Routt County Fair kicks off this weekend |

Routt County Fair kicks off this weekend

Dyllan Spitzley and her Belgium bearded chicken had a great day at the Routt County Fair in 2018, winning awards for showmanship, best in class and best bantam.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It’s fair time.

The Routt County Fair kicks off Friday, Aug. 9, with 10 days of livestock judging, home arts showing and demolition derby-ing fun. This year, the fair will celebrate its 105th anniversary with the theme of “Cheers to 105 years!” 

For the first time this year, the fairgrounds will play host to a bonfire in the outdoor arena, with a beer garden, cowboy poetry and free live music on Thursday, Aug. 15.

Jill Delay, fair coordinator, said the bonfire will provide an informal, laid-back event where people can catch up with friends they don’t see often.

“That’s something we always hear every year — ‘Oh, I only see you at the fair,'” Delay said. “It gives everybody a chance to sit and talk without a bunch of other stuff going on, so I’m really excited about that. I’ve been wanting to do a bonfire for years. This year, it just worked out for us.”

Suzie Knight will be performing cowboy poetry in between performances from Hayden’s Trevor Guire and Kyle Allgood. Proceeds from the beer garden will benefit the Hayden Parks and Recreation board.

“Families can come,” she said. “If they’ve got smaller kids, we’re telling them to bring toys for the sandbox. Bring a camp chair; grab a cold beer if they want a cold beer. Sit and watch the music. Their kids can be right there and play and hang out at the bonfire, and it’s all free.”

The beer garden at the demolition derby will also be larger this year, allowing drinks within the entire grandstand seating area.

The ag experiences and demonstrations in the Lockhart Barn will be larger than in the past, too.

As for can’t miss events, Delay recommends checking out the home arts competition in the Exhibit Hall, which includes impressively large vegetables, homemade crafts and baked goods all grown and made by Routt County residents.

If you go

For the full 2019 Routt County Fair schedule of events, click here.

“Come in on Friday — next Friday (Aug. 16) — after all of the home arts have been judged and are on display,” Delay said. “Last year, we shattered a record. We had over 1,900 home arts exhibits, which is, we think, probably more than the state fair even gets. It’s definitely more than all of the surrounding counties combined, and it’s just an awe factor when all the quilts are hung and all the exhibits are just everywhere.”

She also said folks shouldn’t skip over the small animal barn, which houses the rabbit and poultry competitions.

“You can see some pretty exotic animals over there, and it’s something people miss sometimes,” Delay said.  

Cap it all off with a funnel cake or barbecue from the midway.

“What’s a fair without cotton candy and snow cones and Texas barbecue, you know?” Delay said.

Those who hope to attend the Hill Petroleum Demolition Derby on Friday, Aug. 16, should get their tickets soon, Delay said.

“We’ve sold out the last seven years in a row, and we sell out a little bit earlier every year,” she said. “We are on schedule to do that again, so if people want tickets, they need to get online and get their tickets.”

For the first time, fairgoers can purchase derby tickets online at That new option has put ticket sales 40% ahead of where the fair typically is at this point, Delay said. Those who buy tickets online will need to stop by the fair office to exchange the voucher they receive for a wristband to get into the grandstand Friday night.

While attendees will be able to do that on Friday night, Delay recommends doing it sooner rather than later.

“I would avoid long lines if you can,” Delay said.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.

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