Colorado State University at the 2018 Denver County Fair

The eighth annual Denver County Fair, held at the National Western Complex in north Denver, was one for the books. The event broke its own attendance record this year, attracting nearly 20,000 people, with more than 70 vendors and an expansive lineup of activities and mini-events including the Mullet 5K Run, beer and wine fest, carnival rides, goat yoga, and the Miss Denver County Drag Queen Pageant.

Four distinct campus groups hosted CSU’s booth in the main expo hall throughout the weekend: Little Shop of Physics, College of Agriculture Sciences, Office of the Vice President for Research, and the CSU Bug Zoo. The Denver chapter of the Colorado 4-H Youth Development program, part of CSU Extension, added a variety of youth activities and hands-on demonstrations to the event’s lineup. The 4-H group also ran cake decorating and creative cooking competitions.

On Friday, the CSU Bug Zoo brought live and preserved bugs, including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, millipedes, scorpions, beetles, and tarantulas, for attendees to pet, hold, and learn about.

“We had an excellent time at the Fair! It was so much fun to see children and parents alike get excited by the incredible world of arthropods,” said Maia Holmes, supervisor of zoo affairs with the CSU Bug Zoo.

Faculty members from CSU’s College of Agriculture Sciences showcased a miniature version of the University’s larger Annual Flower Trial Garden in Fort Collins during their Saturday shift.

The Office of the Vice President for Research team hosted CSU’s booth on Sunday, guiding attendees through the CSU Immersive Experience virtual reality app – a 360-degree tour of the Fort Collins campus. (The free app is available for download via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.)

“Some were amazed how real the experience felt and others had no idea technology had come such a long way in such a short time,” said Megan Criss, event specialist with the Office of the Vice President for Research. “It was neat to see how Virtual Reality could span all age groups to bring something exciting to everyone!”

Little Shop of Physics hosted shifts at the CSU booth during all three days of the fair, showcasing the wonders of science through physics experiments involving Fresnel lenses, levitating magnets, plasma swirls, and infrared imaging. Little Shop of Physics director Brian Jones led demonstrations at the fair’s demo stage, using everyday objects to reveal fundamental science principles.

“It was great to see so many families who were eager to participate in the demonstration show! It was very interactive, and everyone took part enthusiastically,” said Jones. “Many parents thanked me for being there, and expressed appreciation for Colorado State’s solid presence at the fair.”

Little Shop of Physics assistant director Heather Michalak echoed Jones’s enthusiasm: “CSU creates an environment where ‘fairly-weird’ science is interesting and fun to learn. The Denver County Fair was a great forum to share the Little Shop of Physics hands-on way of learning.”

Colorado State University at the National Western Center

Colorado State University has made a long-term commitment to the future National Western Center in north Denver and its surrounding communities.

As Colorado’s land-grant university, CSU’s mission of research, service, and access fits with the outreach vision of the National Western Center. CSU’s plans at the site focus on research and educational programming in the areas of food systems, water, environment, energy, and health.

A key and founding partner, CSU will have three buildings within the 250-acre National Western Center campus, including a water resources center, breaking ground in late 2019, and an animal health building, breaking ground in early 2020.

The University is currently working to engage with the community and to partner with local schools, nonprofits, and businesses to create vibrant spaces, impactful research and collaboration, and year-round programming to this unique project.

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About the Denver County Fair

The Denver County Fair is an annual, urban fair established in 2011 to celebrate and showcase Denver’s unique character and culture. The fair is formulated from Denver’s progressive and bustling metropolis, highlighting the talents, trends, diversity and interests of the Mile High City. Our passion is to recognize Denver’s unique charm and celebrate it with the community in the spirit of carnival, competition, and family fun for everyone!