by Lorie Lewis Ham
It is almost time for the Big Fresno Fair again, and it will be back in person this year October 6-17; however, nothing is as it once was. We chatted with Lauri King about this year’s fair and what it is going to be like. Lauri is Deputy Manager II with the Big Fresno Fair.
KRL: What is new and/or different this year?
Lauri: We’re back to an in-person event! And with that, we have a lot of great, new attractions for our community to enjoy. We have the new Pop! Culture Experience Featuring The Showdown will be a Comic-Con style building with vendors, a gaming museum, Virtual Reality stations, retro and new gen video gaming, including Mario Kart LIVE and eSports competitions. It is located in the old Home Arts Building, and the Home Arts competitive exhibits have moved to a joint building with Jr. Exhibits near the Butler Avenue Gate Entrance. Our Gem & Mineral competitive exhibits have also moved, it is now in The Greenhouse with our Floriculture exhibits. The new Livin’ Local Marketplace will be in the former Gem & Mineral buildings; it will feature an array of local vendors from artisan foods, jewelry, clothing and more! The other new are that is all about local is the new Food Truck Alley! We know our community loves our local food trucks and now we’ve created an area just for them. We will feature different food trucks throughout the run of the Fair and the line-up will be listed on our website under “Things to Do”. Lastly, we are bringing a high-flying stunt show with the BMX Pros Trick Team! This show is free to attend and is located on the north end of the Fairgrounds by the carnival entrance. While that covers most of our new attractions, we do have new operational hours that we want the community to be aware of; Tuesday – Thursday we open at 4 p.m. and then Friday – Monday we open at 10 a.m.
KRL: What sort of Covid precautions are being taken?
Lauri: The Big Fresno Fair is working hand in hand with the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) on health and safety guidelines for the 2021 Big Fresno Fair, as we return to an in-person event. These guidelines for Fair staff and the Fairgoers reinforce (and exceed) the current recommendations of the FCDPH. Masks are required for everyone regardless of vaccination status indoors, then Fairgoers are strongly encouraged to wear masks outdoors especially where social distancing cannot be accomplished. All of our Fair staff and vendors will be wearing masks both indoors and outdoors. Additionally, there will be new hand sanitizing and hand washing stations throughout the grounds. Anyone who is exhibiting any of the COVID-19 symptoms are required to stay home; health screening details are posted on our website. If we work together and follow these guidelines, we will be able to enjoy this longstanding tradition in the safest manner possible.
KRL: What musical performers will be at this year’s fair and which nights?
Lauri: We have a great line-up in our Paul Paul Theater as part of our Table Mountain Concert Series, as well as throughout our grounds on our five free stages. Here is what is scheduled for the Paul Paul Theater; tickets are on sale now so be sure to grab yours.
i. Anthrax – Wed, Oct 6
ii. Young the Giant – Thurs, Oct 7
iii. Ladies Night Out Featuring Bel Biv Devoe, Jon B and Mya – Fri, Oct 8
iv. Metal Featuring Chris Perez and Kumbia Kings – Sat, Oct 9
v. Ramon Ayala – Sun, Oct 10
vi. Queen Nation – Mon, Oct 11
vii. Chris Tomlin – Tues, Oct 12
viii. Midland – Wed, Oct 13
ix. Nelly with Blanco Brown – Thurs, Oct 14
x. Smokey Robinson – Fri, Oct 15
xi. Aja Vu: A Steely Dan Tribute Band – Sat, Oct 16
KRL: Are there any special promotions?
Lauri: Yes, we have some great discounts this year, you just need to plan a head and take advantage of them. $2 off Admission and up to $7 off Unlimited Carnival Ride Wristbands when you purchase them at participating Save Mart & FoodMaxx locations. Then you can get $30 Season Passes at participating O’Reilly Parts Stores and come to the Fair as many times as you want! We also have our “Pint for a Pass” Blood Drive with the Central California Blood Center – just give blood and get save lives right here in our community, and get a BOGO Fair Admission ticket voucher. Then we have Kids’ Day on Thursday, October 7 and the UnitedHealthcare Seniors’ Day on Monday, October 11. Details on our savings can be found at: www.fresnofair.com/deals
KRL: Do you have to buy a separate ticket for the concerts? If so, how much are they are where do you purchase them?
Lauri: Yes, you will need a Fair admission ticket and a separate concert ticket. They can both be purchased online at www.FresnoFair.com or at our Ticket Box Office onsite.
KRL: How much are general admission tickets this year?
Lauri: $12 for Adult Admission and $8 for Seniors 62+, Active Military and Kids 12 and under. Kids 5 and under are free. Then once inside the grounds there are hours of stuff you can do all for free!
KRL: What all will be happening at this year’s fair?
Lauri: There will be so many fun things happening at The Big Fresno Fair this year! We will have our competitive exhibits, five free stages with community performers, bands and a hypnotist, delicious Fair-food, seven days of live horse racing, our new attractions noted earlier and amazing concerts in our Paul Paul Theater. There is something for everyone here and we look forward to welcoming our community safely back to an in-person Big Fresno Fair this year!
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
Lauri: It is the mission of The Big Fresno Fair to Celebrate, Educate and HAVE FUN and that is what we do every day! We cannot wait to welcome our Fair families BACK and look forward to everyone coming out to celebrate what makes our community so special – each and every one of them!