Draughts, DockDogs top growing list of Arapahoe County Fair novelties

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Aurora’s sleepy eastern plains are set to get an eyeful this weekend, courtesy of tots flying off of boisterous bellwethers, dozens of diving dogs and a mouthwatering menu of specialty brews.

The 109th annual Arapahoe County Fair is overtaking the 240-acre lot nestled between East Quincy Avenue and South Harvest Road in Aurora through July 26 — an area typically only occupied by grazing deer and the occasional hollers courtesy of the nearby Arapahoe Park Racetrack.

On a top of the standard carnival rides and deep-fried everything, a slew of new offerings were rolled out at last year’s fair, most of which were well received, according to Amanda Slates, spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County Department of Open Space.

Slates said that the DockDogs competition, which features several different events involving canines soaring into pools of water to retrieve various items, went over particularly well. Set to be offered during all fours days of this year’s fair, Slates said that while attendees can’t enter their own animals into the contest, it provides an opportunity to explore the niche attraction.

“The fair would be a great opportunity to talk to the folks who run the … Rocky Mountain DockDogs and find out about the free clinic days they do where you can bring your dog to see if your dog would even want to jump off a dock,” she said.

On a top of the standard carnival rides and deep-fried everything, a slew of new offerings were rolled out at last year’s fair, most of which were well received, according to Amanda Slates, spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County Department of Open Space.

Last year’s more than 22,000 fair attendees were also the first ever to have the option to sample the offerings of the county’s burgeoning craft brew scene. For an additional fee, fairgoers were able to sip draughts tapped by more than a dozen area brewers.

“We had no idea how many people would come out to the brew festival, but it was very, very well attended,” Slates said. “We’re expecting an even bigger turnout this year because the brewers are doing a great job of bringing their people in and letting people know about the event, so we just think it’s going to grow.”

Aurora’s Coda Brewing Company poured its Hibiscus Lemongrass Wit at the inaugural beer event in 2014, and plans to debut a new Peanut Butter and Jelly stout this weekend, according to Luke Smith, the brewery’s founder and chief fermentation scientist.

“We’ve been playing around with this kind of novelty approach to the food sciences and it’s been really well received,” said Smith, whose brewery just began bottling its beer earlier this year. “It’s always fun to connect and meet new people who end up coming back to the tap room and say, ‘Hey, I heard about you guys at the fair,’ and then they become regulars, and then they become great friends.’”

Aurora’s Coda Brewing Company poured its Hibiscus Lemongrass Wit at the inaugural beer event in 2014, and plans to debut a new Peanut Butter and Jelly stout this weekend, according to Luke Smith, the brewery’s founder and chief fermentation scientist.

Smith said that because Coda only has a staff of five people, the brewery only participates in a handful of beer festivals each summer, all of which are just a short drive from the taproom at 2101 N. Ursula St.

“Our first bottle sale was just down the road at Gateway Liquors, and we really want to support like a five-to-10-mile radius around Coda,” he said. “We definitely pick and choose festivals and we know the ones we like and the ones that allow us to connect to the community, that really is priority number one.”

But despite the newfound popularity of events like the craft brew fest, the area’s agrarian roots still act as the fair’s quite literal bread and butter.

Arapahoe County 4-H, which teaches local youth a gamut of life skills, is returning in 2015 with a livestock auction and home economic projects that span nearly 270 areas, such as woodworking and sewing, according to the fair’s website. The 4-H competitions have been a staple of the fair since the tradition began over one century ago.

“(Arapahoe County) 4-H is really at the heart of the fair,” Slates said. “For many years, the county didn’t even have an official fair grounds, yet the 4-H activities have always stayed steady and a huge part of it. The great thing about Arapahoe County is that we stretch for so many miles out east, so this is such a great way for people who are located in more urban areas to learn about animals and get that exposure to them.”

Arapahoe County Fair
July 23: 4 – 9 p.m. Carnival operates at the same time.
July 24, 25, 26: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Carnival operates from noon to midnight.
Tickets are $15 each at the gate, or $10 when pre-purchased online. Children under 36-inches tall are free. Parking is $5 per vehicle.
The craft brew fest runs from 4 – 9 p.m. on July 24. Additional tickets are $15 each.
Visit arapahoecountyfair.com for a full schedule of daily activities and events.

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Lindabmunoz
Lindabmunoz
5 years ago

^^^^^Now Get It -aauurrorasentinel