‘Excited to be back’: County fair opens advance ticket sales, sees record first day | TheUnion.com

‘Excited to be back’: County fair opens advance ticket sales, sees record first day

When the Nevada County Fairgrounds began selling advance tickets last week for this year’s fair, it saw “a record opening day of ticket sales,” said fairgrounds CEO Patrick Eidman.

The Nevada County Fair was not held last year due to COVID-19 risk and the associated state guidelines which, at that time, did not permit gatherings of that size.

In April, the Nevada County Fairgrounds announced that this year’s Nevada County Fair, set for Aug. 11-15, would be held, a decision its Board of Directors came to unanimously.

According to the fair’s online ticket site, ticket prices are discounted if bought in advance of Aug. 10 at 5 p.m.

For example, an advance sale ticket for adult admission costs $7, and an advance sale wristband allowing unlimited rides for any one day costs $25. If bought at the gate during the fair, these will cost $10 and $30, respectively.

Other types of tickets, such as five-day admission and parking passes, are also included in the advance sale.

Eidman said fairgrounds staff are aiming to offer as “full” a fair experience as possible this year, including by keeping the fair’s usual five-day duration and opening hours.

He said planning for that has been a challenge due to the limited amount of time between getting “the go-ahead to move forward with the full fair” and the fair dates, and noted that this motivated other county fairs to take on modified formats this year.

“But, it was important to us that the fair look as close to what people have come to expect as possible,” said Eidman. “And I think we’re going to get very close.”


Treat Street — a long-running part of the fair in which local nonprofits fill a row of booths and sell a variety of foods, a major yearly fundraiser for many — will go on largely unchanged this year, according to Eidman.

He said that, while a few organizations which normally participate in Treat Street will not be present this year due to difficulties such as finding enough volunteers to run a booth, “a lot, if not most, of the favorites will be there.”

“The vast majority will be back,” said Eidman. “And we’re excited to work with them again as they raise money for their important projects in town and deliver easily the best fair food in California.”

As for arena events to be held each night of the fair’s run, this year will feature five motor sports events, from outlaw karts and mini-truck racing the first night to ATV and UTV racing, two monster truck events, and a Sunday night destruction derby.

According to Eidman, the fair’s opening night normally features a rodeo event, followed by three or four nights of motor sports.

“This year, we decided we’d really like to open the fair working with a local partner, Patrick Weger Racing,” said Eidman, adding that Weger was responsible for a successful racing event at the fairgrounds in October 2019. “We saw a lot of great energy and a lot of local support, and thought it’d be a great way to kick off the fair this year.”


The Nevada County Fair meets the state’s criteria for a “mega event” in its attendance, said Eidman.

Following the state’s June 15 lifting of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier system, which contained most pandemic restrictions on business sectors, one of the exceptions which went into effect concerns “mega events“ — characterized by 5,000 attendees indoors or 10,000 attendees outdoors.

According to the state Department of Public Health, vaccine verification or negative testing is required for indoor “mega events,” and recommended for those taking place outdoors. This means the Nevada County Fair, which operates “largely outdoors,” falls within the state’s recommendation of these measures rather than a requirement, said Eidman.

“So, obviously, we want to have a very safe event, we’re working on that whole aspect of it, too,” said Eidman, later elaborating that sanitation protocols have been updated. “But, the fair is going to look very close, we expect, to how it has in years past.”

Among other public health recommendations from the state Department of Public Health regarding outdoor “mega events” are that all event communications inform guests of the state’s recommendation that they obtain a negative COVID-19 test or wear a face covering if they are not fully vaccinated, and that venues make masks available for attendees.

“We consider ourselves a responsible and safe event, so whatever guidance we have from the state, of course we’ll be passing it along,” said Eidman.

“Folks that aren’t vaccinated and don’t have a recent (negative) test are encouraged to wear a mask, but there won’t be masking requirements beyond what the guidance is from the state,” he said, clarifying that this recommendation will function on a self-attestation basis for visitors of the fair.


The fairgrounds’ hiring process is ongoing for both fair events and their setup, said Eidman, with at least 100 available positions remaining in a variety of areas as of last week.

“We have a good returning crew,” said Eidman. “It’s just, I think, having the year off, some folks moved away or they found more permanent positions, and we always applaud and support that, but we’ve got some spots to fill.”

Eidman noted that recently held fairs in neighboring counties drew large crowds, including at the Yuba-Sutter Fair, which he says saw a 50% increase in attendance from 2019, and the Placer County Fair, whose attendance he said was “way up.” Both fairs were held June 24-27.

“We’ve got to be prepared for a big crowd that’s excited to be back at a fair,” said Eidman.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com



Visit the Nevada County Fairgrounds at 11228 McCourtney Road in Grass Valley

Call 530-273-6217

Visit online ticket sales at:





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