Nothing says the Alameda County Fair is back in the summer like the annual Ladies Day at the Races, organized by Pleasanton's Kay Huff -- and the Take Us Along photo they sent us, like most years pre-pandemic, showing the women enjoying the first day of horse racing from the stands with the Weekly in hand last week.
It's great to see the fair and its traditional season reunited. It was a fun alternative to have the event held in the fall last year to overcome COVID-19 impacts, but the fair and summer are so synonymous in Pleasanton. This just feels right.
Or maybe that's the summer heat that I feel. Warm weather is certainly a characteristic of the fair, which is why evenings and nights at the fairgrounds are so enjoyable. And fortunately, the forecasts thus far show days mostly in the high-80s and 90s than tough triple-digit temperatures.
The fair has 14 more days left in its 2022 run. We're planning to head out some day soon to give our 6-month-old son his first county fair experience -- while he probably won't remember much of it, my wife and I will cherish the memories and the likely hundreds of pictures.
This would be as good of a week as any to attend.
This Friday is Senior Day, with free admission to anyone 62 years old or older until 5 p.m. And looking ahead to Wednesday, it's the annual Feed the Need Food Drive in which you get free entry and $1 rides until 5 p.m. by donating four or more nonperishable food items to benefit the Alameda County Community Food Bank. And every day is Military Appreciation Day, with a free ticket with military ID.
Those special promotions often entice many people to come out. Oh, and Thursdays until 5 p.m. are $2 Fair Food Bites Days.
I'm partial to funnel cakes, corn dogs, Hawaiian bowls, curly fries and deep-fried Oreos (in that order) at the fair, myself. A cold beer as well -- plus plenty of water.
I also enjoy checking out the carnival midway, livestock areas, horse racing and competition displays, particularly the collectibles exhibit. As somebody who still has a good number of his childhood sports card collection and will pick up a souvenir shot glass every vacation to this day, these award-winning collectible displays always blow me away.
There's a strong concert lineup over the week ahead, starting this Friday night with country star Clay Walker. Mustache Harbor (who cover '70s and '80s hits) take the stage Saturday and Purple Reign - The Prince Tribute Show is Sunday.
But don't sleep on the concerts early next week either. Ezra Ray Hart -- featuring Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra and Emerson Hart of Tonic -- will perform together on Wednesday, and hitmaker Sheila E. will play on Thursday.
Movies at the Fair, held each evening at 6 p.m., has a good schedule as well, led by one of my favorite movies ever on Saturday, "Shrek." There's also "Trolls World Tour" this Friday night, "Clifford The Big Red Dog" on Sunday, "Luca" on Wednesday and "Sonic the Hedgehog" on Thursday.
A big draw this Sunday will be the Bollywood at the Fair festival.
The nightly drone show will be a sight to see too. Although, with a baby in tow, I'm not sure we'll make it to 9:30 p.m. when we go.
Be sure to check out the fair website at annual.alamedacountyfair.com to find out what's on tap the day(s) you plan to go. And look for continued coverage in the Weekly over the next two weeks. You might even see a fair Take Us Along with me and little Francis.
Editor's note: Jeremy Walsh has been the editor of the Embarcadero Media East Bay Division since February 2017. His "What a Week" column publishes on the second and fourth Fridays of the month.