AutoMatters: Car Shows & Racing at the San Diego County Fair

Car Show at the Fair.
Car Show at the Fair.

By Jan. R. Wagner

Each year car clubs participate in Car Shows at the Fair, competitive events which feature their particular brand, model or type of automobile. This particular day the cars belonged to members of the Mustang Club of San Diego.

Early in the morning, we gathered off-site in a nearby shopping center parking lot, eager to spend a fun day at the fair. Then, when everyone was ready, we lined up our cars and formed a parade of Mustangs as we drove over to the fairgrounds.

Souvenir car show photo.

As our cars emerged from the tunnel that led to the car show area, we paused briefly while each of our cars was photographed (you’ll see why later). Then we were directed to park in spots that would soon be roped off. The privilege of parking within the gates of the fair, under the watchful eyes of fair staffers, is very cool.

Fans at Swifty Swine pig race.

Before leaving our cars and heading off to enjoy the fair, we attended a brief drivers’ meeting, where we were asked to fill out information cards about our particular cars. The cards were numbered to identify our cars, since this was a competitive event for the People’s Choice Award. Then, until mid-afternoon, fairgoers were encouraged to take a ballot and vote for their favorite cars.

At around 3PM, when we all returned to claim our vehicles, the winner was announced. A first place prize was awarded and everyone who had entered the car show received a large souvenir photo (taken earlier) of them in their car, complete with the “2013 Game On!” fair logo and their name.

Fans at Wild West Turkey Stampede race.

I encourage you to join a car club, if you do not already belong to one (or several), and get a group together to participate in next year’s Car Shows at the Fair. It’s a whole lot of fun and you will even get free admission to the fair.

Bumper cars action.

There was also plenty of racing action that day, county fair style. Nearby, racing fans young and old gathered in grandstands overlooking an oval racetrack. There were checkered flags and a track announcer, to call out the action. A vendor working the enthusiastic crowd was doing a brisk business selling racing souvenirs: plastic pig snouts! This was going to be a “Swifty Swine” pig race.

Soon, the eager little racers emerged from out of the shadows. Each pig was introduced by an appropriately racy name.

Then they were off and running, amidst the shrill sounds of squealing tires – sorry, pig squeals. Just like in a NASCAR race, the competitive porkers jockeyed for position, rubbing fenders – okay, shoulders, leaving a trail of dust in their wake. Back and forth they raced. Who would win? The crowd went wild. The winner crossed the line, the crowd cheered and it was all over.

Kids enjoying turkey race.

Later in the day, in the infield area, an overflow crowd gathered in bleachers overlooking yet another oval racetrack. As race time approached, it was standing room only.



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