Boulder County Fairgrounds Manager Joe LaFollette doubts future events at the facility will draw the same protests over the county’s COVID-19 mandates as it did on Saturday.
About five protesters entered the exhibit building during the Boulder County Farmers Market to complain about the requirement that anyone entering an event of 500 people or larger had to show proof of vaccination. The protestors were among a group of 50 who gathered outside the exhibit building to voice their displeasure with the rule, LaFollette said.
The five were “harassing” people inside the exhibit building and several inside called the Boulder County Sheriff’s non-emergency phone line. At one point, a man unvaccinated against COVID-19 entered the building and pulled out a copy of the U.S. Constitution instead of showing a proof of a shot, LaFollete said.
Two deputies — who had been at the fairgrounds earlier in the day — were able to talk the protestors out of the exhibit building, LaFollette said.
“The deputies were totally professional and were able to coerce the people out of there,” he said.
LaFollette said show managers have contacted him since the Saturday incident with concerns about further protests. He said most of the show managers would likely limit the capacity to under 500, which means no one is required to show proof of vaccination but must wear masks.
“I think it is just easier to have someone outside the door with a counter, keeping track of how many people are coming in, rather than have volunteers at a larger event checking for vaccine cards,” LaFollete said.
The next show at the exhibit building is the Train and Mineral Show scheduled for this Saturday. Although well-attended, the Train and Mineral Show is unlikely to draw as big a crowd as the farmers market, which is annually a big attraction, LaFollete said.
There were no citations issued at the protests, said Boulder County County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carrie Haverfield, adding deputies generally don’t get involved in enforcing COVID-19 mandates.
“The sheriff’s office only gets involved in COVID related issues (masks, vaccination proof) if a situation requires the need for law enforcement intervention (assault, trespass, etc), '' Haverfield said.
The protestors gathered first at the entrance to the fairgrounds but were later moved west of the Jack Murphy Arena parking lot, LaFollette said. “At that point, it really wasn’t that big of a deal,” he said.
The Longmont protest ran at the same time a similar protest was staged in Boulder, all to object to proof of vaccine requirements.
Longmont resident Doe Kelly said she and other protestors at the fairgrounds were called “a moron or an idiot” by members of the public. Kelly added that the vaccine passport requirements at the fairgrounds and in other places “egregious and most likely unconstitutional,” Kelly said in an email.
“...There were participants in (Saturday’s) rally who have done a ton of reading, viewing, informing themselves and passing along information, in spite of the current curtains of censorship,” she said.