‘We want to make this happen’: Fairgrounds planning for 2021 Nevada County Fair, expecting more state guidance | TheUnion.com

‘We want to make this happen’: Fairgrounds planning for 2021 Nevada County Fair, expecting more state guidance

The horse barns at the Nevada County Fairgrounds have sat idle after coronavirus shutdowns closed the fairgrounds almost a year ago. The fairgrounds has since reopened to day walkers and for limited use purposes.
Photo: Elias Funez


The grandstands of the Nevada County Fairgrounds await the day when they will be filled with crowds of cheering people. Events such as Vintage Duels racing, Draft Horse Classic, monster truck shows and the flying rodeo stars of the county fairgrounds arena have all been on pause as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic.
Photo: Elias Funez


Local nonprofit organizations such as Nevada County 4-H and many others that benefit from sales at the Treat Street food booths have not made any money over the past year.
Photo: Elias Funez


Joining the Nevada County Fairgrounds is a way to help support the fairgrounds during these unsure times.
Photo: Elias Funez


The Nevada County Fairgrounds is a popular place for day walkers and their dogs. The fairgrounds has since reopened for day use, though social distancing and mask use is encouraged.
Photo: Elias Funez


During the Nevada County Fair, organizations such as Job’s Daughter’s can always expect a line of people waiting to get one of their famous corn dogs. Job’s Daughters, and many other local nonprofits, have not been able to raise funds as they normally would without the help of the fairgrounds’ Treat Street during the coronavirus.
Photo: Elias Funez

Planning for this year’s Nevada County Fair is underway, with fairgrounds staff “very hopeful,” although they are looking to the state for more guidance on what kind of gathering will be allowed, according to Nevada County Fairgrounds CEO Patrick Eidman.

“Right now, we’re looking at our dates, August 11-15, and just hoping beyond hope that things are such that we’re able to move forward with the fair for the community,” said Eidman.

According to Eidman, as planning continues without the full details on what public health guidance will dictate for an August event, it is more feasible to plan for differences in fair operation than differences in timing.

“It’s always hard, when you plan an event that’s the scale and size of a fair, to have to shift dates, because it has to work for the carnival, your vendors who are on a rotation between events, and entertainment,” said Eidman.

Moving fair dates — as the El Dorado County Fairgrounds announced early this month it will be doing, with plans to hold a fair Sept. 23-26 rather than in July — based on future guidance would be “a complicated thing to shift,” said Eidman.

“Right now, we’re planning for a great fair, but with plans B, C, and D. And really, we need that reopening guidance to help inform what that event will look like,” said Eidman.

“If we can have a fair, I think we’ll be able to figure it out,” he said. “If it’s restricting the number of people in buildings, we’ll work that out, because we want to make this happen for the community and we’re doing everything we can to make sure that will be possible come August.”

While the fairgrounds has also maintained contact with local health officials, according to Eidman, “for a gathering the size of a fair, it’s likely to be driven at the state level in terms of whether it will be allowed.”

He described the issue of obtaining that public health guidance as an ongoing conversation with the state at this point, and said there is not a known date yet for when that guidance will come.

“There’s really a community of folks advocating for fairs and advocating for our ability to reopen, and to get guidance on that front,” said Eidman.


According to their respective websites, both the Placer County Fair and the Yuba-Sutter County Fair are planning for their 2021 events to take place June 24-27.

Planning for the Plumas-Sierra County Fair is “moving forward as if nothing will be different,” according to a message addressed to fair campers from fair manager John Steffanic.

In the message, posted on the fair’s website, Steffanic wrote, “My sincere feeling is that things will start opening up for events in June and July, which means our August Fair should be clear.”

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

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