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By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Leon Thompson and Miriam Raftery

Mayan Avitable, Nadin Abbott, and Serena Scaglione also contributed to this report

June 10, 2012 (San Diego County) – It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. So we took a team of our reporters and photographers to a media night preview of the San Diego County Fair at Del Mar, which opened yesterday.  We watched bungee jumpers, an acrobatic dog, and 4-H kids with pigs and goats. We savored our fill of fair food. Plus we met up with some East County participants--including Chief Don Butz and the Viejas firefighters, who showed off the shark-toothed, souped-up car they will be driving in the demolition derby on June 16.

Here are our helpful hints and highlights for your fair-going enjoyment this season:  

Cheers! The San Diego International Beer Festival will be held at the fair June 22-24.  Wine lovers can sample local wines daily at 4 and 5 p.m. in the San Diego Pavilion; tastings provided by the San Diego County Vintners Association. A summer concert series in the grandstands includes talent ranging from country music’s Kenny Loggins to Grand Funk Railroad.

At “Area Fifty Fun” where space and sci fi enthusiasts will find space pop culture, an out-of-this world learning lab and “alien crash site.”  Interactive exhibits simulate walking on the moon and viewing another galaxy.   On the 4th of July, the celebration will include a hometown heroes parade and of course, fireworks. 

A Kids Festival will be held June 30, the same date as a Junior Livestock Auction.  Animal shows include the Doggies of the Wild West Show, Turkey Stampede, World of Horses and the ever-popular Swifty Swine Racing Pigs. 

As always, the fair features two midways—the Fun Zone with rides for thrill seekers and a Kiddieland for younger fair-goers--and of course, carnival games!

Youngsters can view livestock up close in the paddock areas.  Also enjoy exhibits ranging from garden shows to crafts, arts and photography exhibitions, while enjoying free live entertainment throughout the fairgrounds, from music to magicians.  

Living out every kid’s dream for all the free fair food you can eat, our team of hungry eaters sampled deep fried everything (though the fried chocolate bacon wasn’t available for press – try it if you dare), along with grilled corn and my personal fairgrounds favorite, frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and rolled in candy sprinkles. 

I passed on the frog-legs and boiled lobsters –delicacies many lined up to savor.  Looking for something healthy? Try the Greek salad or fruit smoothies.

We shopped, strolled, slurped and rolled our way through the fairgrounds—trying out wares such as zebra toy rides to “scarfette” scarves with pockets. 

HINT:  Pick up a “Passport to Savings” booklet for $5 on sale at the fair to save lots of money on everything from fair food to merchandise, as well as some attractions outside the fairgrounds such as Belmont Park, Knotts Soak City and Legoland.

The fair runs through July 8 and is open Tuesday-Friday starting at 11 a.m., weekends and July 4 at 10 a.m.  The fair is closed Mondays, except July 2. 

For more information, visit www.SDFair.com.   


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