For 146 years, the Colorado State Fair has been one of the most highly anticipated summer festivals in Pueblo. The fair brings hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the state to Pueblo to enjoy fried food, concerts, rodeos, carnival rides and other festivities.
Over the past few years, however, the fair’s revenue has decreased and in the weeks leading up to fair, there was talk that it could possibly find a new home in Denver to help bring back the revenue it used to make four years ago. One major factor that has contributed to the fair’s loss of revenue has been rising energy costs.
Even as concerns rise over the event’s future in Pueblo, however, the fair is still a popular activity among CSU-Pueblo students.
Each year, Pueblo students of all ages are given free passes to get into the gates and experience what the fair has to offer. College night was held Sept. 4 at the fairgrounds.
“The Colorado State Fair donates student tickets each year for us to distribute to our students,” said Gena Alfonso, director of Student Engagement and Leadership. “This year, we received 3,000 student tickets and they were all picked up by the end of last week. There is always a high demand for the tickets.”
Keelan Bailey, a CSU-Pueblo student who attended the Colorado State Fair, said, “I think if the fair moved out of Pueblo, the city would lose some value because the State Fair is one of the things that people from all of Colorado look forward to.
“The fair also brings a lot of revenue to businesses in the city. But it is only around for a short period of time in the summer, so I feel like one really couldn’t say if it would affect the city one way or another until they actually make a decision,” he said.
Another concern has been about the fate of the grounds in Pueblo if the fair ended up moving.
“There is a lot of space on the grounds. It could still be used for graduation and the rodeo, but it would not bring in nearly as much money as it does currently,” said Lauren Parsons, a graduate of CSU-Pueblo.
“The fair gives the residents of Pueblo and surrounding counties something to do. Mostly everybody looks forward to the one week of summer that the fair is held because it gives the people in this small town something to do with friends and family without having to travel hours away,” she said.
Since the news broke that the fair could call a different city home, a petition was started to help keep the fair in Pueblo. The goal, which was to get 5,000 signatures by Labor Day, was reached late in the day on Sept. 4, three days before the deadline.
In January, the names and petition will be given to the state legislature when the session opens for discussion.