PLEASANTON – Animals, music, rides and hot dogs returned to Pleasanton on Friday to kick off the 2022 Alameda County Fair.
Free admission was offered on opening day until 3 p.m. The fair runs from Friday to July 10, and is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
A kickoff concert by R&B star Ginuwine was held Friday night.
A qualifying round for Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest was held on Saturday. It is the only official qualifier on the West Coast for the contest held in New York every July 4. The top three male and female winners will be invited to the final round at Coney Island.
Saturday will also see the return of the Sun's Out Fun's Out charity run. Participants of all abilities can run a mile on the historic racetrack and a course through the fairgrounds. Proceeds will go to benefit the nonprofit Sunflower Hill, which assists adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The run begins at 9 a.m.
Brew Fest was also held Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The tasting event features unique beers from more than 15 breweries.
"Spending time with my kids, spoiling them with ice cream and food," said Livermore father Tyrrell Patrick.
Patrick said it was a family tradition to go to the fair and there was no better place to spend Father's Day weekend with his two young daughters and wife.
"Growing up, it's like I had fond memories of coming here. It's just fun making memories with them," said Patrick.
Event organizers said there's a little bit of everything for people of all ages at the fair. The big attractions for kids and teenagers are the carnival rides. For young families, there are pony rides, movie nights, and the petting zoo.
The fan favorite for everyone seems to be the pig races.
"This is the beginning of summer. This is the first event we go to. We try to hit a lot of stuff. It's all about having a good time. We work during the week and we play hard on the weekends," said San Jose resident Jesse Mendez .
Fairgoers said a big part of the fair for them is the big selection of food.
"Everything from oysters on a stick to, of course, the classic corn dogs. We have lobster nachos, hot Cheeto pizzas," said Tiffany Cadrette, the marketing and communications manager at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.
The fair is marking pride month with an "Out at the Fair" festival on Sunday.
This marks a return to the fair's regular summer schedule. The 2020 fair was canceled and the 2021 fair was postponed until October of that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Information on the fair's entertainment schedule, horse racing and more are available on the official Alameda County Fair website.
The Alameda County Fair will run until July 10th.
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