Above, kids show off their chickens at the 2012 Mont-rose County Fair. The theme for the 2014 Montrose County Fair is Vintage. New You. Mirror File Photo.

Above, kids show off their chickens at the 2012 Mont-rose County Fair. The theme for the 2014 Montrose County Fair is Vintage. New You. Mirror File Photo.

By Caitlin Switzer

MONTROSE-(July 14, 2014)  Now that her daughter is off to college, Cloris Hopkins is no longer an active 4H leader. However, that doesn’t mean Hopkins won’t be heading over to the Montrose County Fair later this week.

“I enjoy the whole fair!” Hopkins said. “I love everything from the turkeys to fine arts–I am pretty well-rounded.”

For Hopkins, seeing the hard work of local young people–especially those whose exhibits fall within the Living Arts and General categories–is very rewarding.

“I really appreciate seeing the projects that involve creativity,” she said, “because I know it takes work just to come up with an idea.”

New ideas and creativity are on tap for the Fair itself this year; the 128-year-old event has a brand new logo, designed by artist Rene Bobo, reflecting this year’s theme, “Vintage. New. You.”  After all, the fair is a celebration of Montrose County’s agricultural heritage and its people that goes back to the 19th century. And in the words of Interim Montrose County Manager Ken Norris, the fair  is “the crown jewel of Montrose County.”

“It’s really about the community,” Montrose County Media Relations Manager Katie Yergensen. “This is a nice event for everybody, and a real highlight of the summer. It is your fair, and your event.”

And thanks to this year’s generous sponsors, most things are free to the public, she added.

The 2014 Fair kicks off with a dog obedience show (10 a.m.) and the CPRA rodeo (7 p.m.) July 18, followed by a packed week of events that finishes with the Royalty Gymkhana (1 p.m.) on Sunday, July 27.

Friday, July 19 is “Dog-Friendly Day,” and will feature the annual parade down Main Street (10 a.m.) a pet costume contest (11 a.m.), a dog demo (Noon) and even a Safety-for-Dogs demo with Dr. Stephanie from the San Juan Vet Clinic at 1 p.m. At 5 p.m. Olathe Credit Union hosts a Green Chile Cookoff, followed by evening lawn games that include life-sized Jenga and the first ever beard and mustache contest (6 p.m.).

“Our four judges have worked very hard on the criteria,” Yergensen said.

On Sunday, July 20, events include Cowboy Church (9 a.m.) and the annual (and amazing) Fiddle Contest at Friendship Hall (Noon). Monday, July 21 is “Kids’ Day,” and includes not only the Cute Baby Contest (5 p.m.), but a cupcake decorating extravaganza (1 p.m.) and Kiddie Tractor Pull (6 p.m.) and a performance by local artist Emma Cooper (7 p.m.).

“On Tuesday, July 22, we have ‘Bacon Day,’” Yergensen said. “We’ll have our ‘Pork and Pepsi’ garden at the Cattlewomen’s Pavilion (4-7 p.m.), so dinner will be $5.”

Also set for Tuesday (11 a.m.) is a food art and marshmallow building contest, the main rule of which appears to be to not eat the construction materials.

At 6 p.m., during the junior swine show, there will be a bacon eating contest as well, in which 10 lucky contestants will race through three pounds of bacon apiece in an effort to walk away with 30 pounds of bacon as a prize.

“There will be 10 lucky bacon eaters, and whoever eats the fastest wins,” Yergensen said. “Radio Station 94KIX has helped round the participants up; contestants were asked to write bacon-inspired poetry.”

Wednesday night is Community Night, but it begins with a ventriloquist performance at 9 a.m., followed by a full day of family-friendly events and contests that extend into the evening. Highlights include BBQ by the Montrose Chamber Redcoats, as well as pie eating and other contests from 4-6 p.m. in the festival area, followed by exciting events like the Catch-a-Calf Scramble, Ribbon Racing, Ag Olympics, petting zoo, Mutton Bustin’ Finals and others in the arena (6 p.m.).

Thursday July 24 is “Throwback Thursday and Ladies Day,” with a 1980’s theme and plenty of Zumba. Along with livestock showings (check schedule) and team roping (6 p.m.), there are an open cat show (10 a.m.), pocket pet show (11 a.m.) and an 80’s Ladies Contest (6:30 p.m.) with prizes for best costume. All proceeds from the contest will go toward medical expenses for local mom Kayla Sanders, who was injured in an ATV accident June 14.

On “Contest Day,” otherwise known as Friday, July 25, county leadership will be on hand to visit with the public, and there will be a Senior Coffee at 9:30 a.m. There will be full day of entertaining livestock events (check schedule) as well as the Black Canyon Pig Scramble (3 p.m.) and Enduro X at 6:30 p.m.

“We are very thankful this year for our sponsors, and our vendors,” Yergensen said. “We think people will be pleasantly surprised at how we have stepped things up and come up with new ideas.”

After all, though there is no fair at the Montrose County Fairgrounds for 355 days each year, “The ten days of Fair are what we are really known for,” noted Fairgrounds Manager Emily Sanchez, who recently added a concrete floor to the sale barn in an effort to upgrade the facility and increase vendor space for events.

Expect the Montrose County Fair to have a presence at Main in Motion during Fair week, and watch for opportunities on Social Media as well.

“Make sure to connect with us online for Instagram contests, giveaways and swag!” Yergensen said. “And I want to thank the fair board for all their hard work.  They are all volunteers and deserve recognition for the great work they have done!