For good, old-fashioned family fun, don't miss the Arkansas Valley Fair, which is held each August in Rocky Ford. The fair has the distinction of being the oldest annual fair in Colorado and offers a variety of activities and entertainment for the whole family. Originally started in 1878, gate admission has never been charged and, as it has since its' early beginnings, Watermelon Day is celebrated, with each visitor to the fair taking home a world famous Rocky Ford melon from the melon pile. Unlike large state and county fairs the Arkansas Valley Fair is easy to navigate and it is only a short stroll between the entertainment venues.
Throughout the week fair visitors can enjoy the exhibit halls which are filled with needlework and craft projects by local artisans, fine art displays and displays from local vendors. The 4-H and FFA clubs present their projects and bring in goats, sheep, rabbits and cows. There are plenty of culinary favorites around to tempt your taste buds, with fair favorites such as funnel cakes, cotton candy, fresh squeezed lemonade and ice cream along the mid-way. To add some fun to any afternoon, take a spin on one the carnival rides or try to win the biggest stuffed animal at one of the game booths. Contests and tournaments during the fair range from horseshoe pitching to pickle eating and watermelon seed spitting. Each night there is a special nominal fee event at the Grandstand Arena. The events change from year to year, but crowd favorites like the Demolition Derby, Ranch Rodeo and the Truck and Tractor Pull are mainstays at the fair. Bingo is played every day in the Bingo Building and musical entertainment can be found daily in the Beer Garden and at the Entertainment Tent.
The weekend brings the fair to a close, with a parade through downtown Rocky Ford on Friday, beginning at 10:00 a.m. This is a large parade with entrants from around the state participating. Saturday is Watermelon Day with events and activities held from sun-up to sun-down, with the melon give-away taking place at 11:00 a.m. Sunday is the final day of the fair and your last chance to enjoy a corn dog or conquer the climbing wall.
Visit Rocky Ford and experience old-fashioned family fun at the Arkansas Valley Fair.