Poultry shows abandoned at Colorado State Fair due to bird flu concerns

The 150th annual Colorado State Fair in Pueblo will feature country music stars, horse shows, a food lineup, carnival rides, livestock and small animals, like rabbits — but no poultry shows, veterinary and state fair officials said Tuesday, blaming bird flu for the cancellation.

“For the safety of humans and animals attending the Colorado State Fair, (we have) voted to follow the advice of the Colorado State Veterinarian and not hold poultry events where a mixture of birds could happen,” said Rene Brown, chairman of the Colorado State Fair Board.

“It was a really tough decision because we know kids can’t wait to raise and show off their chickens and turkeys,” Brown said.

“But as bird flu cases continue to rise across the country, we … want to ensure the safety of everyone attending and enjoying the Colorado State Fair.”

Learn more about bird flu in Colorado: Colorado suspends all poultry events after bird flu found in geese

Highly pathogenic avian influenza has been identified in wild and domestic flocks in Colorado and 35 other states.

More than 1.4 million birds have been euthanized in Colorado to prevent the spread of the deadly viral disease, which has a mortality rate of 90 to 100 percent, according to the state veterinarian.

“While this is certainly a huge loss for children showing off their poultry, the mixing of birds poses a high risk of disease introduction and transmission and would be devastating if an outbreak were to occur during the fair,” said Colorado State veterinarian Maggie Baldwin.

State fair attendees’ disappointment over the cancellation of poultry shows is expected to be assuaged by the fair’s other attractions, including an art exhibit for new and professional artists, and competitions in all areas, from baking, canning, sewing, crocheting, quilting, agriculture, arts and crafts, beer and wine, pet stones, poetry and more.

Some of country music’s biggest names, including Walker Hayes and Grammy-winning country trio Lady A, as well as acclaimed stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan are also set to perform at the Colorado State Fair, which will run from of August 26. through September 5 at the Pueblo Fairgrounds.

After:Entertainment headliners announced for 2022 Colorado State Fair

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Colorado State Fair, with more festive events expected to be announced later this summer.

Colorado’s first fair was held in 1872, before Colorado became a state, and was organized by the Southern Colorado Agricultural and Industrial Association. Since then, the fair has been held in Pueblo every year except for 1918, when the fairgrounds were used to train troops during World War I.

Tickets for the fair can be purchased at coloradostatefair.com. Admission tickets for adults will cost $8 if purchased before August 26 and $14 if purchased after that date.

Concert tickets are sold separately at etix.com, by phone at 1-800-514-3849 and in person at the Colorado State Fair Box Office. Concert tickets purchased through August 25 include fair general admission.

Karin Zeitvogel can be contacted at [email protected]