August 23 - September 2, 2024

Top 10 Most Popular Attractions at the Colorado State Fair

happy crowd of people walking around the Colorado State Fairgrounds

The Colorado State Fair has countless exciting activities for people of all ages and interests. The fair is jam-packed with fun things to do, from fun games and thrilling rides to entertaining shows and delicious food.

In this article, we’ll go over the top 10 most popular attractions at the Colorado State Fair.

Winner of a fun competition at the Colorado State Fair

1. Fun Competitions

Every year, the Colorado State Fair hosts a wide variety of contests, including popular attractions where skilled musicians, dancers, comedians, and other talented artists can showcase their fantastic work to the world and gain exposure across Colorado. Examples of contests in the past have included:

  • Nature photo contests, where talented photographers submit original shots of breathtaking natural beauty.
  • Poetry competitions, where eloquent wordsmiths compete for who can come up with the most artistically beautiful rhymes and verses.
  • Coloring contests, where artists of all ages take part in a friendly competition to see who can make the most vivid and vibrant coloring.
  • Pet rock competitions, which is a funny-sounding name for a fun, artistic, and surprisingly challenging contest! Competitors paint and decorate their pet rocks with creative adornments to turn these cold, inanimate objects into cute and endearing works of art!
  • Baking competitions, where skilled bakers submit their most delicious pastries following a specific theme. (For 2021, the theme is the Most Delicious Cupcake!)
  • Funniest pet photo competitions, which will have you laughing so hard your stomach will hurt! (Past contenders in this popular attraction include a dog with glasses and a mustache, an adorable teacup chihuahua sitting in an actual teacup, etc.)
  • Garden harvest competitions, where talented gardeners can show off their freshest, tastiest, and most beautiful home-grown produce.

young girl holding her award for a turkey she raised

2. Animal shows

There are a wide variety of animal shows at the Colorado State Fair, where kids from around the state come to show off their prized livestock and compete for the best place. Types of animal shows at the Colorado State Fair include horses, cattle, swine, and more!

Children in the 4-H program and FFA bring their animals that they’ve spent a year (or more) raising and enter them in the livestock show and place in the auction before finally selling them to a buyer and saying goodbye. Tears usually flow, but the experience teaches children priceless life lessons in what goes into running a successful agriculture business – from raising and care of the animal, to showing, and eventually selling or marketing it and managing the revenue. 

The whole experience teaches children the value of hard work and discipline, as well as educating them about agriculture, business, and economics, among other things. These popular attractions teach them valuable skills that will serve them for life.


man presenting the slopper eating contest at the Colorado State Fair

3. Competitive Eating

A slopper is an open-faced hamburger topped with a slice of cheese that’s smothered in green chile and is a Pueblo specialty.

Established in 2019, this is a popular attraction where competitive eaters from around the country travel to the Colorado State Fair to compete in the annual slopper-eating competition, with the goal of winning the coveted World Slopper Eating Champion title.

The best competitive eaters are viewed as professional athletes and train hard for each competition. When you watch a competitive eating challenge, you’re not just watching food addicts stuff their face with food, you’re watching an intense physical competition. The World Slopper Eating Championship is an impressive spectacle to behold — even if you never thought you’d be interested in watching a competitive eating competition.

For example, the current World Slopper Eating Championship world record holder is the competitive eating champion Geoffrey Esper from Massachusetts, who in 2020 managed to down an incredible 37 and a half sloppers in only eight minutes! If that sounds impossible, it’s because it’s a ridiculously difficult feat to pull off — making this popular attraction a remarkable show to watch!


Monster Truck Competitions at the Colorado State Fair is a very popular attraction

4. Motorsports

A list of most popular attractions at the fair wouldn’t be complete without mentioning two of our most iconic events — Toughest Monster Truck Tour and Demo Derby!

If you’re a fan of action, these motorsports give you a show you’ll never forget. With monster trucks diving off of ramps, doing wheelies, and performing various tricks and stunts, you’ll be telling all your friends and family about this remarkable action-packed show. Weighing over 10,000 pounds and measuring over 12 feet wide by 12 feet tall, these behemoths hold true to their name. They’re worth watching in person to witness the massive size of this 5-ton machine and hear the roar of the powerful 1,500 horsepower engine. On the other hand, in Demo Derby, a dozen or so “scrap” vehicles crash into each other, with the goal of totaling all their opponents’ cars. The last man standing wins. Think of it as a grown-up version of bumper cars. Except instead of toy cars with rubber bumpers, it’s full-sized metal vehicles.

There’s nothing more hair-raising than witnessing these massive hunks of metal ram into each other, causing total destruction. Don’t worry — a large number of safety rules and regulations are in place to keep the drivers safe. Sit back, enjoy the show, and watch the destruction unfold in Demolition Derby.


Two girls on a fairground mini plane, having fun.

5. Carnival Rides

What trip to the fair would be complete without going on a few adrenaline-inducing carnival rides? Some of the most famous carnival rides include:

  • The Ferris Wheel is one of the most popular attractions at the fair. It is widely regarded as the most classic and iconic ride in the carnival, and for a good reason: it’s fun and exciting (but not too extreme), and it’s excellent for children and adults alike.
  • The Carousel, which is arguably the most “child-friendly” ride of all, with the lowest height requirement and the least-intense thrill. Even though it’s a mild and gentle ride, young children and adults have an absolute blast on the carousel.
  • Bumper Cars, an old favorite ride of children and adults alike, and the only carnival ride where you’re actually “in control” of the ride and able to compete against other players. This makes it more like a game than a traditional carnival ride.
  • The Zipper, where passenger cars rock back and forth on a swivel, giving riders a sense of disorientation as they swing around on a giant metal boom. This popular attraction is considered one of the scariest rides in the carnival.
  • The Frisbee, which is a tower-like pendulum with a round spinning wheel where the passengers are strapped in. The wheel spins in circles while the massive pendulum swings from side to side, giving passengers the terrifying sensation of free-falling and turning at the same time. Only for brave souls with a strong stomach!
  • The Super Shot, where you’re strapped onto the outside of a large metal “elevator” that calmly raises you 120 feet in the air and then suddenly drops you into free-fall and scares the living daylights out of you. Don’t worry — it smoothly brakes as it approaches the ground, giving you a nice soft landing.
  • The Super Slide, while not technically a “ride,” is a giant waterslide that sends you barreling down it at top speed. Children love this popular attraction! (Make sure to bring some swim trunks, so you don’t soak your clothes!)


6. Delicious Food

No trip to the fair would be complete without indulging in some delicious deep-fried carnival food! From succulent smoked turkey legs and the famous local Sloppers — which are two of the most popular foods at the fair — to chili dogs, nachos, and fried pickles, there are countless savory options to satiate your appetite and satisfy your tastebuds.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more on the sugary side, satisfy your sweet tooth with carnival classics such as cotton candy, candied/caramel apples, fried ice cream, funnel cakes, and much more. Whatever you choose, feel free to indulge and spoil yourself during this special time. The Colorado State Fair only comes once a year, so chow down and enjoy it to the max!


7. PRCA Ram Rodeo, Calcutta and Ranch Rodeos

girl holds the American flag while riding a horse at the Colorado State Fair

The rodeo is one of the oldest and most classic popular attractions at the Colorado State Fair. The stakes are high, the thrill is intense, and riders are challenged to the limit in this popular Western sport.

Rodeos comprise a variety of different events. The following are the most popular:

  • Tie-down, where a cowboy attempts to lasso a calf — temporarily restraining it in time to jump off his horse, wrestle it to the ground, and quickly ties its legs to prevent it from bolting away.
  • Team roping, where two cowboys work together to lasso a calf — one lassoing the horns and the other lassoing the back legs at the same time.
  • Steer wrestling, where a mounted cowboy must chase after a fleeing steer at full speed. Once his horse and the steer are running side-by-side, the cowboy must leap off of his horse and onto the steer, grabbing its horns and attempting to wrestle it onto its side.
  • Bronc riding, where a brave cowboy attempts to ride a specially-bred bucking horse as it violently thrashes around and tries to buck him off.
  • Bull riding, which is known as “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.” Unlike bronc riding, where riders are allowed to hold on with two hands, bull riders are only allowed to hold onto the animal with one hand as it tries to buck them off in this popular attraction.
  • Barrel racing, where the objective is for the horse (and its rider) to race around three barrels, circling each before moving on to the next and running around the track in a “clover” pattern.


8. Live Music/Concerts

Aside from all the delicious food, thrilling rides, and fun games, one of the things that makes the fair even more exciting is the large selection of concerts and live music. Every year, some of the country’s biggest and most famous stars come to the Colorado State Fair to give incredible concerts. Tickets are affordable and can be purchased online (although spots are limited, so we suggest buying them early if you want to attend!)

One of our most popular attractions is our free live music. Up-and-coming indie musicians from around Colorado come to the fair to put on an incredible performance for free!

The variety of genres include anything from country and rock ‘n’ roll to pop and hip hop and everything in between. Whatever your taste, you’re likely to find the exact style of music you enjoy jamming out to at the Colorado State Fair. This year the Triple Nickel Band and Triple Shot Martini Band will be performing at the Colorado State Fair. Stay tuned to learn which dates they will be on stage.


a little girl in a pink shirt holding a little white bunny

9. Free Popular Attractions

Aside from the free live music, there are a large variety of exciting events at the Colorado State Fair that don’t cost you a penny, such as:

  • The State Fair Museum, where you can see a wide variety of antique artifacts on display that tell the story of the Colorado State Fair’s rich history.
  • Great American High Dive Show, where trained divers perform impressive diving stunts off of incredibly high platforms.
  • Parades, where you can watch impressive marching bands and youth groups from across Colorado perform.
  • Petting zoo, where you can pet kittens, piglets, goats, sheep, ducklings, and other animals — a favorite of children!
  • Animal races, in the past, these popular attractions showcased fuzzy ducklings or adorable little piggies competing in a race to the finish line. What cute animals will compete in the 2021 race? – Visit us to find out!


10. Carnival Games

A favorite among children and adults alike, carnival games are a great way to test your skill and luck to win fun prizes!

Some of the most popular attractions include these carnival games:

  • Whack-a-Mole, a great way to test your reflexes and hand-eye coordination. In the game, little vermin briefly pop up, and players must use a mallet to whack them before they disappear again.
  • Target Games, where you can test your skill by aiming at a target and seeing if you can hit it. If you consider yourself a good shot, you’ll love this classic carnival game.
  • The High Striker, where you can test your strength by striking a hammer on a platform as hard as you can. If you hit it hard enough, a bell will ring, and you will win a prize!
  • Tub Toss, where you attempt to toss a bouncy ball into a shallow bucket without it bouncing out (this is much harder than it sounds and requires a very light touch!)
  • Skee-Ball, which is like bowling on a machine instead of at the bowling alley. Instead of knocking down pins, however, you get a score for how accurately you’re able to roll the ball down the center of the runway.
  • Bust-a-Balloon, where you can test your dart-throwing skills by throwing darts at balloons and trying to pop them!


Fun At The Fair

Elderly couple at the Colorado State Fair

As you can see, there’s never a shortage of popular attractions at the Colorado State Fair.

It’s only open for 11 days per year, so don’t miss it! Mark your calendar and make a trip over here this summer. You’ll be glad you did!

Visit our homepage to view the different events we have planned and see a countdown of the remaining days until the fair begins! Or give us a call at +1 719-561-8484 for more information. We look forward to seeing you at the fair!


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