Ever the spry old man, the Alameda County Fair is turning 100 years old. It'll be the Mac Daddy of them all, boasting more deep-fried goodies than ever, more fireworks, more contests — and all without using a walker.
The fair runs from June 20 to July 8 at the in Pleasanton, and will boast deep-fried whole pineapple, deep-fried watermelon-on-a-stick, lava and peanut butter sandwiches (whatever that is), plus (and here's where it gets good): deep-fried oatmeal cream pies (yum), deep-fried snack pudding (whaat?) and deep-fried Fruity Pebbles (HUH!?).
Deelish, right? And we thought last year's deep-fried jelly beans were the best it ever got (they tasted like little warm, buttery jelly doughnuts).
That's all in addition to the weird stuff: chocolate-covered crickets, raccoon on a stick, llama burgers, and python meat. You know, the staples.
Leave it to us to mention the food first, but the truth is, there are a lot of great things happening at this year's fair.
First of all, the parade is back. Officials said the parade hasn't happened in a number of years but because of the big 100th birthday, they're bringing it back. That will take place at 9:30 a.m. June 23 in downtown Pleasanton.
And while you're chewing on a yak burger, you can enjoy big-name bands playing this year's free fair concerts. In years past, there were always two concerts each evening — the same act performing around 6 p.m. and then again at 8 p.m. But this year, officials did away with that format and are offering one show per night. That means more well-known artists.
This year's concerts include: 38 Special, Salt-N-Peppa, Rick Springfield, America, The Temptations, Hoobastank, Morris Day and the Time, Kellie Pickler, and more.
Also to celebrate the big birthday, there will be not one but THREE fireworks shows. They take place at 9:30 p.m. on June 22, June 29 and July 6.
And there will be the things you expect at a county fair. Helmeted children will try to ride a bucking sheep for six seconds in the Mutton Bustin' mini-rodeo event. Pigs will fly over hurdles, kicking up dirt the whole time. Treasure hunters will break out their GPS devices in an attempt to dig up hidden prizes. People will make themselves sick on carnival rides.
There will also be lots of contests, including: Ghirardelli Chocolate Contest, Cheesecake Contest, the Best of the Bay Samosa Contest, My Family’s Favorite Pie, Tamale Contest, 10th Annual BBQ and Chicken Cook-off, the 4th Annual Hotdog Eating Relay Contest, the Beef is King Cookout, and the 4th Annual Gumbo Contest.
Patch will be writing about the fair, as well as offering suggestions on things to do. And we'll be launching a fair photo contest, so watch for that.
Adults between 13 and 61: $8 before the fair, or $10 at the gate. Seiors 62 and older: $6 before the fair and $8 at the gate. Children between 6 and 12: $4 before the fair, and $6 at the gate. Children under 6 are free.
General parking at gates 8 and 12 costs $8. Preferred parking at gate 8 costs $15, and preferred VIP parking on Pleasanton Avenue costs $20.
If you have questions, browse the frequently asked questions page of the fair website.
The Fair runs: June 20 to July 8, 2012, closed on Mondays. Visit the website at www.alamedacountyfair.com
Days/Times: Tuesdays to Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Fridays to Sundays 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Fourth of July 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
CLOSED on Mondays
Ticket sales close at 9 p.m.