Gearing up for next year’s fair, already

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Although the 2013 Adams County Fair is not until July 31, fair officials already have their minds on 2014.

Next year’s event marks the 110th anniversary of the fair.

“We’re going to try to bring back some things that were at the original fair,” said Melanie Snodell, co-fair manager.

The fair began in October 1904 in Brighton, and the first day was known as Tomato Day, which featured an event called Battle of Brighton.

“Parties would battle it out with ripe tomatoes throwing them at each other and sometime spectators,” Snodell said. Because we live in a litigation world now, she added, “We cannot replicate this event in its whole, but we will feature an event at the 110th celebration that honors this part of the Fair heritage.”

Market Days featured farm produce and livestock from local farmers and ranchers. Fair officials have added Agriland at this year’s farm to get back to the fair’s agricultural roots. Agriland will feature displays that focus on farming and livestock production in Adams County.

“There will be a milking cow display, from farm to table display, corn box and corn production display, bean box and bean production display, agritoursim display from the Adams County Open Space Department, and a few others,” Snodell said.

The goal is to grow this part of the fair every year for the next three years.

The 110th celebration will also feature:History display of the fair, family games and competitions, original fair contests such as foot races, baby contests and maybe even a Nat “Deadeye Dick” Love lookalike contest. He was a famous participant in the rodeo, Snodell said.

“The biggest part of celebrating the 110th is giving people the history of the fair,” she added.

The history of Regional Park

Adams County acquired the Regional Park, 9755 Henderson Road in Brighton, in 1960 after acquiring the land from the city of Denver.

“Prior to 1960 the site of the current Regional Park was home to the Denver Poor Farm,” Snodell said.

“The first fair took place at the new Regional Park in 1965.”

The park used to be home to Henderson Island, which was the first permanent settlement in the South Platte River Valley. In 1859, Jack Henderson built a ranch, trading post and hotel on Henderson Island, according to Wikipedia.

Snodell said she’s heard several claims that the park is haunted, and most supernatural activity seems to be centered at the Waymire Dome building.

“Reports include music being turned on in buildings that are unoccupied,” she said. “Tables and chairs being shifted from one place to another, weather reporting stations being turned up without anyone touching the volume, doors opening and closing after they have been locked for the evening, footsteps in empty corridors.”

Although the county has owned the park since the 1960s, officials are still discovering bits of the past on the 1,150-acre site. In 2010, when the Dome was renovated, workers unearthed a tunnel.

“Now we are not completely sure what the use of the tunnel would have been but some have speculated it was a way of moving livestock and other materials from the Denver Poor Farm to the railroad,” Snodell said.

“Others have speculated that it was part of the boiler system at the Poor Farm.”

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