Fairgrounds releases more financial details of Homegrown Fun

Homegrown Fun
Fair goers take to the midway on opening day for HomeGrown Fun, a scaled-down version of the San Diego County Fair which took place June 11 through July 4 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

(Nancee E. Lewis/For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Homegrown Fun at the Del Mar Fairgrounds earned approximately $3.8 million, according to financial results that were reviewed by the fairgrounds board of directors on Sept. 14.

Rides, which were a late addition to the month-long event as COVID-19 restrictions eased, provided $1.8 million in revenue.

“We were not anticipating to have those at the onset of the budgeting process,” said Michael Sadegh, director of finance for the fairgrounds. “This was forecasted way before the restrictions were taken off back in February or March, so we did not anticipate to have rides within Homegrown Fun. As we moved forward, we decided to have a few rides and then added more to it as restrictions were taken off.”

Stronger than anticipated revenue from rides and concessions, which brought in $1.15 million, helped offset weaker than expected income from admissions, parking and merchandise. But board members and fairgrounds staff have said they received a lot of positive feedback from attendees who welcomed the return of in-person entertainment after a year of quarantine.

Homegrown Fun served as a scaled-down version of the San Diego County Fair, which was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. Fairgrounds staff previously announced that the event drew about 272,000 people before closing with a Fourth of July fireworks display.

The county fair is typically the fairgrounds’ biggest earner. Carlene Moore, CEO of the fairgrounds, said that staff doesn’t have a direct comparison between revenue from previous county fairs and this year’s Homegrown Fun. The fair is typically incorporated into the annual budget, she added, whereas this year’s event had a separate budget.

“Right now we can’t make that direct comparison,” Moore said. “I think what this really demonstrated though was just how much people were looking forward to having something to do this summer.”