Preparation, hard work underway for team setting up for Weld County Fair | TheFencePost.com

Preparation, hard work underway for team setting up for Weld County Fair

When the Weld County Fair pre-events kicked-off July 22, it was the start of Konkel's sixth fair and the county's 98th. The fair coordinator has all the plans in her head for the hundreds of crafts, animals and children that will come to Island Grove for pre-fair starting July 22 and the regular fair, which is July 27-Aug. 1.

Konkel walked from the Events Center to the 4-H Building July 19 and pointed out where different events during the fair will take place. A patch of grass will host the dairy and beef shows. The empty Exhibition Building is where the swine shows will be. The big field next to the Events Center will house family entertainment, like giant plastic bubbles for kids to romp around in. Right now, Island Grove looks mostly empty, but by the time the fair kicks off, somehow everything ends up in its proper place.

"We're just clicking right along," she said. "It's like some kind of magic."

It's a kind of magic that takes work to pull off. Hundreds of volunteers, including a 21-member volunteer fair board, come together for set-up, judging, animal handling, tear-down and more, Konkel said.

"A fair of this magnitude just wouldn't be possible without their help," said Keith Maxey, director of Weld County extension. Along with exhibitors, the fair draws around 40,000 visitors every year, he said.

One of those volunteers, Teresa Johnson, has helped with 4-H for more than 32 years. First, she got to help her kids through their projects. Now she stays involved by working as the Weld County 4-H event coordinator and volunteering as the fair's supervisor for horse shows.

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"I just really love it. I have been really lucky," she said, her voice breaking as she recalled stories of the kids she's worked with over the years in various 4-H programs. She wound some string around her hand as she set up the 4-H building in red and gold decor for the 4-H Fashion Revue event, where 4-H kids design, decorate and make clothing. The event is held the Wednesday before the fair and participating kids compete for a spot at the Colorado State Fair.

Even with 1,100 exhibitors and more than 1,500 head of livestock expected at Island Grove during the fair, Konkel said it's much calmer than the Greeley Stampede. Since it's so spread out across the grounds and the focus is on livestock and exhibits rather than entertainment or a carnival, she said the fair seems much calmer. There's a focus on allowing the 4-H and FFA kids to play with their friends in a relaxed and safe setting.

"(For parents,) every kid here is your 4-H kid," Konkel said. "Nobody has to worry about them."

But before that can happen, Konkel has to organize the Events Center, which will house hundreds of goats, sheep and chickens during the fair. Like an air traffic controller, she directed a forklift, which was driving in reverse and carrying a set of bleachers through a garage door. After Konkel had a brief chat with the driver and he did a little fancy wheel-work, the forklift made it through the door and managed to avoid the show pen turf her team just put down. She smiled, wiping sweat from her gray curls, pink binder still clutched to her side.

"It's real hectic this week," Konkel said, "but it's really rewarding when the kids start coming and bringing their projects."❖

Weld County Fair partial schedule

July 22 — Pre-fair events begin

9 a.m. — Rocky Mountain miniature club horse show — Warm-up arena

July 23

8 a.m. — Ranch sorting national championship event — Grandstand Arena

Northern Colorado Draft Horse Association Show — Saddle Club Arena

July 24

8 a.m. — Ranch Sorting National Champion Event — Grandstand arena

9 a.m. — Dog show — Exhibition Building

1 p.m. — Open Boer goat show — Event center

July 25

Noon — 4-H horse show halters classes, green horse and English division classes

July 26

8 a.m. — 4-H horse show western performance classes — Grandstand Arena

1 p.m. — Bred and fed market goat show — Event Center

Open class better living exhibits judging, open to the public — Event Center West meeting rooms

3 p.m. — 4-H horse show timed events, immediately following Western Performance, but not before 3 p.m. — Grandstand Arena

July 27 — Kick-off day

7 a.m. — 4-H ranch horse show — Grandstand Arena

8 a.m. — Open to the public — 4-H Building and Event Center

9 a.m. —Meat goat, market and breeding show — Event Center

July 28

7 a.m. — Weld County Farm Bureau free breakfast — In front of Exhibition Building

8 a.m. — Dairy cattle show — North Oval

All buildings open to public

9 a.m. — Market and breeding sheep show — Event Center

1 p.m. — Dairy heifer sale — North Oval

6 p.m. — Blow-n-go beef showmanship — North Oval

July 29 — Noble Energy Senior Day

8 a.m. — All buildings open to public

Market Beef Show — North Oval

9 a.m. — Poultry showmanship — Event Center

10 a.m. — Rabbit showmanship — Event Center

Celebrating seniors — Pavilion

1 p.m. — Breeding beef show, following the market beef show — North Oval

Flower/horticulture judging — Historic Bunkhouse

4 p.m. — Weld County Swine Breeders Association Show — Exhibition Building

5 p.m. — Open team roping — Grandstand Arena

July 30 — University of Colorado Health Community Day

7-9 a.m. — Hot air balloons, weather permitting — Southeast Oval Grass Area

8 a.m. — All buildings open to the public

Market and breeding swine show, including showmanship — Exhibition Building

Rabbit Show — Event Center

9 a.m. — Poultry Show — Event Center

10 a.m. — Fiddle Fest — Pavilion

Garden tractor pull — Grandstand Arena

5 p.m. — Open team roping — Grandstand Arena

6 p.m. — Catch-It program — North Oval

8 p.m. — Fair Dance — South Grand Stands

July 31 — Anadarko Family Fun Day

8 a.m. — Cowboy Church, sermon and worship by Scott Brown — Pavilion

All buildings open to public

Vette Fest 2016 Car Show — South East Oval

9 a.m. — All around large animal showmanship — North Oval

Rocket fly day — Dirt parking lot west of Centennial Village

Colorado Regulators (mounted shooting) — Grandstand Arena

10 a.m. — Bucket calf show — North Oval

All around small animal showmanship — Event Center

10:30 a.m. — Parade — Staging at Bunkhouse

11:30 a.m. — Fair Barbecue — Pavilion

1 p.m. — Awards ceremony, immediately following barbecue — Pavilion

Aug. 1

3 p.m. — Junior livestock sale — Event Center

For a full list of events, go to http://www.weldcountyfair.com.