PLEASANTON -- Fourth of July fireworks will make a triumphant return to the Alameda County Fair this year after a 16-year absence.

The July 4 fireworks fit in nicely with this year's fair theme, "Taste the Red, White & Blue," and the national holiday just happens to fall on a Friday.

"The fireworks are iconic," said Angel Moore, the fair's marketing manager. "It's basically a gift to the community. We want to celebrate America. That's why our theme this year is red, white and blue."

Fireworks were suspended after a July 4 shooting at the fair in 1998. Fireworks were brought back on other nights, but Moore said fairgoers have long clamored for the return of holiday fireworks.

"It's going to be a spectacular event," she said of the 15-minute show. "It will be amazing. The fair will remain open so that our guests can see the fireworks show. We will not be closing early as we have in previous years."

Short nightly videos celebrating Alameda County will be followed by small pyrotechnics displays that can be seen within the fairgrounds only. Those brief special effects shows are similar to what might be seen at a concert. The 102nd annual fair opens June 18 for a 17-day run. Except for Mondays, it will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Opening-day admissions and rides are just $1.


Advertisement

Music fans will enjoy a new program that gives them a break from waiting in line all day and evening to see their favorite singers and bands. Every day, the first 300 people in line from 2 to 3 p.m. will get wristbands that give them priority admission to concerts, which are free with fair admission.

"Oftentimes, people get here early and start lining up for someone like LeAnn Rimes," Moore said of this year's biggest headliner. "We'd like them to go out and enjoy the fair."

People with wristbands can return at 6 p.m. for priority admission to concerts before gates are open to the public at 7 p.m. Other acts announced for this year are Eddie Money, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Evolution (a Journey tribute band), Con Funk Shun and Night Ranger. More concerts will be announced for other evenings.

Another new event this year is the Snackdown contest that challenges food vendors to come up with the best new food items never before served at the fair. The three competition categories are best taste, most creative and best red, white and blue theme.

All contest entrants will be identified on their food booths and on the food maps so that fairgoers can seek out creative new foods, Moore noted.

"We're really excited this year with the return of our Fourth of July fireworks," Moore said. "We're excited to bring our community the tradition and education that the fair offers."

Visit alamedacountyfair.com for more information about the fair and to buy tickets online.

---