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. After that first fair, the county fair was held annually with a few exceptions in various county locations until 1936, when it moved to its present Del Mar home.
In 1947, the fair boasted an average attendance of 23,429 people each day. By 2008, that daily average had skyrocketed to 58,843. That’s a lot of peeps. Too many peeps for me.
One of my co-workers says that she loves the fair because she used to do the whole 4-H thing as a girl:
A county fair without animals just wouldn't be the same. You can see baby animals, farm equipment, animal shows and of course, the ever-popular Junior Livestock Auction, where San Diego County's young people auction the animals they have hand-raised during the past year.
That sounds nice, doesn't it? It summons images of Fern and the Zuckermans, country kisses and dutch apple pie.
Is this the same fair?
Food is one of the main reasons people visit the San Diego County Fair. Not only do we have the traditional "Fair fare," but we also offer some surprising upscale dining and sipping experiences.
What will be the gotta-eat-it food of the 2009 Fair?
Among the items listed as New Food this year: Deep-Fried Bread Pudding, Deep Fried Green Beans, Zucchini Weeni (hot dog inside a zucchini, then deep-fried in a special batter), Deep Fried S'mores, Zucchini Fries, Oatmeal Cookie Chicken Sandwich, Deep Fried Cheese Curds, Deep Fried Mexican Ice Cream, Chocolate Covered Bacon Strips.
Oh my, that IS surprisingly upscale!
However, once the school bus hauls off those poor, sad suckers without chaperones, my kids will hightail it out of the wholesome sector and straight into the sweaty, tattooed arms of the carnies. To the so-called fun zone. I hope they have time to knock over a bank on the way there:
Most rides require 3-6 coupons. On certain rides and attractions, the rider pays directly. At the Fair ride coupon booths, you can buy the following: Single ride coupon, 75 cents; 14 coupons, $10.00; 30 coupons, $20.00; 77 coupons, $50.00.
I recently made a shocking admission on facebook, one that I suspected would be met with repugnance and ridicule:
“Am I the only person on this earth who loathes the county fair? All those people, all that grease - give me the beach any day. I am, however, a fan of the carnies.”
But I don't call them my peeps for nothing:
Kendra said -“I’m a closet fair hater!”
Keith agreed - “I'm with you...I HATE the fair! Traffic, MONEY, horrid-sickening food...I boycott it and loathe it!”
Rita stipulated - “I like small fairs, the little town ones. Not a big fan of the big fairs though.”
Mary Ann asked - “They still have county fairs?”
Ellie said - “Aw, thanks Jacquie. I appreciate your vote for my kind.”
Johanna lamented - “hate it-the heat, the lines, the $...”
Of course, a few
weirdos fair affectionados eventually came out of the woodwork:
Mary countered - "I LOVE the Fair!!!!!!!!!!! Apparantly (I love) everything you all hate! Hilarious people-watching, any kind of food-on-a-stick, rides you hope won't come apart while you're on them, carny's...what's not to love!?"
Bridget echoed - "I LOVE the fair! So much grease, heat, wacky gizmos, creepy people, shaky rides, grease, animals, $10.00 hot dogs, corn on a stick, funnel cakes, and more grease!!! What could be better?"
Amy simply said - "fried s'mores"
Mary, Bridget, and Amy -I hope you and the other 65,000 fans of the fair enjoy it this year, and for many years to come. If you're looking for me, I'll be the one enjoying the extra space at the beach!