El Paso County Fair 1 (copy)

Seven-year-old Kayfon Frihauf plays with one of his brother’s pigs in the swine barn at the El Paso County Fair & Events Center last year in Calhan.

This year's El Paso County Fair has been sharply curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic to only include 4-H activities, the county said Thursday.

The fair, scheduled to begin July 11, usually draws thousands of participants and spectators for hundreds of activities. Many events across the state, and the country, have been canceled since large gatherings were banned due to fears of spreading the coronavirus. 

An El Paso County spokesperson did not immediately respond to whether the dates of the fair would also be changed.

The 115th Annual County Fair in El Paso County will only feature 4-H exhibits and attractions, a county statement said. 

"The county decided to carry on the fair tradition while providing a safe environment, but also recognized large special events would be difficult while maintaining social distancing requirements at performances, carnival, and vendor areas," the statement said. 'The 4-H only fair option would allow for 4-H participants to complete their projects and potentially participate at the State Fair."

County staff will work with El Paso County Public Health officials to determine safe procedures for the fair, the statement said. They will likely include a limit on the number of people and social distancing measures, it said. 

Special events such as the demolition derby could be scheduled as stand-alone events later in the year, the county said. 

“The El Paso County Fair is a treasured family tradition, and I appreciate the work done to carry that forward in some modified fashion,” said Mark Waller, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, in the statement. “While we would love to hold a normal fair, we agree it is unlikely the governor will loosen restrictions in time.

"However, this approach is good for those in the 4-H program and we look forward to our regular fair returning in 2021.”

Contact Liz Henderson, 719-476-1623

Twitter: @GazetteLiz

Multimedia Journalist

Liz is a multimedia journalist who joined the Gazette staff in 2019.

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