San Diego's favorite summertime tradition, the San Diego County Fair, returns June 3 for a 26-day run. Now in its 80th year, the fair draws more than 1 million visitors to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The attendance record was set in 2012 with 1,517,508 visitors. That makes the fair the largest annual local event and one of the 10 largest fairs in the U.S.
Here are some things you need to know:
General admission ranges from $9 to $16, but there are plenty of discounts and deals on admission. Tickets to get in on Friday, Saturday and Wednesday are only $4 and available at Albertsons or Vons stores. For $26, you can buy a Best Pass Ever, good for everyday admission, at the fairgrounds box office or online.
"Mad About the Fair" is a tribute to the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." The exhibit is a retro-futurist vision of Alice and her friends as she learns to understand the rules of life on her own terms.
• Get your taste buds ready for some "wild" food fare, like Kool-Aid Hot Wings; pizza, chicken and waffles on a stick; and Hatter's Mad Mashup Burger (pretzel bun, fresh hamburger patty, smoked bratwurst, caramelized bacon with pecans, chili sriracha mayo, bourbon sauce, lettuce, tomato and cheese, with chips or fries on top). And no, rabbit is not on the menu and will not be served!
Festivals and more
Along with animal exhibits, rides and games, and car shows, you'll find:
• Out at the Fair: This festival is a host of family-friendly activities celebrating the LGBT community. Two stages of entertainment will be held at the Paddock Stage and the Coors Light Rock On Stage. Check the fair website for the complete lineup.
• Asian Festival: Celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander cultures with music, dance, martial arts performances and ikebana (floral) displays.
• Whole Life Festival (formerly Environ Fair): An eco-friendly marketplace with products and services for your mind, body and soul.
• Monster trucks return for their traditional shows, along with Mini Dwarfs and Jr. Outlaw Racing.
On July 4, the fair will feature the Hometown Heroes parade, patriotic contests, entertainment and, of course, a fireworks display.