IMPERIAL, CA.—Several large trucks loaded with carnival equipment have gathered in the south parking lot of the Imperial Valley Fairgrounds here as a visible sign that within a few weeks, the 2023 California Midwinter Fair will be opening.
The fair, with the theme of “Feel the Groove,” opens on March 3 and runs through March 12. It is presented by One World Beef.
“After three years of cutbacks due to the pandemic, I am happy to announce that the 115th annual California Mid-Winter Fair will be a full-fledged fair,” said Chief Executive Officer Alan Phillips. “Work is currently underway in the Preble Building, which once again will illustrate our theme.”
The fair will have all of the traditional activities such as High School Madness, a full slate of grounds acts, concerts, the traditional junior livestock show, an auction, and a series of dirt track events sponsored by the Heritage Foundation—including the popular Heritage 500 on the final day of the fair.
“We are excited and very happy to be totally back,” Phillips said. “We really appreciate the support of One World Beef, which for a second year is our presenting sponsor.”
Tickets for the fair will be available on Feb. 6 in what will be an online-only sale. Presale admission tickets are priced at $8 adult and $6 for children and seniors. Tickets purchased after March 2 will be full price: $10 adult and $8 for children and seniors. Carnival presale wristbands also will be available online for $38. While online sales will continue through the duration of the fair, and once the fair opens on March 3, tickets also will be available for purchase at the gates.
Purchases can be made through a link on the fair’s webpage at www.ivfairgrounds.com.
Family Value Packs also will make a return this year. They will be available only at the fair’s box office in Imperial. The value pack includes two adult and two child tickets, two carnival wristbands, and a variety of coupons for vendors for the 2023 California Mid-Winter Fair as well as two adult and two child tickets for the 2023 San Diego County Fair.
School tours and a special person’s day also will resume this year. The free elementary school tours will be on March 8 and Special Citizen Tours on March 9. The school program is an occasion for elementary school students to visit the fair with teachers and chaperones in a self-supervised, self-guided manner.
This will be the first traditional fair since 2020, which was the final full fair held in California before COVID-19 restrictions prohibited public gatherings that March, the week after the fair’s final day. In 2022, many of the traditional events returned but a number of major buildings, including the Preble, were closed.
“It’s an understatement to say this has been a difficult time for fairs in our state and I want to thank our community and our sponsors for the success we have had,” Phillips said. “This year, we are truly looking forward to again ‘Feeling the Groove.’”