We are continuing to prepare for the Fair, we will continue monitor COVID-19 to make sure it is safe to hold.

Enter your e-mail address to subscribe.

Thanks for signing up for more information about Boulder County Fair. We’ll keep you up to date on the latest news throughout the year!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Boulder County Fair, Livestock Show & Rodeo, 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont CO 80501, https://www.bouldercountyfair.org/

Home > About > History


Gail Zweck Interview
1 of 2
Here are some history shorts about the past of Boulder County Fair.
Celebrating 150 years the oldest County Fair in Colorado!
The Boulder County Fair, with its deep historic roots, is the oldest fair in the state of Colorado. Founded by a group of prominent ranchers and farmers, the first Fair in the Colorado Territory was held on October 12, 1869. The vision of these early pioneer's was to create a community event to celebrate the rich diversity of the area, and reflect the activities of its citizens through exhibits encouraging the county’s basic economy. In order to fulfill this dream, the Colorado Agriculture Society was organized. Forty acres of land was purchased between 28th and 30th Street, south of Valmont Road, in Boulder, for $600. Plans were immediately made for the Fair to be held in mid - October. A pavilion was erected, and there were refreshment stands and stalls.

old photo of 4-H garments made in 1940's.

This first Fair ran for four days with displays of flowers, vegetables, cereals and hand-made articles. There were also five classes of exhibits: Class A - Farming: livestock and farm machinery; Class B – Articles manufactured in Colorado: from dairy churns to cabinetry and jewelry; Class C – Mineralogy: displays of gold and silver bullion from mines in Boulder County, and minerals and geological specimens found in Colorado; Class D – Agriculture and Vegetables: all types of crops, included competitions for best acre or half-acre of grains; and Class E – Household and Pantry Goods. There were horse races daily, and the Fair concluded with a mule race, for a premium of $5, and a walking race around the track, the slowest taking the premium. The cost to put on the first fair was $5,000 (approximately $165,000 in today’s dollars).

1935 4-H youths showing their cows
In 1870 a round house was built for the mineral and agricultural displays along with a small judge's stand, additional stalls, saloons and corrals. In 1875, a grandstand with seating capacity of 1000 was erected at the site, and horse racing increasingly became the main attraction. By 1877, farm machinery attracted the greatest interest, particularly steam powered machines. This has continued to be a draw throughout the years.
Old photo of displays in  Exhibit Building  at Roosevelt Park

Longmont had always been interested in hosting the Fair. By 1885, as the event in Boulder continued to deviate further from the original agricultural focus, the essential elements of the Boulder County Fair were moved to Longmont and named “Pumpkin Pie Day,” while the horse racing and gambling attractions remained in Boulder, along with a smaller exhibition. Finally, on October 5, 1899, the Boulder County Fair was officially moved to Roosevelt Park in Longmont (then called Driving Park). That year the Fair lasted only one day, but featured events such as traditional horse racing, as well as livestock and home economics exhibits. The women of Boulder County honored Pumpkin Pie Day by making enough homemade pies to feed the entire fair crowd, free of charge.

The early 1900's brought slow and steady growth to the Boulder County Fair as permanent buildings replaced the tents at Roosevelt Park one by one, with some costs being borne by the City of Longmont. In 1921 a record breaking crowd of 2500 attended the opening day. The fair prospered.

Only one break in the continuity of the Fair occurred when it had to be cancelled in 1946 because of the polio outbreak. But ultimately, with the continued success of this great community event, more room and better facilities were needed. In 1976, the County Commissioners purchased the Affolter Corner Farm, 130 acres of land at the northeast corner of Nelson and Hover Road. In the fall of 1978, the Fair opened in its present location in the first building at the new complex, which would be completed over the next 15 years.

One hundred and fifty years after its first historic step, the Boulder County Fair is still going strong, still focusing on family-oriented activities and events, our agricultural heritage and tradition, and showcasing the outstanding work and projects of its 4-H and FFA youth and the community at large. The Fair remains one of just four non-profit county fairs in the State of Colorado, and with a record 150,000 attendees last year! It is perfectly poised for the historical celebration in 2019!

Back to