Marin County Fair replaced with Fair Food Drive-Through

Clariss Ajanel, Reporter

Due to coronavirus-related safety concerns, the Marin County Fair was canceled in mid-April. As an alternative, a fair food drive-through was launched as a way to safely celebrate the fair during quarantine. The drive-through took place on July 11 and 12, and will occur again on the weekend of July 17-19, offering fair-food favorites including funnel cakes, kettle corn, cotton candy, candied apples and lemonade, among others. 

Patrons could choose between freshly made kettle corn, funnel cakes, and candy apples.

According to Gabriella C. Calicchio, Director of Cultural Services in Marin County, the drive-through served as an opportunity to provide fun and community bonding while maintaining a safe environment.

“The cancellation of the fair was a blow for our whole community, and we appreciate the importance of the [virtual fair that] fosters creativity, togetherness, family participation and joy,” Calicchio said.

Prior to the drive-through, Clichhio put on a virtual fair to entertain the county during the week of May 25-31. The fair was broadcasted on Facebook and Instagram where the host would explain the contest of the week and present the video of the winner of the previous week’s contest. This year’s revised version of the fair included a series of competitions, ranging from food decorating to trash-to-treasure artwork. According to Calicchio, the success of the virtual fair motivated her to organize the drive-through.

According to a cashier who wishes to remain anonymous, the drive-through started out slowly but quickly gained  popularity after receiving publicity on local news channels. 

 “We have been here all day and not many cars showed up at first. I was a little bummed because I had driven two hours to get here for no one to show up,” the cashier said. “That was until [the drive-through] was put on the news. After that we haven’t been able to sit down for our break, there were too many cars!”  

Due to its success, the drive-through remained open long after its set closing time of eight p.m. and continued serving customers who had been waiting in line for more than an hour. Gurnoor Bassi, a rising eighth grader at Venetia K-12 School, was one of the customers served past the closing time. 

“I went to the drive-through because I wanted to know what everyone was talking about. I went at seven p.m. thinking that would be enough time but the lines were so long. I didn’t order until 8:45 p.m.,” Bassi said.

Drive-through attendees wait in their cars for a chance to buy cotton candy, kettle corn and funnel cakes.

Despite the long line of customers, the drive-through workers continued to follow safety guidelines set by Marin County’s Public Health Department. The staff sanitized their serving areas, properly packaged all foods and beverages and wore masks and gloves throughout the event. To ensure employee safety, only people who showed up in cars and wore masks were served.

Christopher Rodriguez, a sophomore at Redwood High School had gone to the drive thru earlier that day and witnessed how seriously the safety guidelines were taken. 

“I saw people running into the line, with no mask and they got turned away because they didn’t follow the guidelines that had been set,” Rodriguez said. “I think it’s good that they did that because it keeps everyone safe.”