Classic rockers Blue Oyster Cult, 38 Special and War, country music stars LeAnn Rimes and Clay Walker, hit-makers Shaggy and Sir Mix-a-Lot and Bay Area products En Vogue and Smash Mouth are all set to bring their talents to the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton this summer.
The Big O Tires Free Concerts series schedule led the 2018 entertainment lineup unveiled last week by fair officials, who also announced the return of the cattle drive through downtown Pleasanton on opening day, 15 days of horse racing, a variety of special events and the arrival of a new gondola-style ride spanning the fairgrounds.
The 2018 Alameda County Fair, themed "Hello Summer!", is set to take over Pleasanton from June 15 to July 8 for an 18-day run over four weekends at the fairgrounds at Bernal and Valley avenues.
“With the new Sky & Turbo rides, the return of the Opening Day Cattle Drive, more big concerts and other surprises, there won’t be any better way to say 'Hello to Summer' than a day at the Alameda County Fair,” fair CEO Jerome Hoban told the Weekly.
The nightly concerts, each followed by a fireworks show, are among the popular draws to the fair each summer, with fair-goers able to grab a standard seat to the concert for free with fair admission or pay to upgrade to premium seating.
Kicking things off opening night on June 15 will be American classic rock band Blue Oyster Cult, known for hits like "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" and "Burnin' for You." Next up for opening weekend are Reggae fusion star Shaggy on June 16 and Oakland originals En Vogue on June 17.
The fair's second week concerts will bring a little bit for everyone, with Clay Walker (June 20), 38 Special (June 21), Smash Mouth (June 22), The Eagles tribute band Boys of Summer (June 23) and Sir Mix-a-Lot (June 24).
For week three, Con Funk Shun is set to perform June 28, followed by Queen tribute band Queen Nation (June 29), The Tubes (June 30) and Prince tribute Purple Reign (July 1). June 27 and July 4 performers are to be determined.
Country music star LeAnn Rimes will open the final week on July 5. The weekend acts are Journey tribute Journey Revisited (July 6), Neil Diamond tribute Super Diamond (July 7) and classic rockers War (July 8).
Jam-packed with a range of other entertainment, the 2018 fair will kick things off with a bang -- or more like a rumble -- through downtown Pleasanton with the second annual opening day cattle drive, featuring dozens of steer herded by real-life cowgirls and cowboys from the fairgrounds up along Main Street and back. All of opening weekend will have a Wild West theme.
Live horse racing at the fairgrounds' historic racetrack will also start on opening day and continue for 14 more days of the fair's 18-day run. The fair will feature three "Racing and Tasting" events: Red, White & Craft Brew Fest (June 23), Sip, Savor & Wager Wine Festival (June 30) and Craft Cocktail Festival (July 7).
Other special events include the Snackdown FryDay competition June 22, Festival Latino with Univision on June 24 and free admission for all dads on Father's Day.
Fair favorites are returning too, with monster trucks, demolition derby, extreme rodeo, junior livestock auction, exhibits, kids' park, pig races, carnival games, fair food, and of course, the rides. New this year will be the cross-grounds Sky Ride, with 70-passenger gondolas that offer a bird's eye view of the fair.
The 2018 Alameda County Fair is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. from June 15 to July 8, except for closure days June 18-19, June 25-26 and July 2-3. For more information, visit annual.alamedacountyfair.com.