02075-20220612 San Diego County Fair-Heroes Reunite-Firefighter Demolition Derby + Fire & Safety Expo-audio-R3

2022 San Diego County Fair — HEROES REUNITE!

Updated July 18, 2022, with links to TWO NEW VIDEOS on the “AutoMatters & More” YouTube Channel:

Demolition Derby VIDEO: https://youtu.be/kUIGfIMJA8A

Monster Trucks VIDEO: https://youtu.be/mXJ5wZOabJY

As we emerged from the worst of COVID-19, the San Diego County Fair returned to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. There was so much to see and do that it was truly impossible to take in everything in just one day.

My plan for my first day’s visit to the Fair was to scout the fairgrounds to get a thorough overview but I did not even manage to do that because, almost immediately, I learned that I’d arrived on a day filled with special activities in the Del Mar Arena.

The Fire and Safety Expo featured free CPR training…

… safety education — including a two-story, kid’s SAFETY HOUSE, complete with smoke effects, that taught kids what they should do in case of a fire in their home…

… a demonstration of a fire department extinguishing a vehicle fire…

… a vehicle extrication demonstration using the Jaws of Life…

… a parade of fire trucks, and more.

The highlight of the day’s entertainment for motorsports fans was an action-packed, crash-filled, DEMOLITION DERBY that benefitted the Burn Institute. Here is the link to the video on the “AutoMatters & More” YouTube channel:

Encinitas Fire Department paramedic and firefighter Donnie Butz won that (he’s the one in the red driving suit), after he and his fellow firefighters did some serious beating and banging with a sledgehammer on his 1976 Chrysler Cordoba, to ‘repair’ the crash damage suffered before the final round.

Donnie Butz. paramedic and firefighter, Encinitas Fire Department & his 1976 Chrysler Cordoba

The theme of this year’s Fair was “HEROES REUNITE!” where superheroes were the stars. As they said, “You don’t need a cape to be a hero. This year, the 2022 San Diego County Fair honored Community Heroes, ordinary people who take extraordinary measures to make the world a better place. They are mentors, volunteers and do-gooders; veterans, nurses, first responders, doctors, teachers, caregivers and people just like YOU!” Their real-life stories, as told on the Community Heroes wall in the Hall of Heroes exhibit, were truly inspirational.

Also on display were pop culture superheroes from comic books (available for purchase) and the movies.

As you would expect in a County Fair, there were competitive exhibits galore. Most were made by individuals right here in our community. Their masterful, unique creations included woodworking, photography, fine art, collections, cakes and baked goods, flowers and gardens, and so much more.

Entertainment ranged from buskers roaming the Fair to star-studded, top-tier talent that included country’s Chris Young and Sam Hunt, rockers John Fogerty, the Goo Goo Dolls and Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias in the Toyota Summer Concert Series. Every night in The Paddock, Fair goers listened and danced to awesome tribute bands on-stage in the. The Albertsons/Vons Funville Stage hosted the best in community entertainment.

The Flying Royals’ trapeze performances were death-defying.

Of course, what would the San Diego County Fair be without the Swifty Swine Racing Pigs?! Yes, they were back in all of their glory, racing in front of packed grandstands.

Also making their return to the Fair were the popular Extreme Dogs.

Agricultural activities included a cow milking demonstration.

Livestock included everything from “goats to guinea pigs” in the Chevy Livestock Barn.

There were plenty of opportunities for shopping at the Fair, with gadgets and gizmos, jewelry, apparel, kitchen utensils, tools, mattresses and hot tubs for sale, and more.

Over at the two Midways were a dazzling array of rides and games of chance.

Many happy Fairgoers could be seen carrying huge stuffed animals.

For the truly brave (or crazy), the Human Slingshot Experience was back. Needless to say, I most definitely did NOT try that! I limited my participation in that experience to taking pictures of it.

Also returning to the Fair this year, in its traditional final week of the Fair, were exciting motorsports that included Tuff Trucks, Beach Buggy Racing, Jr. Outlaw Sprints, Mini Dwarf and Lawn Mower Racing…


as you’ll see in this video on the “AutoMatters & More” YouTube Channel:

Last, but certainly not least, what would the Fair be without Fair food? There were choices galore to satisfy every taste and appetite.

My favorite choice for dinner was Eddie’s Asian Inspired Cuisine. I had the Orange Chicken and Beef Broccoli. It was delicious. Unfortunately, when I asked where their brick & mortar restaurant is, I think they said Fresno, which is far, far away.

There were new things added to see and do every day of the San Diego County Fair, which rans from June 8 to July 4 (closed Mondays and Tuesday, except for Independence Day — the Fourth of July). Visit the San Diego County Fair website at https://sdfair.com.

Meg Canilang, chalk artist

To explore a wide variety of content dating back to 2002, with the most photos and the latest text, visit “AutoMatters & More” at https://automatters.net. Search by title or topic in the Search Bar in the middle of the Home Page, or click on the blue ‘years’ boxes and browse.

Copyright © 2022 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #746r2

Jan Wagner


  1. Alberto on July 19, 2022 at 10:10 pm

    AutoMatters Jan great coverage as usual. Also, great to see the County Fair is back.
    And the San Diego Fair is one of the best out there!

    • Jan Wagner on July 20, 2022 at 5:07 am

      Thank you. Next up, San Diego Comic-Con — this week!


  2. David Sperry on July 18, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    Jan, just an observation that might explain the low viewership of the Demolition Derby and Monster Truck videos. There are so many excellent photos to scroll down through, the reader might not distinguish between a regular photograph and a video. Maybe the video should be larger or with a bolder frame to distinguish it from a regular photo.

    • Jan Wagner on July 19, 2022 at 7:05 am

      That’s a good point. I will try to figure out how to do that, or something similar.

  3. David Sperry on July 18, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    I loved the firefighters with the sledgehammer. They sure got a workout. I think you called it “repairing” the car.

    • Jan Wagner on July 18, 2022 at 10:49 pm

      He won the race. Maybe that’s what the dealerships should do to make cars run better! LOL.

  4. David Sperry on July 18, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    Jan, great narration and super action photos. Do you know that there are more than 3000 counties in the USA, most with County Fairs? San Diego has to be one of the best. I loved Demolition Derbies as a youngster. They are as (North) American as apple pie and ice cream, and were held outside Halifax NS at the Sackville Racetrack. Great video.. the crowd goes wild with every crash!

    We lived in Puerto Rico when Monster Trucks became the rage, and my young son and I went to a few shows. It was so much fun to see them bouncing and rolling over. They are so impressive with those gigantic wheels!

    • Jan Wagner on July 18, 2022 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks for the comment, David,
      I don’t think that I ever saw Monster Trucks perform live when I lived in Canada. That was several decades ago.
      This time around the Monster Trucks did not have any rollovers like they did last time. Here is a link to one of my columns with some of those: https://automatters.net/cars-trucks-so-much-more-mazda-mx-5-miata-at-oz-some-san-diego-county-fair/
      Alternatively, you can do what I did and enter monster trucks in the search bar in the middle of the “AutoMatters & More” Home Page.
      What did you think of the firefighters in the video taking turns using a sledgehammer to get what would be the winning car ready for the final round of the Demolition Derby?

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