State Fair

No more booms: Light-carrying drones will fill the night sky at this year’s State Fair

The night sky over the California State Fair will be taking on a different kind of glow this summer as 80 LED-carrying drones replace the traditional fireworks exhibition.


The drone light show by the Great Lakes Drone Co. is “more environmentally safe, and inclusive to ... those who have sensitivities to loud explosions,” the California State Fair said in a press release.

Last summer saw the first official drone light shows in California at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield and at Intel’s Folsom campus celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary. Intel’s show featured more than 2,000 drones, with the devices mimicking fireworks, airplanes, the American flag and smatterings of stars.

Great Lakes Drone’s YouTube channel showcases videos of drones gliding into a variety of fun formations. Though the company offers several stock shows — ”Heart Show,” “History of Flight, “Patriotic Show (US)“ — the show at the California State Fair will be entirely new.

“Our team is working diligently to bring new and exciting forms of entertainment to the California State Fair,” said Cal Expo General Manager Rick Pickering in a press release. “For over 165 years, the State Fair has been a place to showcase innovation. We’re pleased to partner with Dish to bring this technology to the California State Fair to entertain families in a more inclusive way.”

Fairgoers should expect a (nonexplosive) treat. The show will take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night during the California State Fair, July 12-28. To get up close, purchase a general admission ticket. If you cannot make it, however, the drones will still be visible from up to two football fields away.

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