A celebration of who we are: Wyoming's Big Show returns, adds new attractions
August 3, 2023
Wyoming's Big Show is a long-standing summer tradition in Sweetwater County, and this year's fair is bringing back classic attractions and new entertainment.
The fair started at the beginning of the week and will continue through Saturday night at the Sweetwater Events Complex.
"I just think it's a place where you get to meet up with people that you haven't seen all summer long or since last year's fair," Kandi Pendleton, the events complex director, said of the fair. "You get to bring your family out. People for the most part are out here having a good time. Lots of smiles and conversations."
Pendleton, who was born and raised in Sweetwater County and grew up not far from the events complex, understands the fair's ability to bring people together. As the events complex director, she has also worked hard with the rest of the staff to make sure it's an exciting event with lots to do every year.
One of the highlights this year is a brand new petting zoo and barnyard races, which Pendleton described as "awesome."
"It was such a big deal last year when we didn't have a petting zoo," she said, adding that these days there aren't as many petting zoos available to be brought in, so getting one this year was a success. "And this group is going to be with us for at least several years now, so that'll be nice."
Another feature this year that Pendleton was excited about was Kids Day, which took place Wednesday.
"We partnered with McDonald's and they got about 6,000 kids tickets through the Rock Springs and Green River McDonald's so that kids six to 12 could get in for free," Pendleton explained.
The day also included extra focus on kids activities and had community groups doing special events, like the police department handing out bike helmets.
Another fun new attraction for kids all week is Dino Encounters, which has taken over one of the main tents and features multiple dinosaur-themed activities, from miniature golf to an obstacle course to animatronic dinosaurs. Kids can also keep an eye out for Nitro, a 10-foot robot with a monster truck, who will be wandering around the fair.
For the adults, a variety of music and entertainment will be available, especially in the evenings, including the concert series every night and an extra show in the Pepsi tent after the concerts Thursday through Saturday. The later show will feature Tris Munsick and the Innocents, a band out of Sheridan headed by the brother of Ian Munsick, who was last year's main stage act.
Visitors to Wyoming's Big Show are also invited to check out some of the recent updates to the events complex, especially the new Spicer Family Pavilion, which had its dedication at the beginning of July. The pavilion is open to the public during the fair so everyone can go see its amenities.
This year's fair also includes multiple classic attractions, including the carnival, vendors, live performances, clowns, 4H and FFA activities all week long, and fireworks on Friday and Saturday night.
For Pendleton and her team at the events complex, the fair is one of the highlights of the summer. It also comes sandwiched in between other big events, including the Airstream Rally, which saw nearly 1,200 Airstream trailers at the complex, and the Royal Crown horse racing event, which will bring about 1,500 horses to the grounds.
"Summers are always busy for us," Pendleton said. "Everybody loves summer in Wyoming. So we squeeze as much as we can into our summers. This year has been great."
While some events are great for brining visitors and money into the county, the fair is especially important for the people who live here.
"The county fair is definitely more focused on community events," Pendleton said. "So it's a nice balance between having outside regional and national events come in and local events."
Being such a community-focused event, Wyoming's Big Show has become an important part of the county and the lives of the people here.
"I just think it's a great celebration of who we are and where we've come from and how far we've come," Pendleton said. "So it's just a great way to wrap up the summer season."