The Alameda County Fair returns for its first summer appearance in Pleasanton since 2019 beginning this Friday at the fairgrounds.
Running for 19 days between now and July 10, the 2022 fair -- with a theme of "Road to Summer -- will be highlighted by many of the favorite activities that draw people from all of the Bay Area to the fairgrounds year in and year out: carnival rides, vendor booths, horse racing, exhibits, entertainment shows, and of course, the food and drink.
Opening week at the fair, which goes from this Friday through Sunday and then Wednesday and Thursday (the fair is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, except for Independence Day), will also feature a series of special events and promotions.
For opening day Friday (June 17), through 3 p.m., admission inside the gates will be free; the same goes for all dads on Sunday until 3 p.m. for Father's Day.
R&B star Ginuwine will kick off the Big O Tires Concert Series inside the Lucky Amphitheater on Friday night from 8-9:15 p.m. The other acts for opening week are Neon Trees on Saturday, L.A.vation - The World's Greatest Tribute to U2 on Sunday, 38 Special on Wednesday and Stealin' Chicago (Chicago tribute) on Thursday.
The first Saturday of the fair will be filled with special features, starting with the Sun's Out Fun's Out Run benefiting local nonprofit Sunflower Hill. The event begins at 9 a.m. and is open for runners of all abilities.
Then from 2-5 p.m. that day, the fair will present its popular Brew Fest tasting event with more than 15 breweries scheduled to be on hand.
At 3 p.m., the fairgrounds will host the lone West Coast regional qualifier for the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest -- with the top three male and female finishers earning invitations to the national finals on the Fourth of July on Coney Island.
In addition to Father's Day, Sunday will also celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with its Out at the Fair festival for Pride Month.
Later in the week, the annual pet food drive will take place on Wednesday, with attendees able to gain free admission and $1 rides until 5 p.m. by bringing new and unopened pet food items to benefit Valley Humane Society. Senior Day, with free admission until 5 p.m. for people 62 years old and older, is set for next Friday.
The fairgrounds is also welcoming the John Madden Memorial Bus, which will be onsite honoring the late Pleasanton resident and professional football icon.
Every night, the fair will host a special drone light show at the Stella Artois Grandstand. And Movies at the Fair will feature a different family movie each night on the concert lawn at 6 p.m.
For tickets, full schedules and other information, visit alamedacountyfair.com.