This post was most recently updated on August 11th, 2020
Just what is the San Diego County Fair?
It’s a great conglomeration of people, art, concerts, rides, animals, games, food, and shows — and a lot more!
When does the Fair take place?
Every year, for about a month, starting in June. This year, it’s June 5 through July 5, 2015.
Where is the Fair located?
The Fair used to be called the Del Mar Fair because it’s located in Del Mar. A few years ago, the name was changed, but the location has not. It’s held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.,Del Mar, California — about 20 miles north of downtown San Diego.
Who goes to the Fair?
Nearly everyone will enjoy the Fair–whether you’re 2 or 92! Fair exhibits appeal to locals and tourists alike, and it’s a great way to learn more about the people who live in San Diego!
Why is there a Fair?
From the Fair’s website: “In 1880, a group of San Diegans organized an agricultural fair to bring county farmers together to share ideas, see who had the best citrus fruit, who baked the best pie, and who had the fastest horse.”
Now, the San Diego County Fair is so much more. It’s a way to see the best of San Diego on display. It’s a way to bring the community together to have fun. It also promotes learning and education through exhibits and hands-on activities. And you can also just have fun!
What Else Should I Know?
1. Every year there’s a theme for the Fair. Exhibits, shows, and decor are all focused on the theme. This year, the theme is A Fair to Remember: a Celebration of World’s Fairs and Balboa Park. It just happens to be exactly 100 years since the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, held in Balboa Park.
2. There’s a free concert nearly every night. This year, some of the featured artists include KC and The Sunshine Band, Colbie Caillat, Christina Perri, Switchfoot, Kansas, and Peter Frampton & Cheap Trick. And that’s just at the grandstand. There are other venues throughout the Fair with a wide variety of music, comedy, and entertainment. See the concert/shows schedule here. There is an additional fee for the best seats at some of these concerts, but I’ve never paid extra, and I’ve really enjoyed the concerts I’ve attended.
3. Admission prices vary from free to $15 per day for adults (chidren 6-12 and seniors are $8). Four-Dollar days are June 5,6 and 10th, and those tickets can be purchased at Albertsons/Vons stores throughout San Diego county. There’s a Best Pass Ever! pass available for only $25, which allows unlimited attendance to the Fair for all 25 days it is open. You can also enter a competitive exhibits contest and receive a one-day free admission ticket. Children 12 and under who read 10 books can receive a free admission with this completed certificate. Parking is free is you park off-site and use free shuttles to get to the Fair. See all of the discounts and special deals available on this page.
4. Fair food is famous! There is always something worth mentioning when you check out the food vendors at the San Diego County Fair. This year, you’ll find these new eats on the menu: sweet pork tacos & burritos, Cajun hushpuppies, grilled french onion soup sandwiches, S’more-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, and deep-fried slimfast bars. My personal love is the fresh gingerbread cake with whipped cream on top! One way to save money on pricy Fair food is to go on the Tuesdays the Fair is open (June 23 and 30). On those days, you can buy $2 taste-sized portions of some of your favorite Fair foods, such as corn dogs, fudge, fish tacos and cinnamon rolls. So many choices! Just ask for the “Taste of the Fair” specials.
5. New This Year
In 2015, there’s a new Fiesta Village in the Family Funville, which includes latin-themed dancing, crafts, contests, and musical performances. Because of the 100-year anniversary of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, there will be a collaboration effort between the Fair and all of the museums at Balboa Park, seen in exhibits and joint marketing events. There will also be an Asian Festival–a celebration of Asian and Pacific-Islanders cultures.
6. My favorites
- So…this is just me, but I love the woodworking gallery where you can see the most incredible furniture and works of art made of wood. Sometimes the woodcrafters are there in person giving demonstrations, too.
- I really enjoy walking through the yard and garden exhibits. Landscape artists enter contests and create elaborate yard “scenes” with all kinds of plants and accessories.
- I’m impressed that there are still youth learning about animals through local 4H clubs. You can see them at work taking care of their animals in exhibits which include sheep, cows, rabbits, llamas, alpaca, chickens, and more. And children love to walk through the animal exhibits and be close-up to the animals; it’s better than a zoo!
- I have really only touched on a small part of what goes on at the San Diego County Fair. I encourage you to check out their website to discover all the contests, special events, family fun, car shows, and exhibits that are available to you and your family.