Officials cancel 2020 Arapahoe County fair due to lingering COVID-19 concerns

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A youngster holds on tight during a mutton bustin’ competition at the 2019 Arapahoe County Fair, July 27, 2019.
Photo by Philip B. Poston/Sentinel Colorado

AURORA | Sorry, mutton busters. You’ll have to wait another year to show off your sheep-riding skills.

The Arapahoe County Fair became the latest event to be nixed due to the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday.

In a news release, officials said the herculean task of sanitizing equipment and enforcing social distancing protocols for the event’s some 27,000 expected attendees would be insurmountable.

“Establishing the necessary social distancing requirements within the midway, the ticketing booths, the food and beverage booths, as well as in spectator areas, proved to be unworkable given the constraints of the site,” County Spokesman Luc Hatlestad wrote in a statement.

Still, county officials are finalizing details for a limited 4H competition over the fair’s regularly scheduled weekend, July 23 through July 26. A virtual junior livestock auction is also likely to come to fruition.

“It is critical that we continue to support Arapahoe County’s 4-H Youth Programs – and honor all their hard work year-round,” County Commissioner Jeff
Baker said in a statement. “These kids are the future of Colorado – and they deserve recognition.”

In March, the county converted an events center at the Arapahoe County fairgrounds in far east Aurora into an emergency COVID-19 care center designed to house patients diagnosed with the viral infection as they are discharged from local hospitals. The center was intended to serve as an emergency stopgap if local hospitals were to become overwhelmed by patients, though that worse-case scenario has yet to materialize.

The site has yet to accept any patients, county officials said Wednesday. Still, the triage center will remain intact through the summer.