Fair play in Aurora at traditional annual Arapahoe County summer festival

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AURORA | All is fair in ferris wheels and mutton bustin’.

In less than a week, the Arapahoe County Fair is about to make its way back to the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds and Park, just east of E-470 on East Quincy Avenue in Aurora. The fair is set to kick off four-days of food, festivals and fun beginning July 26.

The four days out east will be full of events and entertainment. The fair will have a full-out amusement area full of rides, expos from 4-H clubs, educational opportunities on things like learning to grow the perfect tomato, a rodeo both Saturday night and Sunday day and live music Friday and Saturday nights.

The annual summer event will feature an expanded kids corral for children of all ages. As part of the expansion, the corral will feature a 30-foot-long slip and slide and a life-size Hungry Hungry Hippos game where kids will be pushed out and pulled back as they try to grab as many balls as possible, said Jenifer Doane, spokesperson for Arapahoe County Open Spaces.

Along with the new additions, the fair is bringing back the splash zone area, “important on a hot summer day,” Doane said, and the mechanical bull.

“All those activities are free. And it’s great, especially for the little ones who aren’t tall enough for the rides, that there’s the Kids Corral for them to have fun with,” Doane said.

For those who work up a mighty thirst during the hot summer days out in the sun, the fair has a craft beer festival Friday night and a homebrewing competition Saturday. The Friday night beer tasting is $20 and includes a plate of barbecue and Saturday’s competition is $15.

Many of the activities that have become old favorites are making their way back again, with everything from amusement rides and two nights of fireworks (July 27 and 28), to tractor pulls and that classic fair activity — mutton bustin’.

“Mutton bustin’ is a fair favorite. The kids really get into it that are participating, and watching it is so cute as they try to hold on,” Doane said. “And a lot of people really love the tractor pull. It’s a really great thing to watch. It gives an element of competition to the fair and also connects it to the agricultural roots of the county.”

As Arapahoe County continues to become more urban, the fair plays an important part in connecting the growing population of city slickers to the county’s past. And makes them aware of the still vibrant agricultural community in the eastern portion of the county.

“A big part of Open Space is preserving that heritage,” Doane said. “It’s important because as communities grow and areas get developed, we want to still provide a connection to nature and a connection to our heritage and our history.”

Tickets once the fair starts are $15 but early bird pricing of $10 lasts until 4 p.m. Thursday, July 26. Tickets can be purchased online and admission includes all the rides, concerts, rodeos, 4-H exhibits and pretty much everything else except food, drinks and the games in the carnival’s Midway. Children under three-feet tall get in for free.

For ticket info, visit https://www.arapahoecountyfair.com or call 303-795-4955.

Highlights by day. For a full schedule, visit www.arapahoecountyfair.com/events.

Thursday, July 26

4 p.m. Mile High Banjo Society Mainstage

4:30-5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Mutton Bustin’

6:30 p.m. Walker Williams concert

Friday, July 27

10 a.m. Dueling Dogs

12:30 p.m. Mutton Bustin’

1:30 p.m. Potato Peeling Contest

2:30 p.m. Mutton Bustin’

3 p.m. Dueling Dogs

4 p.m. Craft Brew Festival

4:30 p.m. Mutton Bustin’

6 p.m. Truck and Tractor Pull

7 p.m. Richie Law concert

9:30 p.m. Fireworks

Saturday, July 28

9 a.m. Rodeo Slack

10 a.m. Dueling Dog

11 a.m. Milk June the Cow

11 a.m. Colorado Raptors and Wildlife: Nature’s Educators

2 p.m. K-9 demonstration

3 p.m. Fastest Fingers in the West Competition

4 p.m. The Long Run – Colorado’s Tribute to the Eagles

4:30 p.m. Antique Tractor Pull

7:15 p.m. Buckstein

7:30 p.m. Rodeo

9:30 p.m. Fireworks

Sunday, July 29

11 a.m. Eastern Colorado Beekeeping Display

12 p.m. Dueling Dogs

2:30 p.m. Mutton Bustin’

5 p.m. Pie Eating Contest

6 p.m. Tyler Walker band