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Alameda County Fair opens today

Concerts, rides, entertainment, exotic food through closing day July 4

The Alameda County Fair opens Wednesday with new attractions, more special events and fair favorites ranging from horse racing to big name concerts and a fireworks spectacular on July 4 featuring the Oakland East Bay Symphony.

As in past years, opening day attendees will get to enjoy $1 admission and $1 rides until 5 p.m

The Big O Tires Concert Series kicks off opening night with Cinderella's Tom Kiefer, followed by a 2016 lineup that includes The Animals, Joe Nichols, Tower of Power, Great White, Smash Mouth, LeAnn Rimes, BJ Thomas, Kool, the Gang, Expose and Crystal Gayle.

The fair's new premium reserved seats option offers concert fans even more advantages with a limited number of front-section seats for each show that can now be purchased in advance through the fair's website for $19.95, including fair admission. Open seating remains free with general admission as always.

The insanely popular Extreme Action Sports shows introduced last year will be back with more Monster Truck, Demolition Derby and Extreme Rodeo challenges. As before, a different show will be featured each weekend, while Extreme Freestyle Motocross will still be featured daily.

Craft beer lovers can unite at the Red, White & Brew Fest happening at the Budweiser Grandstand infield track during live horse racing on Saturday, July 2, from 3 to 6 p.m. The event offers unlimited sampling of dozens of craft beers, food, games and wagering. Tickets include fair admission and are available now on the fair's website starting at $40.

This year will feature the fair's third "Snackdown," where the fair's own food vendors will offer up offer up outrageous new creations to compete for the prized championship belt. A live judging event, hosted by KCBS' Foodie Chap Liam Mayclem will be held at the fair on Saturday, June 18 at 4 p.m. Food fans will also enjoy $2 Tasty Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. when samples of fair food favorites will be offered for just two bucks

Following the Rotary Club of Pleasanton's traditional Father's Day Spirit Run at 8 a.m. Sunday, June 19, the fair will offer free admission for dads until noon with special events at the racetrack and throughout the fair.

More new attractions for 2016 will include the Budweiser Clydesdales, June 15-26, the K9 Kings, flying dog show, June 28-30, and fair favorites, including pig races, exhibits, food, rides and games. Daily events will include Chinese Acrobats of Hebei, magician Frank Thurston, the Mark & Dre comedy duo show and strolling stilt entertainers Tangled Threads.

Horse racing, always a major attraction at the fair, gets underway next Thursday with races continuing through June 19, and then again June 23-26, and closing with races July 1-4.

Angel Moore, the fair's marketing and communications manager, said there's more racing coming. The California Horse Racing Board has transferred six fall racing days from Stockton to Alameda County for Fall horse racing on two 3-day weekends, Sept. 23-25 and Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

Gate admission to the fair is $12 for adults ages 13-61, $10 for seniors 62 and older and children 6-12 years old, with children under 6 years old admitted free.

Carnival wristbands sell for $25. A season pass for admission for all 18 days is $36, and a Fun Pack that provides four general admission tickets and a parking pass costs $40. The fair also admits service men and women free until 5 p.m. every day with valid Military IDs.

Visit www.alamedacountyfair.com for more information and updated schedules.

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