Can you believe it's almost time again for the epic, 26-day extravaganza of fun that is the San Diego County Fair? The annual, local fair makes its grand return to the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Friday, June 2, with this year's theme taking us back to the rustic, rough-and-tumble days of the wild, wild West.
The San Diego County Fair is one of the largest annual fairs in the United States, drawing more than 1 million visitors to the grounds each year. This year is expected to be as awesome and event-filled as years past, so strap on your cowboy (or cowgirl) boots and let's get to riding through what the SDCF has to offer us this year.
Ticketing and basic information
This year's tickets are $18 for adults; $11 for seniors and kids ages 6 to 12; and free for kids under 6. Tickets are only $4 on June 2, 3 and 7 if you purchase them at Albertsons or Vons stores. Adults can also purchase the "best pass ever," which permits entrance into the fair for all 26 days, for $26.
The fair is open at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 2. It will open at 11 a.m. on weekdays and at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The last day of the fair is July 4. The fair will be closed on Mondays and a few select days throughout the month of June. To see the full schedule, visit sdfair.com.
Festivals, concerts and fun
The popular Toyota Summer Concert Series is ready to rock 'n' roll again this summer, with concerts and comedy shows galore. The series will offer a wide variety of musicians, bands, comedians and specialty shows to check out. For most shows offered in the series, admission is free with the purchase of a fair ticket. Some notable artists stopping by the San Diego County Fair include Toby Keith, Switchfoot, Jeremih, Collective Soul and Patti Labelle. Read here for more about the concert series.
Beyond music, fair-goers can also attend several festivals that will set up shop at the fairgrounds this year. Similar to the concert ticketing, if you purchase a ticket to one of the festivals or events at the fairgrounds, you will receive free fair admission that day. So, why not make a day of it? Choose from sudsy options like the Distilled Cocktail and Spirit Festival, Toast to the Coast Wine Festival, or the San Diego International Beer Festival. If festivals aren't for you, opt for one of the pairing dinners, including a farm-to-table dinner and a beer-pairing dinner.
To honor the 2017 theme there will be plenty of western-themed attractions and things to do as you plow through the fairgrounds. Try your luck at panning for gold or play a round of several old-timey games such as faro and grand hazards while on site. There will be old stagecoaches to explore and theme exhibits including, "Where the West is Fun" and a "Tall Tales of the West" story-telling session.
For those of those reading this to find out more about one of the biggest attractions at the fair, here's what you've been waiting for. Yep, fair food. This year's crazy, delicious and not-so-nutritious lineup includes a Krispy Kreme fried chicken ice cream sandwich (topped with Fruity Pebbles), a Maui cowboy spam banh mi burger, deep fried buffalo chicken ravioli, a jalepeno popper and bacon grilled cheese sandwich and more. Pro tip: Come hungry and ride fair rides beforehand. Want to learn even more about these delicious fair delicacies? Read on here.
For more information about the San Diego County Fair, visit sdfair.com.
Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar.