Colorado State Fair officials have done a lot of preparation for this year's run. For weeks, they sprayed the area---trying to keep West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes away. They are also selling Towelettes soaked with insect repellent for a dollar each.
There's no pinpointed cause, but attendance for the fair is down from last year. Over Saturday and Sunday, the fair saw about 15,000 fewer visitors. With all the talk of the West Nile Virus, you can't help but wonder if that's keeping some people away.
Fair officials say they're not concerned with the lower numbers over the weekend, because they're confident they can bounce back.
Cows, horses and cowboys are reminders of the Old West. And they're one reason why visitors from all over the state keep coming back to the fair. "It's great for the kids. They're not around animals much. They see cows and horses. That's the great thing for them, I think," says Janet Burrow of Longmont.
Cowboys and spectators alike are aware of the West Nile Virus, but it won't keep them away. "My horse is vaccinated. I know it's out there. I vaccinate. It's just a safeguard," says "Nugget" Grosdet.
So why did the fair see a drop in visitors on the opening weekend? On Saturday, attendance was down 16 percent compared to last year. On Sunday, it was off by almost 14 percent.
"We're really not concerned at this point. It's very difficult to compare one day this year to one day last year. We have different entertainment---different weather conditions," says General Manager Ed Kruse. He also says, through the course of the 16-day fair, there will be ups and downs. He says what matters are the numbers at the end.
A big crowd is expected for Monday night's concert. The country band Rascal Flats is playing. Some fans came all the way from the Vail area to see the group.