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Drive-thrus with food and live music

Earlier this month, the Big Fresno Fair announced it would be pulling its annual concerts series for 2020.

At the time, the fair said it could not get needed approval from the Fresno County Department of Public Health for use of the Paul Paul Theater due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it was working with health officials on modifications that would allow the fair to continue to operate at some capacity.

That included condensing the fair down to 10 days.

On Tuesday, we got a better idea of what the modified Big Fresno Fair will look like.

In place of long lines and large crowds along the fairground concourse, guests will get a series of drive-thru and virtual experiences in a format that is already being used throughout California — like the San Diego, Orange County and California State fairs.

“Our goal has always been to bring an aspect of this beloved tradition to our community in a healthy and safe manner as guided by our health officials,” said fair Deputy Manager II Lauri King.

“While this year’s Fair experience will be nothing like year’s past, it will still be a fun, worthwhile experience that we hope will bring smiles to the faces of our community – all while continuing to work together to keep everyone safe,” she said.

Specific plans continue to be developed, but there will be an expansion of the “Fair Food Feature” events that were held earlier in the year, with a more extensive lineup of vendors, plus live entertainment for those waiting in the cars. The virtual component will include competitive exhibits and the Jr. Livestock Auction. Horse racing will happen, but without spectators and with online wagering available.

The exact dates of the reimagined fair have not been announced yet, but a fair spokesperson said they will likely fall within the original dates of Oct. 8-18.

The plans remain fluid and aspects can be adjusted, with input from county health officials, as the fair gets closer. Details will be updated on the fair’s website. Admission, season passes and Brew Fest tickets purchased for 2020 will be honored for 2021. Refunds are available by emailing [email protected]

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