San Mateo County Fair 2021: Biggest Bay Area Event Since Lockdown by Guest Contributor Elizabeth Nisperos

South San Francisco, CA June 7, 2021 by Guest Contributor Elizabeth Nisperos

San Mateo County Fair Invitation: Biggest Bay Area Event Since Lockdown


Bay Area events and businesses are slowly reopening. The San Mateo County Fair last year was cancelled due to pandemic.  The normal count in previous years was 120,000 attendees but this year it may not be that high due to health and safety guidelines. The health and safety of the public is the top priority of the event per CEO Dana Stoehr. Special guidelines are in placed to safeguard the public.

Attendees can see the usual pig races, food stalls(barbecue,funnel cakes, hotdog on a stick), concert, performances, ferris wheels , carnival rides and fun activities for adults and kids.  Agriculture, Fine Arts Galleria winners, Sewing, Quilting,STEAM inventions are on exhibition.

The fair starts opening on Saturday June 5 to Sunday June 13, 2021. It will be closed on June 6 & 7.


The 2021 theme of the San Mateo County Fair is Where Tradition Meets Innovation. The fair has been celebrating for 87 years had only two cancellations.  Free vaccinations will be offered outside the main entrance and you can get free admission plus $20 food voucher and free carnival tickets.

For admission, tickets, schedule, parking, transportation, driving directions, behavior policy inside the fair following state & health guidelines, please click on

This part is more for artist inspiration. The author participated in the Fine Arts competition Watercolor category, Fantasy Division. The Fine Arts Galleria theme is Carry the Light.

I’d never enrolled or took a class in watercolor (placing my hand on the Bible). I took oil painting classes at SF Art institute, Workshop magazine that sponsored classes, abstract art in Metropolitan museum, because I thought oil is the hardest medium. To my surprise as of my latest research, watercolor “has the reputation of being the hardest to learn of all the mediums (oil, acrylic, ink, charcoal, and pen, and pastels, watercolor)”. It’s hard to manipulate and control watercolor because it has a mind of its own.

This is my first time to submit but I knew about this county fair since two SSF residents Shirley Nichols and Elsie Pollastrini used to submit their oil paintings to the fair, and they were usually winners. Elsie Pollastrini sometimes got the “Best of Show”. Elsie, a nice Italian lady gave me materials which she no longer used, her oils looked they were done by Renaissance Old Grandmasters Her oils painting were pretty intimidating to compete with. No way was I going to submit.

But this year it’s pandemic, I might as well submit to help arts thrive in our area and for the fun and joy of painting. I submitted on evening deadline May 11. I didn’t expect to win anything; but I got email that I was a winner but no statement on placing. The Director of Fine Arts Galleria sent me two emails – a follow up congratulations and a reminder to bring your piece for submission and the second mail, an attached PDF map. Because of COVID, only winning pieces including honorable mention will be exhibited. The old rule everyone who submits is included; I like the old rules. I thought I only won honorable mention but that’s good enough. According to a professional landscape watercolorist who participates in National, international competition in Art magazines, it’s hard to place even honorable mention; he has been submitting several years and only got to top 20.

On May 29, I went to San Mateo Event Center– the gate was closed. I yelled Help. Good an angel appeared, Sgt. Daryl Chang of Execushield Security was there to open the gate, walked in front of my car, led me to Expo hall, a huge auditorium. I went to the wrong Gate 8; I was supposed to drive through Gate 5.

1st Place Award Winning Watercolor by Elizabeth Nisperos

Several staff was accepting winning submissions from different categories. The lady in one table asked for my name, looked at her clipboard list said, “Sorry your name is not on the list.” What a Big Embarrassing situation! Trying to submit a non-winner piece. I said- but I received three emails and then I said, it’s ok I’ll take my piece back to my car, I’ve been reading A course in miracles, no need to get upset. The lady said, “Wait, we’ll call the Director”, then Director Boris Boorstin came in, just as another lady from another table said,” Oh, I’ve have her name in my clipboard— Elizabeth, 1st place”. Really?? . I must heard an error. Is that right? The Director was standing beside me, I clarified again, as to the status of my place. He showed me his clipboard — my name was listed— 1st place. Good I didn’t laugh out loud since I’d never taken a watercolor class, just doing self-study. I approached the wrong table for submission.

Last June 2020 during the lockdown, I participated in June watercolor month with a word prompt every day to react by doing a watercolor painting to the word, example green , I drew a tree with money leaves. No rules or instructions, you can do whatever you want using watercolor. I experimented and played the entire month getting to know the properties of watercolor.

For this competition, an artist has to submit new paintings, so I chose watercolor for oil takes a long time to dry; The gray, neutral, beige colors are out;

‘These are the real wild primroses in my yard being serenaded by the pink supermoon’
-Elizabeth Nisperos

For 2021, the trending colors to uplift the spirits are pink, yellow, russet, aubergine. Even the bestselling nail polish is bubble gum pink. The Farmer’s Almanac states that on April 26, 2021 a pink super moon will appear. What are pink on my yard are the wild primroses that appear every spring. No need to plant or water them, they magically appear. My focal point palette was pink.

My description of piece Pink Supermoon Serenading Primroses—

“On April 26, 2021, the pink supermoon appears serenading the wild primroses in my front and backyard. On the hills are trails with castles , leading to an entrance to the sky , a portal lined with fortresses, you can find a Tesla car atop the fortress roof ready for interplanetary travel.”
You cannot really see the castles or fortresses or the car, you’ve to zoom into painting to see them.

I got a free complimentary admission Etix ticket signed Dana Stoehr, CEO & Justin Aquino, Fair Manager

Here’s a serenade to all SSF Residents to put Romance on the Menu after the Covid lockdown. By romance I mean exploring a mystery or something unknown. A lesson from lockdown: You don’t need to go Paris Mont-Martre, though I’ve been there or attend Florence Academy of Art, just paint whatever is inside your house or outside your house. Or for writers to go to Parisian cafes to write like Hemingway. Just write wherever you are.

A serenade La Vie enRose (Life in Pink) to brighten one’s outlook after the pandemic.

Listen to an old classic Louis Armstrong trumpet playing La Vie En Rose

Or listen to modern Laura and Anton



About Elizabeth Nisperos

Eliz Nisperos’ is a long time resident of South San Francisco and a lover of the arts and is a regular contributor to Everything South City. A former Commissioner of our Cultural Arts Board, Nisperos’ love of the beauty spans from the visual,written word, and song. She is an award winning Calligraphist, among many other disciplined talents.




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