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Quiet for months, the Earl Warren Showgrounds ready for excitement ahead

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Colorful flags are flying around the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara as the facility gets set for a Fair & Expo, while the venue currently hosts an Arabian horse show.

The fair would have normally taken place in April but was delayed by coronavirus restrictions which have now been dropped for events of this kind.

Earl Warren Showgrounds' CEO, Ben Sprague, said the event will be held June 23-27. The theme will be "Santa Barbara Rides Again."

He says admission will be free to the entertainment and exhibits. The rides will come with a ticket cost. Pre-sale single day wrist bands for unlimited rides will be $25.00. The fair will have food, live music and many of the traditional activities.

"We really wanted it to be the  opening event for Santa Barbara County. We wanted to welcome everyone. There's no cost for admission," said Sprague. "There's going to be a lot of happy kids and smiling adults and I'm looking forward to being here for it."

Prior to, and during the COVID-19 restrictions, the showgrounds' board and members of its staff were working to redefine the future of the landmark facility.

This year, Old Spanish Days is planning Fiesta Rodeo events in the main arena, an event that was canceled last year.

The fair event means a Santa Barbara County Riding Club show that was previously on the calendar is off.

There will also be many other equestrian events this year along with the annual dog show.

In the equestrian area with an Arabian horse show underway now until Sunday, some of the newly refurbished sites will have a versatile use going forward.

"With the removal of three barns down there recently and a fence that is removable it gives us more options,   more places to park cars,   more places to put rides. We are just learning how to use that new space," said Sprague.

The showgrounds are part of the State of California 19th District Agricultural Association.

For more information go to, visit the Earl Warren Showgrounds website.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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