EPC Fair opens for 108th year

Organizers uncertain about financial impact from Black Forest Fire

El Paso County Fair off to strong start

CALHAN, Colo. - Two evening thunderstorms canceled a car race but didn't completely dampen enthusiasm for the annual El Paso County Fair in Calhan that began Saturday.

Organizers said attendance has increased in each of the past six years despite two major wildfires and the slumping economy. 

"We're wondering how the Black Forest Fire will affect attendance this year," said Suzan McCoy, the fair's event coordinator.  "The numbers of 4-H Club members will be down because many of them lived in Black Forest and lost their homes."

In addition to the usual offerings of music, carnival rides, games, food and product vendors, and animal exhibits, McCoy said the fair will have three new entertainment acts.  She said the fair decided against having expensive big-name acts that have left many fairs losing money.

"If you get a band in here that costs $50,000, it would make the tickets extremely high," said McCoy.  "We try to get something local that we can afford, that makes ticket prices more affordable for families."

McCoy said the true purpose of the fair is to educate people about, and support, farm life at a time when the average farmer is nearly 60 years of age and the number of family farms continue declining.

"Here in El Paso County, it has gone the way of the big farmer or the hobby farmer," she said.

Highlights of the fair included free admission on opening day for active-duty military members, veterans and their dependents.  Admission is $1 on Wednesday, and emergency responders and their families get a $1 admission discount next Saturday, the final day of the fair.

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