Archuleta County Fair Board Cancels 2020 Archuleta County Fair: County fair will continue focused on 4-H projects and Junior Livestock Sale


The Archuleta County Fair Board approved the cancellation of the 2020 Archuleta County Fair at a special online board meeting on June 25.

The Fair Board action results from the difficulty operating a traditional county fair with public health order restrictions in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some county fair operations focused on the 4-H youth program will continue during the traditional fair period but no members of the general public will be allowed to attend those events and instead the fair will focus on streaming 4-H events.

“The Archuleta County Fair Board began coming up with contingency plans soon after initial shutdowns of many industries in the county began in the middle of March,” said Archuleta County Fair Board President Jason Cox. “Public health orders issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) adversely affected the Fair Board’s ability to conduct a normal operating county fair and the board wanted to be proactive in planning under different contingencies.”

Based on evolving CDPHE public health orders and the current public health order, “Seventh Amended Public Health Order 20-28, Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors,” released on June 18, Cox said conducting anything closely approximating even a limited county fair was essentially impossible.

“The restrictions on the number of participants, attendees, volunteers and other staff rendered an impractical situation that would not satisfy the needs of operating a fair for the Archuleta County community while balancing the requirements of the current public health order,” Cox said. “In addition, many of the fair’s volunteers who make the event successful have stated they will not volunteer for the fair this year since they’re in susceptible health categories for COVID-19.”

The Archuleta County fair was not completely cancelled by the Archuleta County Fair Board. In its resolution to cancel the fair, the board specified that it would deploy every resource it could to help the 4-H youth program and Livestock Committee run a successful 2020 fair focused on participants in 4-H projects and the Junior Livestock Sale. These projects range from showing live animals of different species to exploring rocketry and gardening or learning sewing and arts and crafts. County 4-H leaders plan to offer streaming services of 4-H events to allow the general public to view and participate in the projects and Junior Livestock Sale using the internet.

“This was a tough choice, but we thank the Fair Board for the continued support of our 4-H program,” said Becky Jacobson, Archuleta County 4-H Coordinator. “No decision is easy during these unprecedented times and working together is more important now than ever. A plan to be approved by Colorado State University has been in the works and with the help of the Livestock Committee, Fair Board and Extension Office, I hope we can provide a safe, fun and educational ending to 4-H projects.”

In upcoming weeks, the Archuleta County 4-H leadership team will share additional information about how events will be broadcast via the internet. Along with the Livestock Committee and Archuleta County Fair Board, fair organizers hope to provide a great experience for 4-H members and their projects within the unique conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our 4-H youth, especially the seniors, have suffered with the restrictions put in place by public health orders in response to COVID-19,” Cox said, “and we feel that the unique situation of the 2020 fair leads the board to support the 4-H program and Junior Livestock Sale to the fullest of our ability. We plan to invest into audio/visual (A/V) equipment and internet network assets that we can use for future fairs to extend the reach of the traditional Archuleta County Fair well beyond the boundaries of the fairgrounds and to the whole world.”

Cox thanked the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners for its continued support of the fair and for fully preserving the budget allocated for the 2020 fair. However, Cox said, it was best to spend as few budget dollars as possible on normal fair operations and instead to focus on the acquisition and deployment of assets including A/V equipment that can be used at future county fairs.