Fried food headlines 2010 fair

‘Taste of Fun’ theme; runs today until July 5

Attendees of this year’s San Diego County Fair will not only bake in the Southern California sun — if the fog clears out, but will also have the chance to eat fried Pop-Tarts and Klondike ice cream bars.

And for those who braved opening day on Friday, traffic was flowing smoothly into the Del Mar Fairgrounds as several hundred people waited to become the first through the gates.

A line stretched halfway to the Del Mar Arena while visitors watched Fairgrounds CEO Tim Fennell, President Barry Nussbaum and COO Becky Bartling act as chefs during the event’s opening ceremony. Their performance was in accordance with the theme for this year’s fair, which is “Taste the Fun.” That means attendees can “enjoy” deep-fried pop tarts, Klondike bars, and even plain-old butter.

The annual fair runs through July 5, and includes its usual concert performances, exhibits, carnival games and more than 80 rides.

“Culinary” highlights headline this year’s “Taste the Fun” theme for the annual summer tradition, which set a record of 1.275 million visitors last year. Fairgoers can also try a newly concocted sweet potato fry dog, followed by a dessert of funnel cake on a stick. For those who have the appetite, also new this year is the 4-pound belly buster burger, 11 inches wide with 10 slices of cheese, 30 slices of dill pickles and 5 ounces of burger sauce.

“It’s the annual fair, what the heck, you come out, you splurge and you’ve got the rest of the year to be good,” said fairgrounds Chief Executive Officer Tim Fennell of the 22-day event. “It’s a treat.”

Just do us all a favor and don’t go on any of the more than 80 available rides right after eating these. But as in the case of last year, Tuesday Taste of the Fair returns, in which attendees can try a taster portion of the fair’s fare for $2 each.

For those who can still bear the utter sight of food after that, this year’s fair will also include several cooking contests with a cash prize of $150, enough for at least a month’s supply of Tums. There will be seven contests in all, each on a different day. Entrants will compete for, among others, who can make the most creative sandwich, guacamole, pizza and deep-fried “delights.”

Speaking of fried, artist Jim Victor will spend his days at the fair this year transforming 600 pounds of butter into a sculpture depicting a fair scene. Also new this year is the performer known as Bandaloni, who manages to play a guitar, harmonica, drums and sing, all at the same time.

An interactive family-friendly “Star Trek” attraction makes its debut. It will run five times daily, every 90 minutes, starting at 1:30 p.m. Participants will have to master the intricacies of “Star Trek” as they try to defeat alien enemies. Famed artist Robert Wyland, known for painting oceanic scenes on large buildings, will paint with kids at the fair on June 16.

As usual, the fair will consist of various rides, animal interactions and several exhibits. It begins today and runs through July 5, with the exception of three Mondays: June 14, 21 and 28.

“If you like music, you’ve got to come to the fair; if you like food, you’ve got to come to the fair; if you like rides, we’ve got more than 80,” Fennell said. “If you like to shop, shop ’til you drop; if you like livestock, we’ve got them too.”

If you go
Dates: June 11-July 5
Adults 13 and older, $13
Senior citizens (ages 62 and older), $7
Children ages 6 to 12, $7 (free on Tuesdays)
Ages 5 and younger are free
Parking is $10 in the main lot. There is free parking and shuttle service available from the fairgrounds horsepark, at 14550 El Camino Real, east of Interstate 5, at the intersection of Via de la Valle and El Camino Real. It runs on weekends, as well as July 2 and 5; free parking and shuttle service will be available from Torrey Pines High School beginning at 9 a.m.

This year’s special events

Enviro Fair: June 19. Participate in “green” activities and interact with environmentally friendly vendors. Keynote speaker is TV personality and landscape designer Ahmed Hassan.

San Diego International Beer Festival: June 25 through 27. Chevrolet Del Mar Arena. Tickets range from $30 to $43, depending on when purchased and if fair admission is included. Attendees can try samples of 350 beers from 150 breweries around the world.

“Grease” movie sing-a-long: 9 p.m. June 26, Paddock Green. Sing-along of the newly restored version of “Grease.” Songs are subtitled to help the audience with lyrics.

Summerfist 2010 — Mixed Martial Arts: 4 to 6 p.m. July 3. Tickets are $30 and include fair admission and ringside seating; available at There is also pro wresting at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. July 5. Both events are on the Paddock Green.
Car shows: Woodies, muscle cars and hot rods will be displayed each day inside the arena gate from the fair’s opening until 3 p.m.

This week at the fair!
Rides, games, food, exhibits, demonstrations and more

June 11 — Opening Day
- Purina Incredible Dog Challenge: 2 to 6 p.m., Chevrolet Del Mar Arena
- Sammy Hagar and the Wabos: 7:30 p.m., Heineken Grandstand Stage
- The Scarlet Furies: 9 p.m., Coors Light Rock-On Stage

June 12 — Bluegrass Day
- Bluegrass music: 10:30 a.m. to dusk, Paddock Stage
- Purina Incredible Dog Challenge: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Chevrolet Del Mar Arena
- Paul Rodgers of Bad Company: 7:30 p.m., Heineken Grandstand Stage
- Sara Petite: 9 p.m., Coors Light Rock-On Stage

June 13 — Square Dance Day
- San Diego square and round dance groups: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. SDG&E Showcase Stage
- Soccer Day with the San Diego Sockers: YMCA matches, 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.; Sockers Clinic, 3 to 5 p.m.; game, 5 to 7:30 p.m., Chevrolet Del Mar Arena
- Los Tigres del Norte: 7:30 p.m., Heineken Grandstand Stage
- Shattered Atom: 8:30 p.m., Coors Light Rock-On Stage

June 14 — Closed

June 15 — $3 Tuesday
- Admission is $3 (instead of $13) with pre-sold tickets at Albertsons; kids ages 12 and under enter free
- Tuesday Taste of the Fair: Buy a taster’s portion of selected fair food for $2, multiple locations
- 52nd Street — A Tribute to Billy Joel: 8:30 p.m., Coors Light Rock-On Stage
- Charity Fair Horse Show: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Chevrolet Del Mar Arena
- Jeremy Camp with Steven Ybarra: 7:30 p.m., Heineken Grandstand Stage
- Wild Child (Tribute to The Doors): 9 p.m., Paddock Stage

June 16
- Charity Fair Horse Show: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Chevrolet Del Mar Arena
- Dennis DeYoung — The Music of Styx: 7:30 p.m., Heineken Grandstand Stage
- The Very: 8:30 p.m., Paddock Stage
- Foghat: 9 p.m., Paddock Stage

June 17
- Charity Fair Horse Show: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Chevrolet Del Mar Arena
- The Grass Roots: 2 p.m., Solid Gold Series; 9 p.m., Concert Series Paddock Stage
- Abrina: 8:30 p.m., Coors Light Rock-On Stage
- Donna Summer: 7:30 p.m., Heineken Grandstand Stage

June 18
- Comedy Nights @ The Fair: 9 p.m., SDG&E Showcase Stage
- Disco Freaks: 9 p.m., Coors Light Rock-On Stage
- KC and the Sunshine Band: 7:30 p.m., Heineken Grandstand Stage

Ticket deals
The “Best Pass Ever” returns again this year. Holders of this ticket have unlimited admission for all 22 days of the fair. The cost is $22, and can be bought at This does not include ride tickets.
Tuesday admission to the fair is $3 if bought at Albertsons stores through June 15. Adult tickets are also available for $2 off the regular price if bought at Albertsons.
Two-for-one admission coupons are available at San Diego County Toyota dealers.
Fairgoers can also buy discounted ride and admission ticket packages at ticketmaster. com or (800) 745-3000.

- There will be 39 rides in the Fun Zone and 41 in Kiddieland.
- Most rides will cost between three and six ride coupons, which are 75 cents each. Ride coupons are discounted when bought in bulk, as 14 coupons cost $10, 30 coupons cost $20, and 77 coupons cost $50.
- There will also be roughly 40 carnival games of skill in both locations of the fair.
- The Fun Zone opens at 11 a.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Monday, July 5. Noon other days. It closes at midnight Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday, July 4. All other nights, the Fun Zone closes at 11 p.m.
- Kiddieland opens at 11 a.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Monday, July 5. Noon other days. It closes at 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 10 p.m. all other nights.

Related posts:

  1. Summer concerts at the fair
  2. Races inspire Monday food deals, Restaurant Appreciation Day
  3. County Fair visitor count is second-highest ever
  4. Fair closes with record numbers
  5. WHEE: Slide into the 2009 San Diego County Fair

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