It’ll be cotton candy and corner kicks for FC Republic fans this month. Tickets to Republic matches at Bonney Field will double as California State Fair entrance passes.
Soccer fans, in fact, will use State Fair entrances and stroll through the fair’s carnival midway area to get to the new stadium, which sits inside the Cal Expo grounds. It’s a marketing convergence that has both team and State Fair officials pleased.
“We like to say the team’s ‘Fun Zone’ has expanded,” said Republic spokeswoman Erika Bjork. “Now, if they want, they can get a funnel cake or Jack Daniel’s churro, and have a chance to stay and enjoy fireworks.”
State Fair spokeswoman Jennifer Castleberry says it makes sense to provide the soccer team’s 8,000 attendees free access to the fair. Many of them are young professionals who may have attended the fair in their youth, but haven’t been back for years. “We’re excited there are going to be five game (nights),” she said. “That provides exposure to the fair for folks who may not have been there before.”
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Fairgoers will not be allowed into soccer games unless they have a soccer ticket. But Bjork said the presence of tens of thousands of fairgoers walking past Bonney Field daily should provide a public relations boost for the team. The State Fair’s historic elevated monorail ride will circle above Bonney Field. “We joke those are the best seats in the house.”
It also could mean more congested parking. Team and fair officials are suggesting soccer fans show up earlier than usual for games, in case they have to park farther from the entrance than normal. Soccer fans can use any entrance to Cal Expo’s parking lots, but the west gate is the closest to the soccer stadium. Parking prices for the fair, at $10, are the same as for typical Bonney Field soccer matches. Fans will be allowed to use an exit route on the far west side of the Cal Expo site under Business 80 onto Tribute Road after games.
The team’s five matches during the fair will be held in the evening. They take place on July 17, 19, 21, 25 and 27. For information, go to www.bonneyfield.com.
The annual State Fair opens Friday and runs through July 27. General admission is $12.