Have some good old-fashioned fun at these county fairs in and around the Bay Area! If you’re craving a funnel cake, hoping to blow off steam on a carnival ride, or seeking some quality animal time at a petting zoo, be sure to mark your calendar for these upcoming Bay Area fairs and festivals.
Some standout events include the CA Exposition and State Fair, which celebrates the bounty of California agriculture and industry in the state’s capitol; the Sonoma County Fair, which has monster truck shows and a destruction derby; and the Santa Cruz County Fair, which has a huge range of cooking and baking contests.
July 14-30, 2023 – Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd, Sacramento
The California State Fair has celebrated the best of the Golden State for over 165 years. Join the festivities centered on California agriculture, industry, and culture in the state capitol for a week-long fair featuring monster trucks, cooking competitions, concerts, carnival rides, and delicious food and drink.
July 26-Aug 6, 2023 – Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully Rd., San Jose
This massive county fair brings the party with endless live music, animal exhibitors, commercial and food vendors, and a fun high-energy environment. Each day brings different entertainment so be sure to check the 2023 lineup when deciding on a day to visit.
Aug 3-13, 2023 – Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa
Here’s your ultimate county fair experience, with events and exhibits including a hall of flowers, horse racing, NorCal brew fest, rodeo, monster truck show, destruction derby, concerts, shopping, livestock shows, and more.
Aug 10-13, 2023 – Napa Expo, 575 Third St, Napa
Enjoy this fun and family-friendly fair with carnival rides, games, circus performers, livestock barns and competitions, wine garden, home and garden demos, chef demos, live DJs, karaoke, and art competitions. Don’t miss the art walk courtesy of talented Napa youth.
Aug 31-Sept 4, 2023 – Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairground Rd, Monterey
This year’s theme is “Buckaroos and Howdy Do’s” with carnival rides, daily concerts and entertainment, livestock shows and auctions. The fairgrounds have hosted fairs and events since 1935.
Sept 13-17, 2023 – Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 E Lake Ave, Watsonville
The Santa Cruz County Fair will showcase special contests for apple pies, veggie judging, amateur winemaking, photography, art, and more. Not to mention a “Diaper Derby” toddler contest, horse shows, LEGO® sculptures, model trains, and plenty of fantastic food.
Sept 29-Oct 1, 2023 – 9000 Airline Hwy, Tres Pinos
This lively fair brings old fashioned entertainment including carnival rides and live music. Stay tuned as we await 2023 details.
The American county fair dates back over 200 years in the US as a longstanding tradition celebrating agriculture and farming. Sheep farmer Elkanah Watson held the first US county fair as we know it in Pittsfield, MA in 1807, subsequently hosting additional livestock shows and agricultural contests around New England. By the mid-1800s the fairs were common throughout the East and Midwest, eventually evolving into the modern carnival celebration that we’re all familiar with today.