The joyful spectacle of Ferris wheels, carnival games and funnel cakes will soon return as the Royal Fair kicks off after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fair is scheduled for June 9-12 and the organizers are expecting record attendance due to the hiatus.
“We’re just glad everyone is back and everyone is here,” Kings Fair CEO Jerome Coelho said. “We just want people to enjoy the first week of summer with us knowing that this is our first year since 2019.”
Full planning for the fair takes at least six months at best, Coelho said, and the organizers still didn’t know how to continue the 2022 fair all the way to fall 2021. while remaining cautious due to new COVID spikes and outages.
They wanted to plan ahead, but they also didn’t want to take on too much responsibility lest they get “turned off”.
Because of this and other factors such as inflation and supply chain issues, Coelho said planning for this year’s fair was like “starting from scratch.” Even so, visitors to the fair won’t see much of a difference from previous years, he said.
“Basically everything will be the same. The layout may change slightly. Midway will be more spaced out so that there are fewer people on it,” he said.
Coelho said that while he’s not sure, he believes the only time the Fair missed a year was during World War II.
In the early days of the COVID pandemic, there was no guarantee that the fair would return at all, he said. After weathering the storm, Coelho said he was glad the suspense surrounding the Fair was over – or at least seemed to be over.
“More than the fair itself, we were even more concerned about the community,” he said. “When communities lose that connection to their showrooms, they lose a bit of their luster. The fair is the only event in the community where everyone gets together for the weekend.”
Favorite attractions like the Friday Night Speedway Races, the Midway Carnival and the Food Fair are sure to draw crowds, he said. Livestock auctions are “thriving”, allowing local groups 4-H and Future Farmers of America to list and auction animals for the first time since 2019.
There will be no headliners at the Fair this year, though Coelho said there are plans to refurbish the Fair’s open-air theater to better promote bigger names in the future.
However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be quality entertainment this year, as fan favorites and future fan favorites will perform at different stages of the Fair. Attendees include hypnotist Chris Mabry and the Jlive Next Big Thing Talent Show, both of which are scheduled every night. Sunday night will be Amor Prohibido: Tribute to Selena, followed by Outlaw Mariachi on Saturday.
“They play rock ‘n’ roll, pop, Latin music, country – they play everything, but it’s a complete mariachi band,” Coelho said. “They play a great show if you want to hear something different. This is amazing”.
This year the fair takes place a few weeks later than the previous ones. Coelho said the fair would likely be held in early June in the coming years so as not to conflict with other social events such as graduations.
“It will still be a spring event. The weather will be good. As long as you don’t consistently hit 105 degrees in the Valley, it’s still spring,” he said with a laugh.
The fair will be open from 17:00 to midnight from 9 to 10 June and from 15:00 to midnight from 11 to 12 June. The Royal Fair is located at 801 S. 10.th Avenue, Hanford.