The Alameda County Fairgrounds is showcasing many of the popular foods synonymous with the annual summer fair at a special outdoor dining event running this month in Pleasanton.
The "Grab-n-Stay Fair Food Feast," which debuts late next week, offers people the chance to sample fair food favorites onsite or to-go -- all while also helping supporting food vendors impacted by COVID-19 pandemic-related closures and cancellations, which included the 2020 Alameda County Fair.
"People have missed the fair and all the delicious food that goes along with it," said Angel Moore, vice president of business development for the Alameda County Fair. "We are excited to be able to help highlight several of our longtime vendors and small businesses, while also bringing the community a taste of their favorite fair treats."
The food feast will run next Thursday through Sunday (March 11-14) as well as the following week, March 18-21, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day at the fairgrounds in central Pleasanton. Guests can stay and eat their food on the grounds or pre-order for curbside pickup at a designated time.
The menu will include fair food classics like corn dogs, churros and funnel cakes, among a range of other items.
Among the featured vendors will be local husband and wife team Dean and Liesel Williams, the owners of Red and White Concessions who have worked the Pleasanton fair for more than 50 years. But COVID-19 event cancellations have challenged the future of their business; normally they'd work about 25 fairs in a year, but almost every one of their regular events was called off in 2020.
That makes new special activities like the "Grab-n-Stay Fair Food Feast" all the more important early in 2021, according to Dean Williams.
"During the summer months, we did a 'Corn dog Tuesday' every week for about 20 weeks at a local school here in Knightsen," Dean Williams said. "We also participated as a vendor for the drive-in movies at the Alameda County Fairgrounds for about 16 weeks. Those types of opportunities were extremely beneficial, and the community really came out to support us."
The couple will be serving up their popular corn dogs in Pleasanton the next two weeks, along with their signature "Orange Treet," a whipped fruit drink that was the first item Dean learned how to make back in 1966.
Attendees can park at the ACE Train parking lot located off Pleasanton Avenue, and pedestrian entry will be located at the Yellow Gate.
Like many of their vendors, the fairgrounds itself pivoted amid traditional event cancellations in 2020, scheduling drive-in movie screenings and concerts, food truck nights, online fair competitions and drive-thru entertainment experiences. A decision about the status of the 2021 Alameda County Fair is still pending.
The fairgrounds is also hosting a regional COVID-19 vaccination site, as well as served as a COVID-19 testing center and an incident command center for Cal Fire in 2020.
To learn more about this month's food feast, visit alamedacountyfair.com/grab-n-stay.