Photos: Freaks and Geeks -- and Everyone Else -- at the Denver County Fair

Over the weekend, the fourth annual Denver County Fair brought everything Denver -- from pot and paraphernalia vendors in the first-ever county fair Pot Pavilion to drag queens and lucha libre wrestlers and pretty contortionists in the Freak Show -- to the National Western Complex for a nonstop weekend of eating contests, dog agility competitions, fair food, chicken bingo and a million other things. Photographer Brandon Marshall brought back these images of the Denver County Fair's people and more.

See also: The 2014 Denver County Fair

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Poets explore love, Denver style, at the Denver County Fair

The Denver County Fair, now in its fourth year, was conceived as a big, fat blue-ribbon love letter to everything that's cool about Denver, from local artists and a healthy geek culture to, yes, legalized pot. So it's only fair that this year's poetry contest has an I Heart Denver theme.

This year's entries -- all unpublished and judged by a panel of literary pros -- explored love in the Mile High City from just about every angle. Following are the judges' five final picks; hear all of them read live at noon Sunday, August 3, on the fair's Arts Pavilion Stage, where the top three poets will also be awarded with prizes and ribbons.

See also: Pot pavilion ready for lift-off at Denver County Fair

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Ten can't-miss attractions at this year's Denver County Fair

Rolling into Denver's National Western Complex August 1 through August 3, the Denver County Fair will prove once again that it is like no other fair in the country. Celebrating the many cultures and traditions that make Colorado special, the weekend gathering combines silly games with smart lectures, fun dances with freaky food competitions and endless chances to get to know the farmers, merchants, musicians, fashionistas, performers and artists who make the Mile High City great. With hundreds of things to see and do at this year's fair, we've compiled a list of ten of the best -- but be sure to go to the Denver County Fair's website for a full schedule.

See also: Welcome to Colorful Colorado: Pot is coming to the Denver County Fair in 2014

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Pot pavilion ready for lift-off at Denver County Fair

Denver County Fair
The Denver County Fair embraces everything that makes Denver an extraordinary city.
Typical county fairs hand out blue ribbons for livestock, quilts and homemade pies. The 2014 Denver County Fair, which starts next Friday, August 1, will hold competitions for all of those, too. Only some of the pies might get you stoned.

See also: "Denver County Fair's planned Beer Pavilion goes up in smoke; Pot Pavilion doubles in size"

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Think you're the best at air hockey? Prove it at the Denver County Fair.
Justin Lee
There's no crying in air hockey.
There's no crying in air hockey.Do you consider yourself a gladiator in the arcade?

When the Denver County Fair hosts the 2014 Air Hockey World Championships next weekend, all of Colorado's rec-room warriors are free to join -- but the competition sounds stiff.

See also: "Beer pavilion out, super-sized pot pavilion in at Denver County Fair"

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Welcome to Colorful Colorado: Pot is coming to the Denver County Fair in 2014

Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore: Dana Cain and Tracy Weil of the Denver County Fair just announced that the nation's first Pot Pavilion will be part of the annual event's three-day run in August at the National Western Complex. The new 21-and-over pavilion, to be located on a newly added third level, will feature its own Rocky Mountain High Stage for comedy and live music, pot-themed exhibitor booths and -- because a fair isn't a fair without the blue ribbons -- a display area for public entries in such categories as "Best Homemade Bong," "Best Brownie Recipe" and "Best Homemade Tie-Dye" and off-the-cuff competitions like "Speed Rolling" and a "Doritos-Eating Contest." A fair Beer Pavilion celebrating Denver's brew culture will share the upstairs space; that's a new addition, too.

See also: Recreational marijuana sales begin in Denver

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Demented Divas brings its Totally Plowed drag show to the Denver County Fair

Though drag has been a part of the Denver County Fair's programming since it started in 2011, the county fair-style beauty pageant has now become a full-on production. Crowned Miss Queen of the Denver County Fair 2011 and host of last year's drag contest, Nuclia Waste will head up the Totally Plowed show at the 2013 edition. Waste will bring her glitter-bearded troupe, the Demented Divas, to the Fashion Stage this Saturday for Plowed, the fair's first full-on drag show.

See also:
- Was the Denver County Fair a success? Dana Cain weighs in
- Video: Denver Cycle Sluts drag-queen holiday show
- Best of Denver 2004: Best Radioactive Philanthropist - Nuclia Waste

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Zombies, luchadores and performing pigs: Andrew Novick on Denver County Fair fun

Andrew Novick
Whether he's performing in the Warlock Pinchers, using human blood to make art, or doing weird things with Peeps, Andrew Novick is always entertaining. That makes him a natural fit for the Denver County Fair's entertainment director. For his second year in that post, Novick is pulling out all the stops to make sure the fair is a nonstop barrage of fun, filling every nook and cranny of the site with bands, zombies, luchadores and performing pigs. There's so much stuff you could never see it all in one day, but Novick is quick to point out that this year, that's not an issue: Day passes are a thing of the past. "Forget picking a day, it's $10 for the whole weekend," he says. "Come and go as you please! It's to encourage people to come back and not have to pick between things."

Before the fair gets started Friday, August 9 at the National Western Complex, we caught up with Novick to talk about how he became the entertainment director, what to expect at this year's event, and just what the hell is the deal with his X-Treme Pancake and Breakfast Burrito breakfasts.

See also:
- Geek Pavilion 2.0 comes to the Denver County Fair
- Andrew Novick on using real blood to make art
- The ten best geek events in Denver in August

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Geek Pavilion 2.0 comes to the Denver County Fair

Dana Cain has been involved in fandom since she first came to Denver, so it's no surprise that in her capacity as director of the Denver County Fair, she went geeky. Last year, she launched the Geek Pavilion, making Denver's fair "the only county fair in the world with a Geek Pavilion," as she bragged last year. And the Geek Pavilion will return to this year's fair, which runs from August 9 through August 11 at the National Western Complex, bringing along old favorites along with a whole slew of new, nerdy attractions. To find out what Denver's geeks and geek-curious have in store, we caught up with Cain to talk about the Geek Pavilion and how she's improved version 2.0.

See also:
- Denver County Fair Geek Pavilion: "Stormtroopers, zombies, steampunks ... it's going to be pretty dang cool"
- The ten best geek events in Denver in August
- Local filmmakers tackle zombie culture with Doc of the Dead

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Last chance! The Denver County Fair wants your blue-ribbon entries!

Brandon Marshall

Editors note: The deadline has been extended to Monday, July 29. You have until midnight.

Do you have a secret talent for brewing beer or throwing together nuts and seeds into a one-of-a-kind work of crop art? Do you love to recreate your grannie's recipe for elderberry wine? Perhaps your strengths lie in scrapbooking or stitching quilts. There's a category for that -- and a whole lot more, everything from gelatin molds to homemade robots -- at the Denver County Fair, which is declaring 2013 "The Year of the Win."

See also:
- Denver County Fair: Artists wanted!
- The 2013 Denver County Fair comes with new poster, tattoo and schedule
- Slideshow: Denver County Fair 2012

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