, longhorn steer photos, public judging of the Gilpin Gourmet Contest, the Eagle’s Nest Fun Run, and more. Special events on Sunday include the Blizzard & Boo Longhorn Show, and contests including the ATV rodeo, and horseshoes. Live entertainment includes the music of Todd Adelman & the Country Mile and The Bogans.

Day two of the Fair also features the Gilpin Gourmet contest. Compete for ribbons and bragging rights in baked goods, preserved foods and new home-brewed beverage divisions. Entries are due, Aug. 20 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Judging will be open to the public, Aug. 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The first 50 people paying $5 can taste, judge, and vote. A new home-brew category is included; entries are accepted, Aug. 15-17 in the Exhibit Barn.

Another new addition to the Fair on both days is the Colorado Brew Tent featuring beer and cider created by several of the state’s breweries. Tivoli Brewing, the state’s oldest, most historic brewery and owned by Gilpin County residents, is sponsoring the tent.

Pearce and the volunteer Fair Committee have been working since last September to put this event together. If you see someone in a yellow or white Gilpin County Fair t-shirt on Aug. 20-21, please stop and thank them for all the work they do!

Find the full schedule and more at

For the latest information, visit the website or find Gilpin County Fair on Facebook. The Gilpin County Fairgrounds is located at 230 Norton Dr. off of Colo. 46 about seven miles north of Black Hawk, 14 miles south of Nederland, and 18 miles west of Golden.

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