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Fair and Expo plan revives Earl Warren Showgrounds to kick off summer

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A towering Ferris wheel and screaming voices will return to the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara next month when the Fair and Expo comes to town.

Dates opened up for the ride operator and the show was booked June 23 - 27 just after the state is scheduled to reopen, according to Governor Gavin Newsom. The fair normally takes place in April.

The fair did not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic, and activities at the showgrounds stopped until just recently when equestrian competitions took place in the newly remodeled horse rings.

CEO of the showgrounds, Ben Sprague said 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.

Prior to COVID the showgrounds was struggling to find a new roadmap to the future with event and redesign ideas coming in to revitalize the aging facility.

This year in addition to the Fair, Old Spanish Days is planning Fiesta Rodeo events in the main arena.

It is still unclear how much the facility can handle and under what timeline.

The fair event means a Santa Barbara County Riding Club show that was on the calendar is off. Sprague said it was disappointing but he is looking for new dates to plug that back in.

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John Palminteri

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

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