New San Diego County Fair website debuted

Russ Penniman, board president of the 22nd District Agricultural Association.
Russ Penniman, board president of the 22nd District Agricultural Association.
(Kristina Houck)

A new website meant to convey the fun and excitement of attending the San Diego County Fair was officially unveiled Jan. 3 at a meeting of the board that oversees the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The state-owned fairgrounds is run by an agency, the 22nd District Agricultural Association, whose board members are appointed by the California governor.

Adam Richardson, of the fairgrounds marketing department, said the new website is “high on experience, low on great walls of text.”

The revamped site, at, is dominated by large photos of scenes from past fairs, and simplified to such clickable topics as participating in exhibits or performances, planning a visit, and what to see - which Richardson described as “the meat of the site.”

The new website will work with a companion smart-phone app to tailor a visitor’s experience, Richardson said. For example, the app will use GPS to let visitors know where and when attractions can be found, from rides to animals to concerts.

“It’s going to be a very personal experience,” Richardson said.

Fair officials will also have the ability to highlight featured events, such as concerts, when they want to bolster ticket sales, Richardson said.

Officials delayed the website rollout last month after local Indian groups wrote to the district, saying that the fair’s 2017 theme, “How the West was Fun,” was offensive to Native Americans. The theme was a play on the phrase, “how the West was won,” which was also the title of a 1962 film.

But in letters to the 22nd DAA, tribal leaders said the theme was insensitive to the murderous attacks inflicted on Indians during the 1800s.

Fairgrounds officials then met with tribal leaders and agreed on a new theme: “Where the West is Fun.” The website was then updated to reflect the changed wording.

The 22nd DAA said it will work with local tribal officials to include accurate Native American history in fair exhibits. The 2017 San Diego County Fair runs from June 2 through July 4.