By Tim Hunt
Main Street cattle drive opens the fair in styleUploaded: Jun 15, 2017
Alameda County Fair leadership and the Pleasanton Downtown Association have hit a home run with the cattle drive to open the fair today.
There were plenty of people along Main Street and the breakfast/lunch businesses were jammed. We ate at Vic’s All-Star Kitchen and Vic said it was by far the busiest he ever has been for a fair-related event at his Main Street establishment. By mid-morning, it was already a long day because he had catered breakfast at the fairgrounds at 6:30 a.m.
The cattle drive went by quickly—about five minutes between the mounted Sheriff’s unit and then the mobile pen of horsemen and horsewomen that moved the cattle down Main Street by encircling them. Outriders kept the crowd back in what seemed like a well-rehearsed and smooth operation.
Among those riding were Sheriff Greg Ahern, who looked quite comfortable on horseback and county Supervisor Scott Haggerty who didn’t appear quite as sure of himself. I am not sure if it was the first parade were Scott found himself sandwiched between the viewers and cattle.
The Pleasanton City Council took it easy, riding in a horse-drawn cart with Mayor Jerry Thorne in the shotgun position.
All-in-all a hearty well-done all the way around.
Give the Alameda County Fair leadership credit.
When they adopted a Western theme for opening weekend, they have gone all out. Not even the famed Livermore Rodeo, which took place last weekend, offered a cattle drive through downtown.
That’s what the fair is doing in conjunction with downtown merchants and businesses—some of which will be giving away free tickets to opening day.
A team of 60 cowboys, cowgirls and dogs will drive 150 head of cattle right up Main Street Friday morning. The drive starts at a stables on the north side of the fairgrounds on Rose Avenue and then follows it to Division St. to St.Mary’s to Peters to St. John’s and then onto Main Street. The cattle will move the length of Main Street to Bernal Avenue where the drive will turn right and proceed back to the fairgrounds.
It promises to be quite a site. So, grab your cowboy hat and come enjoy the cattle parade (for many years, the fair’s opening Saturday featured a parade that never gained traction thus the switch). Given the huge parade today to celebrate the Warriors’ second championship in three years, the cattle drive likely will draw media attention—something a parade would not.
On the fairgrounds, there will be western contests at 4 p.m. both Friday and Saturday—with working rancher skills like cattle sorting on Friday and then team roping on Saturday.
Incidentally, when the fair opens Friday, golfers who play the nine-hole course in the center of the racetrack will get a bonus. With the fair closed Mondays and Tuesdays, golfers can play throughout the day. And, given the 11 a.m. opening time, golfers also can tee off between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. other days so they finish by 10:30 a.m. so the parking lot can be cleared before the fair gates open.