Fair gets ‘Back in the Saddle’ in 2021, returns to prepandemic format | SteamboatToday.com

Fair gets ‘Back in the Saddle’ in 2021, returns to prepandemic format

Bailey Fernandez, of Oak Creek, clings to her lamb as it dashes down the track at the 2017 Routt County Fair. Mutton bustin’, one of the fair’s most popular events, is on the schedule again in 2021. (File photo by Joel Reichenberger)

Those heading to the Hayden for the 2021 Routt County Fair, which runs Aug. 13-22, can expect to see demolition derbies, barn dances and a midway filled with food truck offerings that will appeal to just about any appetite.

“I mean we’re ‘Back in the Saddle,’ and that’s our logo and theme this year,” said Jill Delay, fair coordinator and fairgrounds manager. “We had the 2020 fair stuff planned, but we just kind of held off the 2020 stuff, and we brought it back for 2021.”

That includes Lendon James and the Highway 34 Band, who are performing at the Barn Dance on Aug. 22, and many of the drivers who will be on hand for this year’s Demolition Derby on Aug. 21. In addition, there are a few new events, including duck sorting and the Power Wheels Derby. The duck sorting takes place at 6 p.m. Aug. 14, and the derby is slated for 7 p.m. Aug. 18.

The new power wheels event will put children in two age classes, 3-5 and 6-10, and they will drive Fisher-Price Power Wheels electric toy cars in a demolition derby of sorts with young drivers attempting to pop balloons that have been attached to their competitors’ cars.

“We had two Power Wheels Jeeps donated, and they will go to the winner of each of the age divisions,” Delay said.

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Also new this year is online preregistration for those wanting to enter a project in the Home Arts Show. Those interested can preregister at RouttCountyFair.org/p/events/home-arts. Those who prefer the old way can register from 1-8 p.m. Aug. 18 at the fairgrounds.

“You can get all your stuff pre-entered and then bring it down, and we’ll roll you through the line a lot faster,” Delay said. “It’s a program the 4-H uses called Fair Entry, and it’s just a lot quicker, a lot more efficient and a lot less paper.”

And in keeping with fair tradition, there will be a host of 4-H events, beginning with the horse show at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 13 and culminating with the Junior Livestock Show and Sale at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 21.

She said organizers have been working with Routt County public health officials to make sure this year’s fair is safe for everyone, but people can expect the events and gatherings to look more like they did before the pandemic.

“Definitely, we will have some precautions,” Delay said. “We’re working with public health, and their recommendations are anybody that is indoors and that is not vaccinated should have a mask. We’ll also have some hand sanitizing stations when you walk into buildings, and we are asking if people have any symptoms, please don’t come down.”

Delay said there is already a sense of excitement building for this year’s fair with the first events slated to begin in four days. The compete schedule can be found here.

Highlights include the 4-H dog show at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 17 and the poultry, sheep and goat shows in the morning Aug. 18, followed by swine competitions in the afternoon. There will also be an egg toss, home arts check-in and an open jackpot team roping and mule roping at 7:30 p.m. that night.

The exhibition hall, vendor inflatables and midway all open Aug. 19, and there will be rabbit, bucket calf, and dairy and beef breeding show, as well as the beef showmanship and market beef competitions that day. The beer garden will be open from 5-10 p.m., and a bonfire will take place at 7 p.m.

The Demolition Derby and the announcement of Routt County Fair royalty will take place Aug. 20 and kick off a weekend that includes the barn dance, round robin showmanship and parade at 10 a.m. Aug. 21.

The fair closes Aug. 22 with the Chuck Fulton Memorial Open Draft Horse Competition at 8:30 a.m., a pretty baby contest and mutton bustin’ at 11 a.m. and an Adopt-a-Pig contest at 1 p.m.

“It’s craziness down here. I love the history, the tradition and just the sense of community that is found at the fair,” Delay said.

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