BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — In May the Kern County Fair Board of Directors voted to postpone the 2021 fair for the 2nd year. But during a special meeting Friday, that decision was reversed.
The fair’s CEO says they want this fair to be as close to normal as possible. But with time ticking, it will be organized in about three months, a normal one is organized in 12.
“Things are looking a lot better than we anticipated at the beginning, so we’re really positive that we can make this happen," said Fair CEO Mike Olcott.
The board announced the 2021 fair will be happening Wednesday, September 22 through Sunday, October 3.
A big reason for the change is because Kern Public Health’s mass vaccination site will eventually be shrinking its footprint at the fairgrounds, allowing space for a fair. The vaccination site will not be removed, just relocated to a smaller site on the property, Harvest Hall.
“We are going to accommodate them in any way possible," Olcott said.
Olcott said Covid guidelines are also playing a part in making the fair a possibility. If the county were to remain on the state’s tiered restriction system, the fair would have likely only been able to operate at 35% capacity.
“A lot of the vendors, a lot of the food concessionaires, they would not make enough money," Olcott said.
But as of June 15, California is slated to drop the tier system and fully reopen. Meaning over the next three and a half months, fair organizers will be making every attempt to plan a normal fair. Olcott says the scope of this year’s fair will depend on what can be booked with short notice.
“If things go full force like we’re thinking, and everybody can come back to the fair and everything opens up, we should be in a really good position," Olcott said.
Fair organizers said state guidelines may require masks and proof of vaccination to enter the fair this year, but guidelines change often, and there’s still a lot of time between now and September.
Olcott says he anticipated to see about $300,000 in profit from this year’s event if everything goes according to plan. That’s less than they would make in a typical year, but still enough to put them in good financial standing, officials said.