For Immediate Release July 3, 2020
2020 Arkansas Valley Exposition & Fair Modification Amid COVID-19
Rocky Ford, Colo. – Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, its impact on community health and well-
being, the 2020 Arkansas Valley Fair (AVF) scheduled for August 19-23, has been greatly modified.
The Arkansas Valley Fair Board has determined that a number of activities will move forward with new
guidelines in place. They include traditional Watermelon Day, Wake-Up-Breakfast, 5K, 10K and 2 Mile
Run, 4-H/FFA, Junior Livestock Show/Sale, Car Show, Silver King & Queen Contest and Quilt Raffle.
The safety of the Arkansas Valley Fair’s visitors, participants and community is the highest priority in
producing the annual fair. After seeking guidance and taking direction from Otero County Health
Department, it became clear that modification was the prudent choice for the fair to do its part to improve
community health and safety, and reduce the cycle of infection. Provided the COVID-19 situation
improves to the point where it’s safe to hold mass gatherings, the Arkansas Valley Fair will return
August 18-22, 2021.
“The impact of the fair’s modifications will be felt far beyond the loss of our annual celebration,” said fair
board President David Mendenhall. “We are heartbroken for the dedicated Fair sponsors, small businesses
up and down the valley, family farms/ranches, competitors and exhibitor’s, community involvement and
all who rely on the income and exposure the Arkansas Valley Fair brings to them. “Our mission is to
continue the traditional values that have been set forth in this community through the many years of
offering Eastern Colorado a fun and safe place to bring their families.”
“We look forward to brighter days ahead when we can gather again to celebrate all that is exceptional
about the Arkansas Valley Fair and Rocky Ford, Colorado,” said fair manager Sally Cope. “Until then,
stay safe, be well and support each other. We will truly miss you.”
The Arkansas Valley Exposition & Fair Association is the oldest continuous fair in the State of Colorado,
celebrating the 143rd in August 2020. Starting in 1878 when the founder of our town, George W. Swink,
shared his bountiful watermelon crop with the passengers at the Rocky Ford Depot. The tradition
continues every year when Fair visitors are given a free watermelon. G. W. Swink filed the first timber
claim after the Civil War, and that ground is now where the Fair takes place every year. Over the years,
the Fair and City of Rocky Ford continue to make improvements with the City maintaining and managing
the grounds throughout the year.
The Arkansas Valley Fair is a non-profit organization that relies on many dedicated volunteers from our
surrounding communities which consists of 30 volunteer Directors and Associates from throughout the
Arkansas Valley who organize the various functions and events at the fair. We are the only fair in
Colorado that receives no yearly designated monies from a government entity for expenses in having a
fair. Each director must be sure that their events pay for themselves with the help of sponsorship, entry
fees and tickets. We also do not charge a gate admission to the grounds.
Information relevant to this year’s modified Fair can be found by visiting the Arkansas Valley Fair
website www.arkvalleyfair.com, for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org, P.O. Box 188,
Rocky Ford, Colorado 81067 or call 719-254-7723.
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