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State fair begins Friday in Pueblo

Event continues through Labor Day

Colorado State Fair prepares for...

PUEBLO, Colo. - Thousands of people from across the state will come to Pueblo starting Friday for the annual Colorado State Fair.

Preparations currently are underway at the state fairgrounds, with vendors setting up and stages being assembled.

The fair usually attracts between 400,000 and 500,000 visitors.

On Wednesday, many customers were buying tickets for the ZZ Top concert, one of many bands performing at the fair.

ZZ Top became famous in the 1980s for their music videos on MTV.

"Those guys looked old back then and I'm sure they look even older now," said Bill Thompson of Denver, proudly displaying a pair of tickets.  "But they're still one of my favorites."

Dotty Jones, a native Pueblo resident, recently moved back home from Rye.

"I've attended the fair every year for 50 years," she sad.  "But now, I'm living across the street from it.  I think it'll be OK.  I don't mind the noise, and I love the food there."

Because fair attendance has fluctuated over the past two years -- 500,000 in 2015 and 466,000 last year -- there has been talk that the fair would be more successful if it moved to Denver.

But state Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, said the fair will remain in Pueblo.

"People here believe in the fair," he said.  "I know it's had issues in he past, but it's profitable now.  It generates more than $30 million for the state.  "It's not moving as long as I'm the state senator here."

Long-time fair vendors also want the fair to remain in Pueblo.

"I've been here since 1995," said Bonnie Brieibsca, who brings two food and drink stands from Kansas.  "It would be hard and expensive to take all of my equipment up to Denver.  All the facilities I need are right here."  

Organizers hope good weather and a stronger local economy will make this year's fair successful.

Full entertainment lineup released for Colorado State Fair.

The fair started as a horse show in 1869, with an attendance of 2,000, and has been canceled just once -- in 1917 for World War I.

For more information about this year's fair, visit http://coloradostatefair.com.


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