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El Paso County Fair offers more music, events, Sensory Day near Colorado Springs



El Paso County Fair offers more music, events, Sensory Day near Colorado Springs

This year’s El Paso County Fair offers more music and rodeo, increased discount days and more attention to those who struggle with sensory overload.

More people than ever attended last year’s fair: 34,000 versus 26,000 in 2022. And fair officials are catering to the expressed desires of previous attendees by doubling up on concerts, offering a full rodeo, two auto racing events, more carnival rides and a sensory day where, as much as possible, noise and lights are dimmed.

The fair opens Saturday and runs through July 20 at El Paso County Fair & Event Center in Calhan.

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“We’re really taking a hard look at feedback and making changes and trying to fill that schedule,” said Andschana Aljets, fairgrounds program coordinator. “We added a free day on Monday and a dollar day on Tuesday and we’re bringing quality entertainment on weekdays. It’s a full eight days of exciting events. Whether you come Wednesday or Saturday, you’ll have a great time.”

Friday night’s ticketed double-feature arena concert will feature nationally known country pop singers Michelle Lambert and Jessica Lynn. Sixteen other free concerts, every afternoon and evening, feature local bands, including Curtis Grimes, Jeffrey Alan Band, SwingMasters Jazz Band and Ashlee and the Longshot Revival.

Another new highlight will appeal to those who can’t come or choose not to come due to the noisy chaos of a fair environment. Tuesday is Sensory Day, as well as Senior Day, when, as much as possible, the volume on fair life will be turned down. Carnival rides will operate with no lights and sounds from noon-2 p.m. An online guide can help visitors identify the loudest, smelliest and messiest spaces on the fairgrounds.

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“We took a look at our community and said who isn’t coming to the fair and added a sensory day,” Aljets said.

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“The county fair is the largest celebration El Paso County does and there’s a whole portion of the community who can’t enjoy it. We want to make it accessible to everyone.”

This year also will see the return of a full CPRA Rodeo on Sunday with bull riding, roping and more. Slack will run in the morning with contestants competing in timed events and the ticketed rodeo is in the evening. Kids also can participate in mutton busting and steer riding.

The carnival will boast more rides than last year and the fair also is bringing back a fireworks show on opening night post-auto races, after last year’s laser show didn’t have quite the same effect as the pyrotechnics, says Aljets.

To add more liveliness to the midweek portion, visitors can check out the Epic Eras Party on Tuesday with tunes by Taylor Swift and a dance floor. Dance with goats at Silent Goat Disco on Thursday, play in a poker tournament on Thursday, or watch the rough stock rodeo on Wednesday for $10 and the youth bull riding event on Thursday.

Other free attractions include a pirate high dive experience, Paul Bunyon lumberjack show and a fire stage show by Stephanie Spinelli.

“We are the county fair for El Paso County, and there are still too many who don’t realize we have our own fair,” Aljets said. “It’s a lot of fun. Some things are expensive, but getting in the gates is still very affordable. We haven’t raised prices this year.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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