SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – The Santa Clara County fair begins on Friday but once again the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the fair’s original plans.

First announced in March, the fair was to include a drive-thru event but that will no longer happen. 

Instead, the fair will now focus on livestock exhibitions.

The fairgrounds management corporation says the county is still using a large chunk of this area for COVID testing and vaccinations, which they originally expected to end sooner.

That’s the main reason for nixing the drive-thru event and other portions of this fair.

The COVID-19 pandemic is again changing the dynamic of the Santa Clara County Fair that begins on Friday.

Original plans for a drive-thru event have been canceled due to limitations at the fairgrounds.

A large portion of the area is still being used for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, an effort that was supposed to be wrapped up by now but with increasing cases, they remain busy.

While you won’t see the typical carnival rides, square dancing, and some of the other fair favorites, the executive director of the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds management corporation, Abraham Andrade, says there won’t be a shortage of exhibits to visit.

“Over 400 entries in our livestock exhibit so we have a good number and then probably another 500+ of still exhibits, again whether it’s quilted, photos, elections,” Andrade said. 

The changes come as the county and Bay Area as a whole are seeing spikes in COVID cases.

While vaccination rates are high here in San Jose, city councilmember Matt Mahan says there are still pockets of unvaccinated folks driving up infection rates.

“Overall we’ve done a great job with vaccinations. we’re 80% vaccinated for that 12 and up the population. Overall that’s phenomenal. We were one of the first cities to get what should be a level of herd immunity but the reality is vaccination rates have been uneven across the city so we have neighborhoods where the 12 and up vaccination rate is around 90% and we have neighborhoods where it’s closer to 50% and that variability is the challenge,” Matt Mahan said. “I think the name of the game is a personal responsibility. We gotta get people to sign up to get a shot in the arm.”

Despite these changes, organizers here say they wanted to keep the tradition going.

However this year, there will be free admission and free parking to the fair and if you can’t make it in-person, some events like the livestock auction will be live-streamed.