Sonoma-Marin Fair Hosts Hybrid Model of Online and Distanced Events

Beginning this week, the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma kicks off two months of fair activities, both online and in-person, that recognizes and adapts to the changing Covid restrictions and recommendations.

“It’s time to have some fun, but in a responsible way that supports the health and safety of our friends and neighbors in Marin and Sonoma Counties,” Fairgrounds CEO Allison Keaney says in a statement.

The schedule of festivities kicks off on Friday, May 7, with the first of four Drive Thru Fair Food weekends. Guests will be able to pick up classic favorites like funnel cakes, corn dogs, cotton candy, and giant curly fries.

By poplar demand, an enticing selection of smokehouse sandwiches, ribs, and giant turkey legs will also be on the menu. Drive Thru Fair Food will be open May 7-9, May 14-16, June 18-20, and June 25-27, from noon to 8pm.

“June 25th through 27th also happens to be our traditional Fair weekend, and we’ll be celebrating with added entertainment on the concourse for our drive-thru patrons,” Keaney states.

Fair rides are also coming back to the fairgrounds when Butler Amusements presents a pop-up carnival May 13–16 in the main parking lot. Once again, the fairgrounds states that Covid protocols will be in place to ensure a safe reopening. The carnival opens at 5pm on May 13 and 14 and at noon on May 15 and 16.

The Sonoma-Marin Fair will also present a streamlined exhibits program this summer to showcase the talents and accomplishments of Marin and Sonoma County residents, especially the youth.

Entries opened online on May 1 and exhibits are being be dropped off and judged in person at the fairgrounds. Youth will present their small animal and livestock projects in person as well. The grounds will not be widely open to the public, but the staff is working on plans to showcase exhibitors’ work, including a plan to allow exhibitors time to visit the hall with family and friends.

“We have a community of creative and talented people. Many have spent time at home in the last year trying new things or improving their craft. That needs to be celebrated,” Keaney states.

Virtual walk-throughs of the exhibit hall will be shared online, and the fair is also hosting an online Vendor Expo where the public can peruse goods and services and even interact live with vendors at scheduled times during the summer.

In addition, the Fair’s “North of the Gate” wine competition has moved to August and the Fair will be holding a ticketed tasting event in September.

“Our Fair theme this year is ‘Moovin’ On’ and while our world is still transitioning to the other side of the pandemic, it is great to be headed in the right direction and seeing the community come back together,” Keaney states. “We are excited to be a part of that.”

For updates and information, visit the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds Facebook page.

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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