An almost back-to-normal San Benito County Fair returns to Bolado Park with most of the rides, attractions, and exhibits intact for three days, starting Oct 1. Once again, they will be accepting quilts, artwork, photography, baking, canning, and other traditional crafts for judging, with the application deadline coming up on Sept 9.
Due to COVID restrictions, last year’s fair was a combination of online activities and exhibits, including virtual arts and craft shows, and an in-person drive-through experience with food and a truck pull.
While there are some restrictions this year, according to Fair Manager Dara Tobias, the fair will run pretty much the way it has in the past.
“Our event area is easily big enough to accommodate the 36 square feet that the Center for Disease Control recommends,” she said. “And looking at our previous years, our attendance has never exceeded that space requirement. The carnival has been operating in other places in California so they know what is needed to keep everyone safe. I cannot stress enough that we will be following all the rules and guidelines.”
Some of the popular features that Tobias describes as “higher touch” will not be available, including the wine tasting and the beer stroll. Activities such as the roll-around plastic spheres that ride around on water will also not be available due to cleanliness concerns. And while chickens will return to the agricultural exhibits, rabbits will be missing this year due to an outbreak of hemorrhagic disease.
Having gone through an entire year with no revenue, the fair organization could be cutting some of the other events, such as the truck pull. A final decision on that is pending. And occupancy at events such as the livestock auctions may be limited due to a lack of social distancing space.
For those interested in entering any of the competitions, Tobias stresses that Sept 9 is the absolute cutoff date for any entries.
“Almost everything including our livestock entries is due on that date,” she said. “The only exceptions are some of the horse show entries that have a later date. Entries can be done online or at our office, except for livestock, which must be done online. And anyone who has difficulties with the forms can come to our office and we will help them.”
While the fair will not be as expansive as it has been in previous years, Tobias is looking forward to greeting the crowds on opening day and providing the best experience possible for patrons.
“We want to have a safe and friendly environment,” Tobias said. “People have not had a chance to spend time with their friends at something like this for a long time and this will allow them to come here, relax, listen to some great music and rediscover their favorite fair foods.”
Admission will be $10 for adults and $5 for children from 12 to 6, with children under 6 admitted free. A senior (62 and over) discount is available. The fair takes place at Bolado Park, 9000 Airline Highway in Tres Pinos. Entry forms, advanced ticket sales, and more information are all available on the San Benito County Fair website.
San Benito County Fair schedule:
Friday, October 1st
12:00-3:00 pm – Business Lunch. Admission is free with a business card and food vendors are open for lunch
3:00-10:00 pm – The Fair, Carnival, and exhibits open. Music and entertainment on the stages. Community and commercial vendors are open in the Pavilion.
5:00 pm – Cutting and stock horse shows take place in the Grandstand.
Saturday, October 2nd
9:00 am – Junior Livestock Auction
12:00 pm-10:00 pm – The Fair, Carnival, and exhibits open. Music and entertainment on the stages. Community and commercial vendors are open in the Pavilion.
Sunday, October 3rd
12:00 pm-6:00 pm – The Fair, Carnival, and exhibits open. Music and entertainment on the stages. Community and commercial vendors are open in the Pavilion.
1:00 pm Quilts of Honor and Hometown Heroes awarded to our veterans, active military and first responders.
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