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Nothing Like Years Past, Big Fresno Fair Going Virtual & Drive-Thru



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Like many other fairs in California, the Big Fresno Fair is shifting gears due to COVID-19.

But, unlike those that have canceled, Fresno’s fair says it will try something a little different come October: a series of drive-thru and virtual experiences.

Still Aiming for Family Fun

“While this year’s fair experience will be nothing like year’s past, it will still be fun,” says Lauri King, the fair’s deputy manager, in a video message.

Plans aren’t completed, as fair organizers continue to work in collaboration with the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

The fair’s dates are Oct. 8-12, 14-18.

What to Expect

For right now, here’s the direction the fair is going:

  • Drive-thru fair food with entertainers performing as you wait in your vehicle
  • Live horse racing with no spectators, but online wagering available
  • A virtual livestock auction with the potential for single-species “show and go” judging days
  • Virtual competitive exhibits show

Admission, season passes, and Brew Fest tickets purchased for 2020 will be honored for 2021, or purchasers may request a refund by emailing

This model is being used by other large fairs such as the OC Fair, San Diego Fair, Alameda County Fair, and California State Fair.

Concerts Already Canceled

The fair announced the cancellation of all concerts at the Paul Paul Theater on July 13.

At the time, Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias said the fair board should pull the plug on the entire event.

“We will not have a vaccine by October and a fair with thousands of attendees only serves as a COVID-19 ‘super spreader’ disaster. There is no need to put the public at risk,” said Arias.

Arias even said he’d look at canceling the Fresno Police Department’s contract with the fair if it went on as normally planned.