Downtown Pleasanton will be thrown back to its old west beginnings this Friday (June 15) as the second annual cattle drive is set to rumble through Main Street to mark opening day of the 2018 Alameda County Fair.
The live procession, which begins at approximately 10:30 a.m., will feature dozens of steer herded by real-life cowgirls and cowboys from the fairgrounds up along Main Street and back, according to fair officials.
"After the tremendous turnout last year, Alameda County Fair is excited to bring back the opening day cattle drive," CEO Jerome Hoban said. "This time we'll have a few Texas Longhorns in the mix, plus fair entertainers and other surprises."
Main Street will be closed during the cattle drive, with side streets implementing rolling closures to help keep traffic moving. Last year's inaugural cattle drive drew thousands of onlookers to downtown.
Select downtown businesses are giving away free fair tickets while supplies last on Friday, and the Museum on Main will host children's activities.
All of opening weekend will have a Wild West theme, including rodeo events that Friday and Saturday during which fair-goers can watch local cowboys and cowgirls show off their ranching skills with sorting, doctoring and roping.
On the main stage, the 2018 Big O Tires Concert Series will get underway with an opening night performance by American classic rock band Blue Oyster Cult, known for hits like "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" and "Burnin' for You."
The other opening weekend concerts are Jamaican rapper Sean Kingston known best for his debut hit "Beautiful Girls on Saturday (June 16), and R&B/pop group and Oakland originals En Vogue known for hits "Hold On" and "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" onstage Sunday (June 17). Kingston replaces Reggae fusion star Shaggy, who was originally announced as the June 16 act.
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.
Live horse racing will also start on opening day, with post time at 2:15 p.m., and continue on opening Saturday and Sunday with 1:45 p.m. post times.
Opening weekend discounts include $1 admission and $1 rides on Friday and free admission for all dads on Father's Day (both until 5 p.m.). Active military personnel receive free admission every day during the fair with valid military identification -- veterans too, with proof of service.
Themed "Hello Summer!", 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, and special shorter hours for Independence Day. For tickets and other information, visit annual.alamedacountyfair.com.