Planning is underway for the 2021 Monterey County Fair

Peninsula Premier Admin

MONTEREY — Officials with the Monterey County Fair are moving forward with plans for the annual late-summer event, although with limited capacity and with a host of safety checks for visitors.

Kelly Violini, chief executive of the Monterey County Fair and Event Center, said Wednesday her staff and the board of directors are in the process of formulating their plan so they can present it to the Monterey County Health Department.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the sometimes confusing information on vaccines, trying to firm up plans for an event the size of the fair is like shooting at a moving target — there’s no idea where it will turn.

But portions of the proposal the fair will be presenting to the Health Department includes a limited 25% capacity on the grounds and restricted to outdoor venues.

“This means that there will be no indoor exhibit buildings and exhibitors will have their items displayed in the barn area or virtually,” Violini said.

A full in-person livestock grading event is planned for Aug. 25-27 with the Junior Livestock Auction being held on Aug. 28. It will be open to livestock exhibitors and their leaders or parents only to limit the number of people on the grounds.

Tickets will be sold online as usual, and the number of people at gates will be limited with contactless ticket sales on kiosks. All COVID-19 protocols will be in place, with temperature checks at the entry gates, social distancing, and the cleaning and sanitizing of limited carnival rides.

Violini is confident the fair will take place from Sept. 3 through Sept. 6 in one form or another. This year’s theme is “Fair Fun in 2021!” The theme was by Cathy Meehand of Watsonville. Of course, the first thing to kick off the fair season is the annual poster contest.

Fair poster entries must be submitted as either a draft sketch or full artwork to the fair office no later than 5 p.m. Feb. 21. They must include an official entry form with the entrant’s name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail. Entry forms and official rules are available at

Entries can be hand-delivered to the fair office from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or mailed to Monterey County Fair – Poster Art Contest, 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey, CA 93940. They can also be emailed to

The fair’s board of directors will select and announce the winning entrants and poster art on March 1. There will be an Adult and a Youth Division winner. One winning entry will be chosen as the official 2021 Fair Poster Art and one will be chosen as the 2021 Entry Guidebook Cover.

The winner of the 2021 Fair Poster Art Contest Adult Division will receive a $100 prize and the Youth Division winner will receive a $50 cash prize. Both winners will receive a family package of tickets to the fair.

Contributed by local news sources

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