County of Marin - News Releases - Virtual County Fair

For Immediate Release
March 05, 2021

Alternative Plans in Works for Marin County Fair

With COVID-19 pandemic, large in-person gatherings not allowed

San Rafael, CAThis year’s Marin County Fair will look a little different but will still celebrate the things Marin residents hold near and dear — art, agriculture, and community. 

An artistic graphic showing cartoon farm animals flying an antique plane with a banner saying Virtual Marin County Fair July 2-4Special online events are being planned for July 2-4.
The Marin County Department of Cultural Services is unable to plan a full-scale fair because of the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for a vaccination dispensing location at the Marin Center facility in San Rafael.

Since the Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, Exhibit Hall, and Showcase Theater are in use for the pandemic response for the foreseeable future, Cultural Services is planning a much smaller and safer alternative for families this summer. Plans will include a drive-through fair food event, a modified online competitive exhibits program, a special day of surprises on the Fourth of July, and more to come. Cultural Services will share further details in the coming months. 

Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s Public Health Officer, noted that the Marin Center complex has served as a location of a drive-through COVID-19 testing site, an emergency alternate care site for ill patients, and now a coronavirus vaccination clinic.

“The fairgrounds have been serving our community in a different way throughout the pandemic,” he said. “In the past few months, tens of thousands of people have received vaccination doses there. Our fair has always promoted health and well-being for our community and has won major awards for being the healthiest fair. Consistent with that, it’s best that we not gather for a fair this year. Last year’s virtual fair was a big success as people had fun while adhering to public health guidelines on social distancing, so I hope it’s successful again this summer.”

In January 2021, the Cultural Services staff won 12 awards for its virtual 2020 fair from the Western Fairs Association. With its emphasis on online contests, the fair’s social media pages experienced dramatic increases in viewership and participation.

"We are eagerly awaiting community-wide vaccinations to be able to celebrate the arts, the Marin County Fair, and the myriad cultural events that take place year-round on our Marin Center campus," said Gabriella Calicchio, Director of Cultural Services. “We miss the fair just as much as the rest of our community, but we hope to offer a little fair fun this summer while keeping everyone safe and healthy. Meanwhile, we thank everyone for their continued support of the Marin County Fair.” 


Libby Garrison
Marketing and Communications Director
Department of Cultural Services

Marin Center
10 Avenue of the Flags
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6014
Email: Libby Garrison
Cultural Services Website