Although it’s been a roller coaster of a year with canceled events and online gatherings, the Kern County Fair is set to return in its regular time slot at the end of September.

“We’re trying to keep everything as traditional and normal as possible,” Chelsey Roberts, with facility marketing and media for the Kern County Fair, said of this year’s event. “I know everyone’s really missed the fair, so we don’t want to make a bunch of changes.”

However, there’s always something new to enjoy!

For the kids

New to the fair this year is a section for kids called Mind Works in the KC Loop area, with activities focusing on STEM and STEAM. There will be giant versions of the "Simon" and "Operation" games, as well as Tic-Tac-Toe. It will also be a space where kids can relax and put their hands to use.

Live entertainment

There will be 10 days of free live music. Along with the three community stages, featuring a variety of talent including local dancers and singers, the Budweiser Pavilion will provide its own lineup of artists, similar to the caliber of artists they’ve hosted in years past.

  • Walker Hayes - Wednesday, Sept. 22;
  • The Guess Who - Thursday, Sept. 23;
  • Michael Ray - Friday, Sept. 24;
  • Monica - Saturday, Sept 25 – Sponsored by the Law Office of Torres | Torres-Stallings;
  • Jesus Ojeda y sus Parientes - Sunday, Sept. 26 – Sponsored by Chain | Cohn;
  • Jim Ranger - Wednesday, Sept. 29 – Sponsored by The Law Offices of Kyle J. Humphrey;
  • Maddie & Tae - Thursday, Sept. 30;
  • Sean Kingston - Friday, Oct. 1 – Sponsored by the Law Office of Torres | TorresStallings and Gotta Go Bail Bonds;
  • Smash Mouth - Saturday, Oct. 2; and
  • Grupo Siggno - Sunday, Oct. 3

Food

And what is a fair without all the delicious treats?

The traditional favorites — corn dogs, cotton candy and more — will still be there.

But there will also be a few new food vendors offering items like sweet and savory crepes, burger patties between glazed doughnuts and a healthier option of white rice and chicken that comes in a pineapple.

Safety protocols

While there are a few new standards due to navigating the challenges of COVID-19 and ensuring everyone’s safety, Roberts said that fairs have always been a bit different than larger theme parks. In terms of extra precautions for issues such as e-coli, they have very good cleaning protocols already.

“Because when it comes to having a lot of livestock around, that's something that we, as an industry, always have to be really careful about,” added Roberts.

Those safety precautions will just be more thorough throughout the fairgrounds with hand sanitizing and hand-washing stations.

Mask requirements will depend on where the Kern County community is at the time of the fair.

“We just try to keep in close contact with our local health department as well as the state. And it just will be following whatever guidelines are given to us at that time,” said Roberts.

The fair will also be closed Monday, Sept. 27 and Tuesday, Sept. 28, for cleaning.

Rides

There might be fewer rides this year due to scheduling with other fairs and carnivals, but probably not enough missing that you’ll notice. That extra space will also allow more room for guests to social distance.

Discounted tickets are available now, and through local Vallarta stores starting in September.

For more information about the Kern County Fair, visit their website at kerncountyfair.com or visit their social media pages for the latest updates as they become available.

The Kern County Fair runs Sept. 22 through Oct. 3; Closed Monday, Sept. 27 and Tuesday, Sept. 28.