County fair breaks records in 2005
EAGLE COUNTY ” The only thing that could outdo last year’s Eagle County Fair and Rodeo apparently was this year’s event.
Rodeo attendance was up, food and beverage sales were up and buyers at the Junior Livestock Auction spent more money this year than ever.
Dick Kesler, fair board president, said better advertising and great weather likely helped this year’s fair break attendance and revenue records.
“People are enjoying local events more frequently,” Kesler said. “(The fair) has turned into quite a social gathering.”
Growing enthusiasm for the Beaver Creek Rodeo, a weekly event in Avon during the summer, carried over the larger county rodeo, he added.
“We definitely had a big increase in upvalley visitors,” Kesler said. “People were already primed to go and I do want to give a compliment to the Beaver Creek Rodeo.”
Organizers estimate that between 19,000 and 20,000 attended the fair and rodeo this year.
The livestock auction’s success is largely due to an established set of buyers who attend the sale every year, said Rachel Overlease, president of the livestock commission. But there were a few new faces at this year’s sale, she said.
The children in 4-H are responsible for inviting established buyers and recruiting new ones to the auction.
The prize-winning steer sold for $9,600, also a new record. There were fewer steers this year and that may have pushed the bids a little higher, Overlease said. Steers usually are the top-selling animal at the auction.
Attendance has generally dropped at county fairs in other parts of the state. Eagle County has seen increases over the past few years.
County officials have made the fair a premiere event, investing time and money out of the county’s coffers to support it.
The county commissioners have committed $2.4 million to build a new facility at the fairgrounds in Eagle.
It will be used for many of the fair and rodeo’s major events, as well as for musical concerts and trade shows the rest of the year, Kesler said.
Crews are expected to break ground next month on the building, and it should be open before next summer’s fair.
Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or email@example.com.
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