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California Mid-State Fair returns, smaller concerts

paso robles event center.PNG
Posted at 9:27 AM, May 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-22 12:27:15-04

After pausing for the pandemic, the California Mid-State Fair is back this summer, but organizers have to stay on their toes and keep up with changing guidelines, especially when it comes to planning the concerts.

The Fair starts on July 21st and ends on August 1st at the Paso Robles Event Center.

Gina Fitzpatrick, the President and CEO of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, said “I remember as a child, I was able to see George Strait and some of the other long-time country-western music heroes.”

The Fair started 75 years ago and brings millions of dollars to the City of Paso Robles annually.

“I’ve seen economic studies that say the fair generates anywhere between $100 million to the local economy,” said fair spokesman, Tom Keffury.

Keffury reported that around 400,000 people attend the event each year.

There is usually a different act for each day of the fair, but this year could be different. Organizers say they are having a tough time booking acts because many of them aren't planning on heading to California over the summer.

“And they wouldn’t come to California until the end of the year, October, November because they wanted to be sure that they could play certain venues,” said Keffury.

The Fair venue can hold around 15,000 people for a concert, but depending on the County and state guidelines for COVID-19, the capacity will likely decrease.

Stacie Jacob, the Executive Director for Travel PASO, said “[The] Town of Paso Robles with 30,000 people...we get headliner concerts." Back in 2019, performers Cardi B and Blake Shelton sold out.

“Whatever the health guidelines and restrictions are, we will absolutely abide by those, but we want the fair to be more normal than abnormal...It would really be irresponsible of us to try and book an act that would have to have full capacity, 15,000 people to make money. That would not be smart for us to make that wager. So again, we’re looking at acts in kind of that mid-tier range, who at 5,000, or 6,000, or 8,000 people would make sense for us fiscally,” explained Keffury.

Fitzgerald was optimistic about the venue and the businesses that serve the fair-goers, “I think that everyone’s feeling pretty confident now that they’re able to welcome guests and locals alike in order to get everybody in and happy, still safely manage through all of this.”

Keffury said the venue at the Paso Robles Fairgrounds is the largest event venue on the Central Coast.