AutoMatters+: Motorsports & Much More at the 2015 San Diego County Fair


This year’s theme for the San Diego County Fair was “A Fair to Remember,” in celebration of the world’s fairs and especially the 100th anniversary of Balboa Park’s Panama-California International Exposition. The fair’s official exhibit was called “It All Started With A Fair.”

As is the tradition, each day different clubs participated in a car show at the fair, gathering as a group and then driving onto the fairgrounds. Drivers paused briefly while a photo was taken of their vehicles, and then they parked in the car show area, which was centrally located on the fairgrounds. After that, everyone spent the next few hours enjoying the fair.

Upon their return in the mid-afternoon, each entrant was presented with a souvenir photo of their vehicle, nicely mounted on a thick piece of foam-core board. The entrant whose vehicle received the most votes was awarded the People’s Choice prize.

Whether you go to check out the cool cars and trucks, or perhaps enter your own, it is a great way to enjoy a day at the fair. Participants receive free admission and the best parking on the fairgrounds!

Fairgoers enjoyed two bustling, colorful midways. One was geared to the little ones and their families, and was located in the infield’s Family Funville. There were also family-friendly stage shows, exhibits, a large garden filled with vegetables, and a stable that contained many breeds of horses.

The San Diego County Vintners Association hosted free daily wine tastings in the infield’s San Diego Pavilion, along with entertaining commentary by Sam Bass. As is another fair tradition, we each got to keep our wine glasses, which were embossed with the fair’s theme logo. I have been collecting these great souvenirs for many years. Perhaps I’ll enter them as a “Home & Hobby” collection next year.

Newly relocated to the infield this year was Fiesta Village. Looking much like a festive Mexican village, its colorful little shops were filled with beautiful, handmade Mexican jewelry, artwork, and crafts. Inside each were artisans who traveled to San Diego from their villages in Mexico especially to be in our fair. Their skills are passed on from generation to generation.

The kids loved the livestock barns, where they could interact with all sorts of farm animals. There were cute and cuddly bunny rabbits, cattle, sheep, pigs, and more.

Speaking of pigs, the ever-popular “Swifty Swine” pig races were back again this year. Cheering race fans filled the grandstands.

No fair would be complete without “fair food.” Irresistible, diet-busting temptations included a triple-decker cheeseburger. Taking the place of the bun was a glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut.

Inside the grandstand buildings, competitive exhibits included the Exhibition of Photography, Fine Art Show, Home and Hobby, Student Showcase, and Design in Wood.

One large room contained gems, minerals and jewelry. It featured an incredible dinner-table spread made up of rocks that looked like food. These included faux green peas, baked potatoes with butter, sliced roast beef, rice, pie, and more. Some of it really did look good enough to eat, and it made me hungry!

In other buildings, row after row of vendors were selling everything from pots and pans to mattresses. Elsewhere were amazing gardens, bonsai trees, exotic fruits and beautiful flowers.

Musicians performed, and at night there were shows on the grandstand stage.

Thrilling motorsports competitions were held in the Del Mar Arena. Fans enjoyed monster truck racing and freestyle competitions, vintage motocross races, and other events — all of which were included with their fair admission.

The driver of the “Wild Flower” monster truck was Rosalee Ramer — daughter of Kelvin Ramer (driver of “Time Flys”). She is fearless and holds the record for being the world’s youngest professional female monster truck driver. In competition she rolled her truck once, but walked away unharmed and returned later to compete again.

A freak accident — and by far the worst in the 15-year history of the vintage motorcycle group — happened during the final races on the Fourth of July. Frank Maney, a 52-year-old motocross rider, was thrown from his motorcycle after taking a jump and having a bad landing.

He wound up in a hospital suffering from 10 broken ribs, a cracked sternum, a collapsed lung and a broken thumb. He is tough, though, and the last I heard he was doing fine.

My final day at the fair concluded with the spectacular Fourth of July fireworks show.

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Copyright © 2015 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters+ #392