This stuff is scary, you guys.
Stepping into the San Diego County Fair can be described in two words: sensory overload. Not one to participate in any ride that lifts my feet off the ground, let alone spins, dips and flings upside down, I've done a respectable job at avoiding the fair over the nine years I've lived here. I know, I'm a San Diego shame.
As soon as I walked into this year's refreshed theme "Mad About the Fair," the shrieks of ride-goers pierced my ears and sent an all-too-familiar chill down my spine. Smells of roasting turkey legs, fried bacon and sugar-soaked churros made me feel simultaneously woozy and hungry (the beauty of fried foods, right?). I was led to the most daunting ride at the fair, as determined by midway coordinator Tony Guadagno, and my anxiety teased that today would probably be the day that I pass out on camera.
San Diego County Fair
Address: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
Phone: (858) 755-1161
Price: $16 adults (ages 13-61); $9 (ages 6-12 and 62 and older); free (ages five and under)
The ride of Guadagno's wicked choosing is called Rock It. It does everything a thrill-seeker craves: It spins while it swishes back and forth like a pendulum until eventually soaring all the way around, leaving passengers dangling with their feet towards the sky. It's both fast and slow; as the pendulum rocked around and my brain quickly assessed the physics of it all, there were moments I felt that I was hovering in mid-air for far too long. "This is not okaaaaay!" I yelled.
Just a couple of years old, Rock It is one of many fluorescent finds in the Fun Zone, alongside the Windstorm and the classic Zipper and Grand Wheel. You need to be 55-inches tall to ride it, and I would suggest wearing shoes that are tied up tight.
I'm just glad there were no children riding next to me. I'm not proud of how many curse words I howled. Sorry mom!
My stomach ached the entire time as I held my breath, kept one eye open and prayed to God I would live to see another day. No big life-changing moment here; I won't be riding another one anytime soon. Although, I do have a new-found respect for those who hop from one thrill to the next. I will say that the views from Rock It - if you can keep your eyes open - are mesmerizing. Go for the perspective; leave with slight nausea.
After my stomach settled back down from my throat, the second part of the dare took me over to the new California Grown Exhibit, a showcase of our state's agricultural roots. I had one goal here: to eat a bug at the bug bar. These insects are fried up and offered for samples. My little fried June bug was crunchy and flavorless, sort of like a kernel of popcorn, and probably the least gluttonous fried food you can find on the fairgrounds. This sustainable source of protein was undeniably the least dreadful part of my day, and I walked away proudly this time with an "I ate a bug at the fair" button. Score!
The San Diego County Fair is open through July 4. I dare you to try a ride that makes your heart race and check out the new California Grown Exhibit while you're there.
- I dare you to... unlock the Great Escape Room
- I dare you to... try cryotherapy
- I dare you to... go indoor skydiving
- I dare you to... meditate in a float tank
Do you have a dare for me? Send an email to michelle.dederko@... with subject line "I dare you"
Or dare me in a Tweet! @michelledederko