The fun at the Weld County Fair officially begins Wednesday |

The fun at the Weld County Fair officially begins Wednesday

ERIC BELLAMY / ebellamy@greeleytribune.comKim Sterkel of Erie jokes with friends at the pre-fair Ranch Horse Spectacular on Saturday at Island Grove Regional Park. The Weld County Fair starts Wednesday.

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It’s difficult for Deb Carpio to remember a time when the Weld County Fair didn’t consume her life during this part of the year.

“But I wouldn’t want it any other way,” said the second-year fair board member who participated in local 4-H in her youth before sending her now-grown children through the program. “It’s too much fun to miss out on.”

Carpio says the fair brings the community together through family-fun entertainment.

“There’s so many great things to do … and so many great people involved with the event, and this might be the only time of the year where you get to see them, since everyone has such busy schedules,” she said. “It’s great.”

There’s entertainment aplenty at this year’s fair, but as Carpio emphasized, each year it’s really all about the 4-H exhibitors – especially the kids.

And this year’s fair, which kicks off Wednesday at Greeley’s Island Grove Regional Park, will be no exception.

Between the livestock, crops, quilts, cake decorating, shooting sports, ceramics, photography, woodworking, rockets and various other works on display, this year’s fair will have nearly 8,000 entries.

“We do try to provide a decent amount of live, family entertainment, but ultimately, as far as I’m concerned, it’s to get people here so they can see what our 4-Hers are doing,” she said. “They work so hard all year long, and we think they’re deserving of the community coming out to see that.”

Whether it’s the 4-H exhibits or the live entertainment fair-goers are in search of, it all begins early Wednesday.

The day starts at 8 a.m. with the Green Horse Ranch Show and timed events in the Grandstand Arena while the 4-H Building and Event Center will open to the public that morning for viewing of the exhibitions and will stay open until 8 p.m.

Wednesday also begins the livestock shows, some of which will be taking place in the Event Center with others in the Livestock Barn.

The livestock shows will continue through the end of the week, concluding with an awards ceremony Sunday at the Pavilion, which follows a free barbecue lunch, and Monday’s sale.

As far as the entertainment goes, this year’s fair will feature Splash Dogs, a nationally recognized dock-jumping group that will be performing Friday through Sunday; Friday’s Senior Day, sponsored by Noble Energy with activities and a free lunch for seniors; Saturday’s Fiddle Fest, a first-year event at the Weld County Fair that will take place Saturday at the Pavilion; and Sundays’ Family Fun Day, sponsored by Anadarko Petroleum and featuring educational displays, face painters and activities for youngsters.

Additionally, the nearby Centennial Village will be open and free of charge Friday through Sunday, giving living-history demonstrations, and the Weld County Fair will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday, taking place around the oval on the grounds.

Even before Wednesday rolls around, fair organizers have kept busy with “pre-fair” activities, which began last Friday and included a dog show Sunday and the first two days of the horse shows that will conclude Wednesday.

“I’d say based on the pre-fair, we’re due for another successful year,” said Janet Konkel, who is serving as the Weld County Fair coordinator for the first time. “We had a lot of people put in a lot of preparation hours, and so far everything looks like it’s pretty organized.”

Gus Bidwell, a sixth-year Weld County Fair Board member, agreed.

“It’s looking like it’ll be another good one,” said Bidwell, who estimated that anywhere from 60 to 80 people played a part in organizing this year’s fair.

“Another good one,” thanks mostly to the numerous 4-Hers putting their hard work on display, Bidwell added.

“In my opinion, it’s the best youth program in the U.S.,” Bidwell said of 4-H. “I don’t have any problem putting in the work to organize the fair each year because the kids are worth it.”

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