ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – A crowd surpassing more than 15,722 attendees overwhelmed the Arapahoe County Fair on Saturday night.
Arapahoe County said it had to close the gates at 8 p.m. to keep fairgoers safe and traffic clear on roads surrounding the facility.
Those who were turned away were encouraged to come back on Sunday when the fair will continue to operate from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Officials say it’s the first time they’ve had to close due to large crowds.
“After a tough year of the pandemic, we knew people were eager for a return for this 115-year family tradition,” said Glen Poole, operations manager for the fair. “Unfortunately, walk-up attendance was much higher than our capacity limits and we had to close the doors early to keep everyone safe.”
Events on Saturday included carnival rides, CPRA rodeo, the 4-H exhibits and competitions and live entertainment. The annual fireworks show also lit the skies over Eastern Aurora.
The event is one of the first large gatherings in the Front Range since COVID restrictions were relaxed in May.
“We knew folks were ready to get back to seeing friends and family at a time-honored event,” said Poole. “While we planned on extra attendance, we were overwhelmed at the number of day-of attendees.”
Parking quickly became an issue, and traffic on Quincy Avenue backed up.