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LA County Fair
Photograph: Foster Snell

The typical L.A. County Fair has been canceled—again

But a “smaller,” “modified” fair might still take place.

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

UPDATE (5/25): The L.A. County Fair announced some more info about its scaled-down edition this year: Instead of a typical ride-filled fair, it’ll host a food experience in late September, with more details still to come.

But by far the biggest news regards future fairs: They’ll be permanently moving from from post-Labor Day to till-Memorial Day. Next year’s fair will run Thursdays through Sundays (plus Memorial Day) from May 5 to 30, 2022. Though the official announcement doesn’t mention it, the L.A. Times attributes the switch to declining attendance due to punishingly hot September weather.

Our original story appears below.

The L.A. County Fair—the deepest-fried tradition in the region—is still almost half a year away from its typical September run, but its organizers have already made the call to scrap any plans for a full-blown fair.

On Tuesday, fair organizers announced that for the second year in a row the traditional version of the Pomona event would be canceled due to the pandemic, but that they’d begin “planning a smaller, safer celebration.”

“After canceling the fair last year and with the availability of a vaccine this year, we were hoping to be able to welcome guests back in 2021 to one of the largest county fairs in the country,” the announcement reads. “But with coronavirus cases unsteady, and the unpredictability of mutating strains and vaccine rollouts to larger audiences, it would be fiscally unfeasible to plan a grand celebration only to be told a fair could not be held.”

It’s not clear yet what exactly we could see at Fairplex instead; organizers simply say that they’ll announce plans for a modified fair at a later date. (Perhaps the drive-thru fair food fest that’s currently running on weekends at the Rose Bowl might offer some sort of hint as to what we can expect.) Whatever form it takes, it’ll certainly be scaled down enough to have caused the fair to issue refunds to any 2020 season pass holders who opted to roll over their tickets into 2021. It’s also worth noting that part of the Fairplex parking lot is currently being used as a county-run vaccination site, and at the current rate it’s likely we’ll still see that running for many months.

Last year, the L.A. County Fair was canceled for only the third time in its history (the previous two were a multi-year stretch during World War II and on September 11, 2001). At the time, the fair was hoping to return in 2021, but was otherwise eyeing its centennial celebration in 2022.

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