The new falcon herald logo.
El Paso County Colorado District 49

Fair fun for the future

The 104th El Paso County Fair has come and gone, and it is time for an update. First, my deepest thanks to the folks who worked hard to put on this year’s fair. As always, it takes a dedicated group of people who don’t care too much about abundant sleep to pull off this annual event. They are to be congratulated for their commitment to the county and to our El Paso County communities. Their work began before the end of last year’s fair!Included in all those who have worked to make the fair a success are the members of the fair advisory board, the Resource Development Association, the fair association, CSU Extension and the parks division of El Paso County Public Services.Thanks, also, to the 4-H’ers and their families for their creativity, hard work and dedication to excellence. Without our El Paso County 4-H families, the fair would be just another carnival, and traditions that have survived generations would be lost.I am pleased to announce that attendance this year was up 7 percent. This represents 1,681 more folks than last year coming through the gates. Once inside, attendees were treated to bears, bees, reptiles, the best of the best in livestock, ventriloquists, gunfighters, racing, exhibits, a demolition derby, 47 diverse vendors, contests, a petting zoo and food – so much food!As has been the case since 2005, the El Paso County Fair has operated without any general fund support from El Paso County. The fair’s financial support comes from gate revenue, sponsorships, vendor revenue, carnival and other miscellaneous revenue. In its third year of operation, the El Paso County Speedway and the revenue it draws has significantly benefited the fair’s ability to be self-sustainable. This is critical to the ongoing operation of the fair in the absence of any taxpayer subsidy. The relationships among our vendors, our speedway and the county have created a model, which is working.In the midst of another successful fair, however, are some concerns, and I look forward to working with our county staff and volunteer boards to make sure we address some of these before next year. The number of vendors at this year’s fair was down. This decrease was somewhat offset by the increase in attendance, but it is a fact that could be a cautionary sign and must not be ignored as we plan for next year.I have asked that we look at the funding structure in an attempt to reduce gate admission costs. Bringing your entire family to the fair and paying a chunk of money at the gate makes it tough to budget for items and activities once inside. This also limits the amount of time spent at the fair. Which day can you afford to attend, and which events will you have to miss because of the cost at the gate? These are important questions, and I am interested in discovering a way to make the gate more affordable within the fair’s budget constraints.Once you have paid the gate admission, are enough family activities offered? How about more dancing, more contests, more hands-on participation opportunities? Are we reaching out to the assets within our El Paso County communities enough – our military, our fire and police communities, our schools and businesses, our municipal leaders, our universities – for ways to provide more activity and outreach at the fair?While the new traditions, especially racing, appeal to a large audience and are critical to the self-sufficiency of the fair, are we focusing enough on the older traditions and history of the fair?These do not necessarily require a yes or no answer at this time, but must be a part of our evaluation and planning for next year.I am interested in hearing your opinion. What was great at the fair? What was not so great? What ideas do you have to make next year’s fair even better? What can you offer or suggest that will fit into the budget realities and long-time traditions of the fair? If you did not attend this year, why not? What would make you not only attend, but bring your family and friends next year?If you would like to share your input, please feel free to e-mail me at or call 520-6412. If you e-mail, please include “FAIR” in the subject line. I will share your thoughts with staff and volunteers as well as the Board of County Commissioners.The El Paso County Fair is a special part of our El Paso County heritage. It brings family together, teaches our youth a wide variety of skills and responsibilities and is an all-around great time for all! I am committed to making sure that the traditions and enjoyment go on for years to come. Thank you again to all who worked so hard and also to all who attended!Amy LathenEl Paso County Commissioner, District 2

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers