Visit a "Tropical Fairadise" at the 2022 Sonoma County Fair
In case you missed or just didn't get enough of the Marin County Fair, you'll be happy to know that the 2022 Sonoma County Fair starts Thursday, August 4 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, and runs through Sunday, August 14 (the fair will be closed on Monday, August 8). This year's Sonoma County Fair theme is "Tropical Fairadise".
The Sonoma County Fair is worth checking out if you've never been: it's bigger and a lot different than Marin's smaller, more intimate fair, and has more of an agricultural focus, which is natural for a more rural county like Sonoma. The Sonoma County Fair also features the largest themed flower show in the country, which is usually pretty stunning. This year's theme is "Island of Adventure"; each garden will highlight a different tropical island, from Isla Nublar to Bali Hai.
The fair includes a kids' area with free age-appropriate entertainment, activities, craft projects, games, and more. This year it celebrates pirates, princesses, and mermaids with games, dress-up, and hands-on art projects. There’s plenty of lawn and shade as well as a parents rest station with changing tables and chairs for nursing. The Kids Area is open from 11 am to 8 pm, with activities and entertainment from noon to 6:30 pm. Young fairgoers can also enjoy free kids' shows, free Clover ice cream, and tour the fair in a horse-drawn wagon!
The fair also holds a daily parade around the grounds at 5 pm that all can participate in—if you want to join in, show up by the Milk Barn at 4:45 pm. Of course you'll also find plenty of other things to see and do, including the usual county fair offerings of concerts and live music, farm animal displays, contests, and tons of food, as well as horse racing, rodeos, a even a demolition derby.
The fair also boasts five acres of thrilling classic carnival attractions for all ages. Unlimited wristbands are available for purchase in advance online. Rides this year include the Giant Wheel, Pole Position Coaster, Tilt A Whirl, Looney Tooter Train, and Pirate Jets.
Headliner concerts are free with fair admission and include Steve Augeri (former Journey lead singer), the Illeagles, the Spinners, and more. See the whole concert schedule here.
If You Go
The 2022 Sonoma County Fair is open from noon to 10 pm, Sunday–Thursday (closed Mondays) and noon to 11 pm Friday and Saturday; gates close at 9 pm. Admission is $18 ($14 until August 3) for ages 13 and up, $10 for children 7–12, and free for children 6 and under. Special family, economy, and season pass packages are also available. Order tickets online here.
The fair will also be free for kids ages 7–12 (kids 6 and under are always free) on Thursdays and seniors 60+ on Fridays. Food Bank Day takes place Tuesday, August 9; bring at least 3 non-perishable food items to donate to the Redwood Empire Food Bank and receive $1 general admission (until 5 pm).
Some fair attractions, including headliner concerts, rodeos, and horse racing, are subject to additional ticket fees. Parking fees range from $10–$15, depending on the lot and its distance from the fairgrounds.
The Sonoma County Fairgrounds are located off Bennett Valley Road in Santa Rosa. To get there from Marin, take 101 north to Santa Rosa, then take the Highway 12 exit and head east; exit Highway 12 at the downtown Santa Rosa exit, which will put you on Bennett Valley Road. After the stoplight, you'll see fairgrounds ahead of you to your right.
For more information on the Sonoma County Fair, including a full schedule of events and a list of all attractions, call (707) 545-4200 or visit www.sonomacountyfair.com.
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