Alameda County Fair makes rare October visit

Fairgoers ride a thrill ride during the Alameda County Fair at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, Calif., on June 26, 2019. (Alameda County Fair via Bay City News)

Fairgoers are getting a special treat this fall as the Alameda County Fair opens its doors in Pleasanton on Friday for more than a week of usual fair attractions plus some special ones for the season.

COVID-19 prompted the delay of what is normally a summertime event, but the fall event will last for more than a week until Halloween. Monday to Friday fair hours are 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

To celebrate the Halloween spirit or spirits, Halloween-themed movies are being shown each night at 6 p.m. on the concert lawn. Movies are family-friendly, with flicks like “Hocus Pocus,” “Beetlejuice,” and “The Addams Family.”

Also, The Pumpkin Picasso, as Mike Valladao is known, will be carving faces and reliefs on pumpkins that weigh a couple of hundred pounds to more than a ton.

“We couldn’t be more enthusiastic about what the Fair has in store this year,” Tiffany Cadrette, marketing and communications manager of the Alameda County Fairgrounds, said in a statement. “The Fair is a such a time-honored tradition in our community, and we know how much it was missed last year.”

Area residents and visitors can enjoy the carnival, food, and live concerts with groups such as Journey Revisited among others. On the Stella Artois Grandstand, guests can take in the Imperial Knights Extreme Medieval Stunt Show, a full-contact jousting performance.

Mike Valladao, also known as “The Pumpkin Picasso,” will be at the Alameda County Fair demonstrating his carving prowess on pumpkins weighing up to one ton. Several other Halloween-themed attractions are planned for fairgoers. (Photo courtesy of Alameda County Fair)

Also on the grandstand, guests can watch FMX Freestyle Motocross. Other entertainment includes strolling performers like Slim and Curly, Tadpole the Clown, and Roberto the Magnificent.

Hungry guests can feast on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, monster corn dogs or deep-fried Oreos or all the above. Also, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, guests can munch on smaller bites for $2 each.

To help keep fairgoers safe, a limited number of visitors will be allowed to buy tickets each day and tickets will be sold only daily.

Tickets are $18 for guests 13 to 61 years old, and $15 for kids 6 to 12 and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online.

Unlimited carnival wristbands can be purchased for $30 in advance. The same day cost is $35 Monday to Thursday and $40 Friday through Sunday. Veterans and active military personnel can visit for free any day with a valid identification.

Visitors 2 years old and older must wear a mask in indoor spaces whether they are vaccinated or not, fair officials said, citing county and state regulations. Face coverings are optional outdoors.

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