California State Fair postponed to allow for more COVID-19 vaccinations at Cal Expo site

A girl pets a wallaby during a visit to the 2016 California State Fair.
Cataleja Ramirez pets Keele, a 4-year-old Bennett Wallaby, during a visit to the 2016 California State Fair in Sacramento. The state fair will not be held this summer because the site is being used as a COVID-19 vaccination site.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California’s state fair will take a backseat this summer so the Cal Expo site can continue administering COVID-19 vaccines, organizers said this week.

The Sacramento-based facility, one of the largest vaccination sites in the state, will operate through September, officials said in a news release. The California State Fair and Food Festival, which usually runs in July, could return in a “slimmed down” version after that, but the board of directors has yet to make a decision on that. The fair was canceled last year amid the pandemic.

“There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel, and I am proud that Cal Expo has been able to play such an important role during this difficult time,” Cal Expo Chief Executive Rick Pickering said in a statement. “It is imperative that everyone gets vaccinated so that we can once again safely host the many events our community loves, including the annual California State Fair.”


Cal Expo served as a mass coronavirus testing site until last week, when it transitioned to a vaccination location.

Other fairs around the state have already announced plans for their return. After a hiatus amid the pandemic, the Orange County Fair will return from July 16 to Aug. 15 with limited capacity and fewer rides, food stands and vendors.

An agricultural-themed event called Homegrown Fun, scheduled for June 11 through July 4, will take place instead of the San Diego County Fair, which was canceled last year.

“We just couldn’t let another summer come and go without celebrating San Diego and all of the wonderful food and agriculture, arts and talent, business and innovation, and all-around fun of our community,” fair organizers said.

The Los Angeles County Fair, however, has canceled its September schedule for the second year in a row, although operators of the Fairplex in Pomona say a smaller event is planned for the fall. Details have yet to be released.