The county’s ‘hidden gem’

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With two golf courses, two fishing lakes, trails and a nature preserve among other things, the Regional Park offers more than the setting for the Adams County Fair every year.

“The Regional Park hosts over 800 events annually ranging from livestock shows to weddings and quinceaneras (celebration for a girl’s 15th birthday),” said Melanie Snodell, co-fair manager.

The park, 9755 Henderson Road in Brighton, has about 310,000 visitors annually, with about 60,000 of those for the county fair, said Kurt Carlson, Regional Park manager.

“There are such a variety of things to do here,” he said. “The size, diversity and wonderful setting just lend itself for a place to get away from the urban setting. We’re kind of a hidden gem out here.”

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. The land later became the Denver Poor Farm and was purchased by Adams County from the City and County of Denver on April 11, 1960.

“The deed stated the property included about 180 acres that was intended to be used for a golf course, 60 acres to construct a fairgrounds and the remainder for recreational uses,” Carlson said.

“Today, the Adams County Regional Park and Fairgrounds encompasses over 1,150 acres and shares the space with the Adams County Historical Society/Museum and two 18-hole Championship Golf Courses (Riverdale Knolls and Dunes).” 

The golf course clubhouse has a restaurant, banquet facilities and is the home of the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame.

“It truly has it all for the serious or novice golfing enthusiast,” Carlson said.

The park manages seven major indoor facilities which include the Parks and CSU Extension Administration Building, Waymire Dome, Al Lesser Building, exhibit hall, indoor arena, Old Red Cross Building and the sale barn.

“Most of the facilities were constructed in the mid- to late-1960s,” he said. “The Al Lesser Building was renovated in 2003, the exhibit hall was renovated in 2005 and the Waymire Dome Building was re-designed renovated/remodeled in 2008.”

Various groups rent out the facilities throughout the year.

There are also plenty of outdoor activities that attract visitors — two fishing lakes that are regularly stocked by the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, two outdoor riding arenas, a large Grandstand Arena (which had improvements made in 2010 to include more efficient lighting and better accessibility) that seats about 3,600 people, eight small picnic shelters that are available on a first-come-first-served basis and two large picnic shelters that can be reserved, as well as a pavilion adjacent to the Dome that can serve as a stage, picnic shelter or wedding chapel.

There are also 23 recreational vehicle spaces with water and electric hookups, sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and a playground.

There is also a designated area for a nature preserve.

“The Nature Preserve features many different kinds of wildlife, including bald eagles,” Snodell said. “Pelicans visit the Regional Park Lakes each spring and fall in their migration north and south. If you are lucky enough to visit while they are here it is a beautiful sight.”

Rental information can be found at www.adamscountyfair.com by clicking on the Regional Park tab or by calling 303-637-8000.