At The Fairgrounds
Our Commitment to Our Community
The Alameda County Fairgrounds is committed to our community with programs to help those in need, make the Fairgrounds accessible to all and by minimizing our impact on the environment. Check out our recent Blog Post and read below how we are doing our part:
- Food Drive: Each year during our annual Fair we host a canned food drive in support of the Alameda County Food Bank. The Food Bank provides groceries and millions of hot meals to our neighbors in need. The Food Bank is a vital member of our community that works to provide new approaches to help end hunger. To learn more and see how you can help, visit here.
- Pet Drive: In addition to the Food Bank we also partner with the Valley Humane Society to gather pet food during our annual Fair. The Valley Humane Society is a local nonprofit organization that aids in rescuing and rehabilitating our beloved pets throughout the county. To learn more and see how you can help, visit here.
- Coat Drive: We partner with One Warm Coat during our winter Drive-In Movies series to help raise funds and coats for those in need.
- Blood Drive: Starting Spring of 2023, the Alameda County Fairgrounds partnered with the American Red Cross Association. As a thank you to our local community members who donate blood, we will provide a free ticket to the Fair valid for any day of the Fair in June. Did you know that every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood? To learn more about the importance of blood donation, visit here.
- Overall: The Alameda County Fairgrounds continues to implement sustainable practices that serve as an example of our commitment to the environment. The success of the sustainability programs at the Alameda County Fairgrounds comes from a collaborative effort from multiple players including our catering partner, Oak View Group, as well as management, attendees, contractors and promoters.
- Solar Panels: The initial installation of solar panels in 2003 allowed the Alameda County Fairgrounds to generate nearly a full megawatt of electricity – enough to power 750 homes annually. Working with Engie North America, we completed the second phase of the project – an update to our equipment. The new equipment allows us to contribute to energy independence and rely on renewable energy.
- Grounds & Water: The Alameda County Fairgrounds landscaping updates have helped to reduce our water consumption. As a part of our commitment to the environment, the Fairgrounds goal is to replace 90% of our plants with drought-tolerant ones and install drip tube irrigation for increased water conservation. Additionally, the Fairgrounds is a part of the Rescape Program, where we will update our landscaping to meet the rescape requirements. This means creating regenerative landscaping – planting the right plant for the right zones, creating a sustainable but aesthetically pleasing space, and saving our watersheds by creating habitat for native species and pollinators. Our Wine Garden features a monarch butterfly habitat garden. By planting butterfly bushes to attract migrating butterflies, we hope to provide habitat for endangered Monarch butterflies at the fairgrounds.
- Grounds: Using chipped mulch spread on our flowers and plants around the grounds,, we help conserve water during the hot summer months while keeping the plants happy. To protect our young trees from potential damage during winter storms, we reuse wood palettes left over from events to secure them.
- Well Water: The Alameda County Fairgrounds runs primarily on its own well water. We test our water daily to ensure it is safe for consumption and free of harmful chemicals and minerals. This means that when it comes to our water use, we are completely self-sufficient and we can use our well water to operate our restrooms! Aside from operating our restrooms, our independent water source allows the Fairgrounds to act as an emergency center without having to tap into City resources.
- Water Refill Stations: In an effort to reduce single-use plastic consumption, Alameda County Fairgrounds currently has three water bottle refill stations and 12 water fountains located across the property.
- Fertilizer: 9600 tons of horse manure and straw is routed to Monterey Mushrooms, a local mushroom farm that repurposes the manure as fertilizer for their crops.
- Tree Relocation: A recent project at the Alameda County Fairgrounds was the relocation and transplanting of four of our large walnut trees. Our Grounds Supervisor realized they were not thriving in their original location and partnered with Mighty Tree Movers to relocate them to an area where they can be in the proper environment needed in order to continue to grow!
- Pleasanton Garbage: Pleasanton Garbage Service is our contracted garbage removal company. They remove our garbage, recyclables and cardboard waste year-round., They have their own impressive list of sustainability, click here to see.
- Hazardous Waste: batteries, lightbulbs, oil, paint, tires and electronic waste are all recycled with appropriate authorities thanks to our maintenance team.
- Garbage Green Waste Project: The Alameda County Fairgrounds is working towards 75% reduction in our garbage waste over 10 years.
- Oil (from food vendors converted into energy): Alameda County Fairgrounds works with Interstate Oil, a local company that offers clean, convenient, and eco-friendly service of recycling used cooking oil into biodiesel. When converted, billions of waste cooking oil and grease can be diverted from landfills and water pipes.
- Paper Recycling: We outsource through Shred-It for confidential paper shredding. They are part of a Circular Economy, meaning Shred-It helps businesses achieve some of their sustainability goals without compromising data security. They recycle the shredded documents by turning them into other manufacturing paper products.
- Lights: As Alameda County Fairgrounds works on new upgrades to our grounds, our building lights are being replaced with LED or photocells. With programmable times and dimmers, our newly upgraded lighting helps us conserve energy.
- Satellite Parking: Alameda County Fairgrounds supports the carpooling of large companies in the Bay Area including Yahoo, Google and Facebook.
- Feed Oakland Zoo Giraffes: Working with Buena Vista Trees, Fairground trees are trimmed and delivered to the Oakland Zoo to feed animals, see our story here.
- Bike Racks: With the rise of local Fair attendees riding their bikes instead of taking a vehicle, we accommodated that need by putting out multiple bike racks at each gate to allow bikers to safely and securely store their bikes during their visit. This received a great amount of feedback and was appreciated by the community.
- The Alameda County Fairgrounds made an organization-wide effort to reduce its overall paper consumption – this includes going digital and cashless for admission processes. Fair tickets are transferred via email and saved to a mobile device. From 2019 to 2022 we saw a 72% jump in advance sales which were all online – meaning there was no distribution or usage of paper tickets.
- In addition to reducing paper usage throughout admission processes, we have implemented QR code signage throughout the grounds (and it is reusable every year). The QR codes allow for access to multiple website points as well as digital maps. While redirected, you can purchase tickets for multiple on-grounds events taking place during the fair and the digital map is an additional resource if you are not near a physical location. The usage of the QR codes allows us to minimize the number of maps and fliers we print, in addition to not having to print tickets for additional events.
- Widget: All Alameda County Fairgrounds websites have an ADA widget (blue circle in the bottom left corner) to help those who need help to read or hear the content and access the information.
- ADA Grandstand access: wheelchair-accessible ramps are available on both sides of the Grandstand building. Guests using a wheelchair or scooter may enjoy shaded viewing on the second floor with the help of an elevator.
- ADA Guest Parking: available in all Fairground parking lots.
- Equipment Rentals: available during the annual summer Fair at all three Admission Gates
- Amphitheater Access for Concerts: we have wheelchair/scooter accessible seating areas with room for folding chairs for family and friends
- Goal: Our catering partner, Oak View Group, is committed to responsible, progressive sustained actions in the fight against climate change – they have formed GOAL (Green Operations and Advanced Leadership). This is no small task, and every action will make a difference.
- Carbon Footprint: As of now – we are running out our current inventory of plastic cup ware – with the intent of moving over to sustainable products that are 100% recyclable this year. We pledge to reduce our carbon footprint; this includes programming to eliminate printed materials – including the logos and messages on cups, printed liners for food baskets, and eliminating business cards as we know them.
- Sustainable Products: Our new inventory includes plain white recycled cups, plates and napkins – we will continue to utilize other sustainable products – e.g., bamboo plates & utensils, and business cards will be QR Codes on cell phones. We plan to broaden our waste management programming to collect wet waste products from our permanent venues (California Grill, Baja Grill and Catering Events).
- As we move forward with advanced planning for a new Main Kitchen, our goal is to create zero fossil fuel consumption during daily use by taking the following action: all mechanical systems, heating & cooling, dehumidification and cooking systems will be converted to electric power, combined with supplemental renewable energy (solar panels) to operate more sustainably.
- Teamwork: The right partners make the difference! The Oak View Group looks forward to working with the Alameda County Fairgrounds on these programs – the health of the planet depends on it.
- The Scope: The Alameda County Fair Foundation is funding to build a working demonstration farm in the heart of the Alameda County Fairgrounds. The Farm will provide schools across Alameda County (and beyond) with a field trip destination designed to engage, educate and motivate students by offering hands-on experience with crops, livestock and agriculture ecosystems.
- The Goal: The Farm will showcase the latest in agriculture technology and sustainable farming. Students will be able to watch presentations on energy & water consumption, pollinator encouragement and modern animal husbandry. Our hope is to encourage nutrition with a focus on where food comes from and how to prepare it in a nourishing, healthful way.
- Teach: We look forward to offering new opportunities for learning, volunteering, and sharing expertise within the community. The Alameda County Fairgrounds has dedicated over 2 acres of land to the project and is actively campaigning to raise the funds needed to build. Grants, industry partnerships and in-kind donations will be the key to constructing this amazing facility.
To learn more, follow progress, or make a donation, click here.