After canceling in 2020 due to the health pandemic, the Alameda County Fair is coming back in 2021 but has been rescheduled for the fall instead of the usual summer dates due to COVID-19 vaccine and food distribution efforts currently operating at the Pleasanton fairgrounds, officials announced Thursday.
The large-scale vaccination site, a public-private partnership at the expansive fairgrounds that serves up to 4,000 patients per day depending on supply, is expected to run through the end of June, according to fair officials. The county's free food distribution program for those in need in eastern Alameda County during the pandemic is also set to wrap up June 30.
That means that the fair, which is typically held for multiple weeks around Independence Day, is shifting to a 10-day/night event leading up to Halloween.
"We are excited to welcome fair guests back in October and our team is working diligently to ensure we continue to put on a 'safety first' event for the community. The fair may look a little different in 2021, but we assure you it’s the same good time where you can build memories that last a lifetime," CEO Jerome Hoban said in a statement.
The traditional fair horse racing, youth livestock auction and competitive exhibitions are still scheduled to occur this summer, as opposed to autumn.
But the carnival rides, fair food, shopping and other live entertainment are shifting to Oct. 22-31 for what is being branded as the 2021 Alameda County Fall Fair. Attendees would likely have to pre-purchase dates for specific dates, and crowd levels would be limited -- with final details to be confirmed.
The event will comply with all state and local health requirements in effect during that time, and fair officials said they believe guests will be required to wear face coverings while on the fairgrounds as well as have their temperature checked before entering the fair.
In addition to enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures, fair officials said they will "utilize touchless, cashless systems for ticketing, parking, carnival, food and beverage purchases whenever feasible per the recommendations of the state reopening guidelines."
Details about tickets for the 2021 Alameda County Fall Fair are due out later this year, including information on how to redeem valid tickets from the canceled 2020 fair or those received by people who attended a drive-in movie at the fairgrounds last year or this year.
Meanwhile, live horse racing is scheduled to return for its traditional summer run at the Pleasanton fairgrounds track -- on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June 18 to July 11, including the Fourth of July.
The competitive exhibits and contests, among the most popular activities at the in-person fair, will continue virtually this year over the summer. Most entries are due by May 14. Best of Show winners may be displayed publicly at the fall fair in October, officials said.
The Youth Livestock and Small Animal Shows will be held July 7-11 with limited spectators, and the Junior Livestock Auction will be conducted in-person and virtually on July 11 officials said.
For more information, visit www.alamedacountyfair.com.