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10 Reasons to Visit the Alameda County Fair

The Alameda County Fair is the 7th largest fair in California and has been ranked in the Top 50 Fairs of Northern America. This popular fair is only in town for a few weeks out of the year, but in that short time there’s a ton of fun to be had! Make your bets on the race track, pig out on chili cheese fries and deep fried oreos, or meet some locally raised livestock. We picked ten reasons we’re excited for this year’s Alameda County Fair. 

Photo by: @aaronmark

1. Fair Food

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like fair food. Some might opt for a giant corndog while others prefer chili cheese nacho fries (pictured), but the beauty of fair food is the countless options visitors have to pick from — we even put together a list of 10 best fair food finds! 

2. Daily Contests

The Alameda County Fair hosts daily contests for those with a competitive edge, many of them awarding the winners cash prizes! Some of the more popular contests include the Diaper Derby, the National Anthem Contest, and the Derby Hat Contest (part of the Cocktail Fest). For more information about upcoming special contests, keep an eye out for updates on the Alameda County Fair website

Photo by @joolsptown

3. Horse Races

Horse racing is a staple at the Alameda County Fair. In fact, the Alameda County Fairgrounds race track was built in 1858, making it one of the oldest one-mile tracks in America. The race track is known to attract thousands of spectators on live-race days, at times up to 40,000 people! If you want to get in the action but aren’t sure where to start, check out our Tri-Valley Tri-Tips on horse betting! 

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Photo by: @ericsoholee

4. Carnival Games & Rides

Nothing is more nostalgic than riding the fair’s ferris wheel or trying to win a big teddy bear trophy from the carnival midway. During the day, the carnival is a great place for thrill-seekers and competitive gamers alike. However, at night, something special happens. Every night the carnival area is lit up with thousands of colorful lights, making it a picturesque playground for children and adults. 

This year, the Alameda County Fairgrounds is not only introducing new rides, but also fast passes that allow guests to skip lines. 

5. Discount Days

The Alameda County Fair offers plenty of discount days so that you can get the entire fair experience without giving away the farm. Some of these special offers include $1 Admission and $1 Rides until 5pm on Opening Day, and Dads Admission Free Day until 5pm on Father’s Day. For a full list of which days include special offers, check out our post here

Photo by @kmcdonnal

6. Animal Showcase

In addition to showcasing smaller animals like rabbits, cavies (fair-talk for guinea pigs), chickens, cats and dogs, the fair is also a great place to view other animals we don’t get to see everyday, like cows, pigs and goats! Take a walk through the various animal showcases to meet the friendly animals and speak with their owners.    

7. Tasting Fests

In addition to an exclusive beer and wine garden (stocked with lots of shade and live entertainment), there are also three separate tasting events specially curated for craft beer enthusiasts, wine-lovers and craft cocktail fans. Each tasting event is held at the Infield at the Race Track, and includes commemorative glasses, admission the fair, and plenty of samples. For more information about the tasting fests, check out the Alameda County Fairgrounds website

8. Local Art Exhibits

Artists from around the Tri-Valley are given a chance to display their hard work at one of the many exhibits featured at the Alameda County Fair. While some fairgoers use these indoor exhibits as air-conditioned escapes from the hot sun, others make it a priority to see what’s new every year. Some exhibits include fun crafts like decorated wine-barrels or gourd carving while others are more pragmatic, like crafting with common recyclables. Come see the entries submitted by your fellow community members, or create and enter one yourself!

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9. Action Sports

The fair wouldn’t be quite the same if it didn’t include monster trucks or a demolition derby. Every year the Alameda County Fair features plenty of action-packed sports shows for those adrenaline seekers out there. A great showcase for kids and gear-heads alike; premium seats can be reserved for $25, while general seating is included with admission.

Photo by: @carlosxaviermusic

10. Live Concerts

The Alameda County Fair is a great place to catch a show by some of your favorite oldies.
This year, come rock out to popular artists like Ashanti and Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe. General Admission concert seating is included with fair admission, and you don’t have to worry about fighting for a spot with new, reserved seating (tickets must be bought online and concert seating must be reserved during time of purchase). For a full list of concert performances, check out the Alameda County Fair Concert line up here!

For more information, visit the fair’s website!