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Alternative fun in the works but for Sonoma County its no fair

The COVID-19 pandemic has sidelined the Sonoma County Fair for a second year, but organizers hope to bring back some events during traditional fair days in July and August.

“We are not producing our normal fair, but we are looking at presenting some kind of activity to include a carnival, food, and possibly some vendors,” Becky Bartling, CEO of the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and Event Center, said in a recent interview. “Wine Country Horse Racing will be at Golden Gate Fields like we did last year.” Fans can watch the races at www. “We anticipate opening the Jockey Club when there’s no need for COVID testing,” Bartling noted. The Jockey Club at the fairgrounds, where afficionados enjoyed offtrack betting, was closed in 2020, then reopened for a while last November, but is now a COVID-19 inoculation center.

While events are not final, Bartling hopes to bring a child petting zoo and other activities into the mix, running from July 28 through Aug. 8. Plans for 2021 will come before the Sonoma County Fair Board on Tuesday, May 25 and on to the Board of Supervisors soon after.

No theme has been adopted for 2021, though Bartling said the fully-developed 2020 theme will be adopted for 2022.

Though 14 people were laid off from the fairgrounds staff in 2020, most stayed with the county. “We are hoping to start bringing them back by early 2022,” Bartling said.