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Boulder County Fair gets underway today virtually

The fair, which altered its format in response to the coronavirus pandemic, will feature livestreamed events and video highlights of past years on its website and social media channels.
bull rider at boulder county fair
A boy tries his luck on a mechanical bull at the 2018 Boulder County Fair and Rodeo. (Photo by Macie May)

A stunted and virtual 2020 Boulder County Fair opens today and it is unlike any other in its 151-year-history.

That is not necessarily a good thing, said John Herring, a longtime supporter of the event and Boulder County cattle rancher.

“It’s like night and day compared to the past,” Herring said. “People are scrambling to get anything together. It’s just tougher for the kids.”

“The fair should be about monster trucks, corn dogs, being with their friends and chasing girls,” Herring said. “It’s just not going to be the same this year.”

The 2020 event is, for the most part, canceled due to COVID-19 fears. Even the annual Boulder County Fair Parade through downtown Longmont won’t go on. 

Instead, fairgoers can view videos of past events including the parade and the carnival at Concerts and, yes, the monster truck show also will be viewed digitally.

“We’re still going to try and give people a great experience and do it safely as possible,” said Laura Boldt, fair coordinator.

There also will be some events livestreamed on Facebook as well as on the fair website, Boldt said. 

Some 4-H competitions for animals — including beef, goats and poultry —  will be held at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, through Aug. 9. But the public won’t be allowed to see the animals, Boldt said. Only 10 people will be allowed to witness the judging to adhere to social distancing requirements, she said.

Families who don’t feel comfortable being on hand at the fair also can be judged via computer, Boldt said.

“We want to keep this a safe and healthy event,” she said.