H​ome Grown Fun!

In 2020, due to COVID-19, the San Diego County Fair had to be cancelled but, after a two-year interruption, COVID restrictions are being lifted and a somewhat scaled-back version of the fair has returned, just in time to welcome locals and out-of-state visitors in 2021.

This year’s theme is “Home•Grown•Fun.” You’ll find plenty of live entertainment, fair food, rides, shopping and more.

T​he official ribbon cutting ceremony, to open the San Diego County Fair. Welcome back!

A​t the Del Mar Fairgrounds

Of course, this just would not be the San Diego County Fair without plenty of live animals. Returning to entertain young and old alike are the exciting “Swifty Swine Racing Pigs.”

Y​es, that is a costume pig snout.

M​y favorite photo from the fair!

Nearby are the agile and talented “Extreme Dogs,” racing through the obstacle course and leaping into the air and over the water to grab a flying disc with their teeth.

“E​xtreme Dogs”

Pacific Animal Productions introduces us to a variety of wildlife, including an owl, tarantula and a hedgehog, that you can see rolled into a ball.

Before, during and after all this fun, there is plenty of great fair food available to recharge your energy supply. Tempting your taste buds will be Australian Battered Potatoes, corn on the cob, Giant Smoked Turkey Legs, dippin’ dots, Chicken Charlie’s totally fried frog legs and Buffalo Chicken Cones, and so much more.

Ride the giant Ferris Wheel, where you will be able to enjoy views not only of the fair, but also of the Pacific Ocean and inland.

There is a colorful, whimsical carousel and many more family-friendly rides.

There’s even a live pony ride!

Another fair favorite is the shopping. Exhibit Hall, Seaside Pavilion and Bing Crosby Hall are packed full of everything from convenient kitchen gadgets and home décor items, to spas, Russian nesting dolls, wooden carvings, movies on DVDs and so much more.

In Agri-Land, you’ll discover kid-sized tractors and the Hollandia Dairy’s daily milking demonstrations, to show kids (and yourself) where the milk in the fridge comes from. Continue your discovery at home, by planting the seed that you can take with you, where it will turn into a radish, head of lettuce, herb or sunflower.

As in years past the fair has beautifully crafted gardens, complete with dioramas and scale model trains, brought to you by engineers from the San Diego Garden Railway Society. You’ll also see an exhibition of giant animated creatures!

This reminds me of a very old TV show called “Land of the Giants.”

You will marvel at the amazing ability of a juggler, as he wheels around the fairgrounds balancing atop his unicycle.

Godfrey the Magician is back once again to dazzle everyone with his magic tricks and sleight of hand.

G​odfrey the Magician

Something else that you can always count on at the fair is live music. The “Jackstraws” surf band entertains with their own brand of home grown fun. They have served as the unofficial greeters of the San Diego County Fair for over a dozen years. Look for them between 11am and 3pm.

T​he “Jackstraws” surf band

But that’s not all. In addition to a variety of local musicians at the fair’s West Gate, from 4 to 8pm check out the instrumental group “Juice Box,” as they perform on drums, keyboard, guitar and bass. Their repertoire ranges from Jimmy Hendrix to Herbie Hancock, funk, soul and jazz.

What would a county fair be without contests? On the Home•Grown•Fun Stage, daily contests will include bubble gum blowing, corn husking (it’s not as easy as it looks. Trust me on that!), something called “Upcycled Aprons” and Patriotic Cupcakes.

Demonstrations on the Home•Grown•Fun Stage include photography, floral arrangement and other hobbies.

Don’t miss the Paddock Tavern, where you will be able to make a crafty project to take home with Gather by Charity Wings.

Toyota and General Motors have displays of their new vehicles, as well as cool free gifts.

Toyota exhibit at the fair

G​eneral Motors exhibit at the fair

“Home•Grown•Fun” runs 11AM – 9PM (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) through the Fourth of July, capping off the fun with a special Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza.

The fair is an excellent value for the whole family. Limited admission tickets are only $10 per person, ages six and older, and a discount offer is available. Due to COVID restrictions, the tickets and parking may only be purchased online, in advance.

S​ave time, money and the hassle of parking with a round-trip FUN Tripper fare on NCTD’s COASTER, SPRINTER or BREEZE bus — only $12 INCLUDING Fair admission!


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Jan Wagner

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