The Alameda County Fair is returning to Pleasanton this Friday through Halloween, offering a reimagined yet familiar event this fall after the typically summer showcase was put on hold amid the pandemic.
With a theme of "Come Together", the 2021 fair will include many of the recognizable highlights of the annual event such as carnival rides and games, popular fair foods and drinks, exhibits, concerts and other live performances -- as well as a few activities unique to the season, such as its "Halloween Movie Series" on the concert lawn.
"We couldn't be more enthusiastic about what the fair has in store this year," said Tiffany Cadrette, marketing and communications manager of the Alameda County Fairgrounds. "The fair is such a time-honored tradition in our community, and we know how much it was missed last year."
For the fair this fall, tickets (which are available online) are being sold by the day and capacity will be limited to "enhance safety and guest experience," according to fair officials.
On opening weekend, which will occur rain or shine, the 2021 fair will be operating from 3-10 p.m. this Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Then, the fair will be open from 3-10 p.m. daily from Monday to next Friday and close after running from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. next Saturday (Oct. 30) and next Sunday (Oct. 31).
Highlights of the special entertainment during the 10 days include the Imperial Knights Extreme Medieval Stunt Show, a theatrical full contact jousting show, and daily performances by the FMX Freestyle Motocross stunt group.
The Fair Concert Series will occur nightly at 8 p.m.; seats must be reserved online in advance. Opening night will see Kalimba The Spirit of Earth Wind & Fire, followed by 1980s rock group Night Ranger on this Saturday night and The Garth Guy: The Ultimate Garth Brooks Tribute Show on Sunday night.
Concerts will take place each night of the fair, keeping with the lineup announced last month -- with one exception. Alternative rock group Spin Doctors are now performing next Wednesday (Oct. 27) after the original act, Smash Mouth, pulled out after the band apparently disbanded.
In the spirit of October, the fair will present pumpkin carving with "Farmer Mike: The Pumpkin Picasso" at select times on both weekends as well as film screenings each evening in the "Halloween Movie Series." On Friday, they will show "Hocus Pocus", followed by "The Addams Family" (2019) on Saturday and "Coco" on Sunday.
Fair officials noted that, in line with county and state regulations, all attendees 2 years old and up are required to wear a mask in all indoor venues at the fair, regardless of their vaccination status. Face coverings are optional for all guests in outdoor common areas.
For ticket prices, discount information and details on the new rewards program, visit alamedacountyfair.com. Parking at the fairgrounds will be free Friday and on Monday through next Friday; it will cost $15 on Saturdays and Sundays.