The fair was cancelled last June when state mandates forbade any gatherings. This year, the leadership has devised smart solutions. The horse racing meet, a financial engine for the fair in normal times, will be held in the traditional fair window of June 18 to July 11 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays plus July 4th. Reservations likely will be required for in-person attendance.
The junior livestock show and the small animal show for 4-H and FFA members will run in its normal window from July 7-11. The Junior Livestock Auction will be staged on July 11th with people participating both in-person and virtually. Most of the traditional fair contests will be staged virtually over the summer.
The biggest change is most elements of the traditional fair will be held in the fall from Oct. 22-31. That’s buying almost four months which presumably should mean that the population is widely vaccinated and the virus is under control.
So, you will have to wait for the live entertainment, fair food and carnival until that time. With kids in school, it will be interesting to see what the attendance is like. There is experience elsewhere. The Fresno County Fair typically runs in October and routinely draws more than 600,000 people (more than Alameda County in a smaller population). The State Fair at Cal Expo traditionally had included Labor Day Weekend, but when students started going back to the classroom in mid-August, it was shifted into a mid-July window.
Alameda fair officials emphasized that they will comply with local and state health directives—by then masks should be moot. They also will use “touchless, cashless systems” for ticketing, parking, concessions and the carnival.
Another good move was announced by the city of Pleasanton. City Manager Nelson Fialho telegraphed this last fall when I reported on his talk to the Pleasanton Men’s Club and he said Main Street closures likely would return in 2021. Main Street will be closed from 5 p.m. Friday to 8 p.m. Sunday starting April 30. The streets will be closed through Labor Day weekend.
The closures proved popular for struggling restauranteurs and patrons alike in 2020. The city will mandate masks and social distancing as per state health regulations. With time to prepare, it will invite retail businesses to consider staying open later on those Friday and Saturday nights to see if they can capture some business.