There’s something about the blinking lights and the loud music and the spinning until I nearly barf. I never outgrew the carnival. When I see a ferris wheel, I have to stop and ride.
There’s a certain atmosphere at the Boulder County Fair. The air is dusty and buzzing. You can smell horses in the distance, mixed with fried funnel cakes and the tickle of cotton candy. All the cowboy hats and boots come out. Children laugh and shout. My memories are always a thrilling blur, like they were imprinted while I rode on the twirling teacups.
Some people, especially people visiting Colorado, love the fair’s rodeo: watching brave cowboys wrangle bulls and adorable children try to ride and race sheep (that’s called “mutton busting,” which is almost as fun to say as it is to witness). Some like the petting zoo or the 4-H exhibits or the animal showmanship (the bunny exhibit, oh my garsh). But for me, it’s always going to be the cheap games and the tents and the carnies and the strange echo of a time long passed.
The Boulder County Fair is my favorite fair because it’s also Colorado’s oldest county fair. It started in 1868, making it even older than the state of Colorado itself. Back then, Colorado was a territory.
We’re right in the middle of the 2017 fair. It started July 28 and runs through Aug. 6.
It features animal shows, a demolition derby, barrel racing, goat yoga, a wild animal sanctuary, Camp Gladiator, a Mexican rodeo, ballet on horseback, live music and more. Many events are free.
You’ll find it at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road in Longmont, just east of Boulder. Head up Hover and you’ll know it when you see the flashing lights revolving through the sky on the ferris wheel. With me on top, a smile stretched to the moon.
Looking for other ways to enjoy Boulder County this week? I’m writing this at lunchtime and may or may not have food on my mind. So here are my foodie picks of the week. I’m not obsessed with food. You’re obsessed with food.
Sanitas Taco Fest: Sanitas Brewery is holding a Taco Fest 2-9 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 5) at the brewery, 3550 Frontier Ave. What’s a taco fest? Beer. Gourmet tacos. Lucha Libre wrestling. Live music. Pinatas. Yup. Learn more online at sanitastacofest.com.
Black Cat Farm Festival of Dinners: At 6:30 p.m. tonight, Black Cat Bistro chef Eric Skokan will be serving up a menu influenced by his own garden. Enjoy dining in a local home, complete with music by the pool. Learn more and score one of the limited tickets at BrownPaperTickets.
Wine and Wood-Fired Pizza: Which do you like better: pizza or wine? How about both? This event, at the 63rd Street Farm, brings together wood-fired pizza and local wine on Thursday from 3-7 p.m. The winery and tasting room is also open. Learn more online at Wine & Wood-Fired Pizza.