2012 San Diego County Fair sets attendance record, according to officials

For the fourth year in a row, the San Diego County Fair, held in Del Mar, set an all-time attendance record, according to fair officials. During the 24-day event, 1,517,508 guests enjoyed the “Out Of This World “ theme, attractions, shows, exhibits, food and rides. The previous attendance record, 1,412,113, was set in 2011. (At 24 days, the fair was open for two more days than usual this year.)

The largest one-day attendance during the 2012 Fair was 92,407 on the final day, Wednesday July 4. It was the fifth highest crowd in Fair history. The largest single-day attendance ever was 101,867 on Friday, July 3, 1998.

“We want to thank everyone in San Diego for all of their support and for coming to the 2012 San Diego County Fair because this is their Fair,” said Tim Fennell, CEO and general manager of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. “We are pleased we broke our all-time attendance record once again, making Fair history during a still-sluggish economy. Because of these challenging times, we were proud to present a venue that provided a great value for our guests. The Fair is really about the people and teamwork that run this event year after year. Thanks again to those who were able to join us for an ‘Out Of This World’ time as we could not have done it without you.”

The San Diego County Fair is the sixth largest fair in the nation and is the largest event in San Diego County. Final revenue and numbers will be available in about one week.

Preliminary numbers for the 2012 San Diego County Fair “Out Of This World”:

Food Facts (pending a final accounting, all estimated)

•Deep Fried Oreos, 60,000 sold

•Deep Fried Pineapple Rings, 20,000 sold

•Deep Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly, 15,000 sold

•Deep Fried Cereal Bars, 10,000 sold

•Belly Buster Burgers, 180,000 sold

•Deep Fried Green Beans, 1,200 sold

•Sweet Potato Tater Tots, 700 sold

•Beach Fries, 900 sold

•Meatball Sliders, 4,300 sold

•Beach Tacos, 4,800 sold

Additional Food Information:

• Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls used more than 10,000 pounds of whole-wheat cinnamon roll mix this year, and 3,000 pounds of cream cheese - that translates to 5,000 pounds of cream-cheese icing! Country Fair also brewed more than 200 pounds of coffee.

• Australian Battered Potatoes used 15,000 pounds of potatoes this year. Those potatoes were dipped into 15,000 pounds of batter, and fried in 10,500 pounds of oil. They were topped with 100 cases of cheese sauce and a whole pallet of ranch dressing!

• Bacon A-Fair sizzled up more than 250,000 pieces of bacon and sold 5,000 pieces of chocolate-covered bacon.

• The Biggie’s Meat Market (formerly Burger Joint) used 5,000 pounds of ground beef, 17,500 pounds of potatoes for curly fries, 400 gallons of gourmet sauce, a full pallet (400 gallons) of ketchup, 1,600 heads of lettuce, and 2,500 tomatoes. 10,000 pounds of The Big Rib were sold with 400 gallons of smoky, garlic zesty and spicy BBQ Sauce.

• Pink’s sold more than 25,000 hot dogs. The best sellers: Martha Stewart Dog, Doogie Howser Dog and Daytona Dog.

• Grinders sold more than 10,000 sandwiches, going through 2,500 pounds of pastrami, which is their biggest-selling sandwich by far. Grinders customers consumed 800 pounds of turkey and 400 pounds of Monterey Jack Cheese.

Top Ten Rides (Owner Company in parentheses)

Grand Wheel (RCS)

Crazy Mouse (SJS)

Wind Surf Coaster (SJS)

G-Force (RCS)

Magnum (Wood Entertainment)

Fast Trax Slide (State Fair Spectacular)

Rock-It (Demas Enterprises)

Skyride (RCS)

Alien Abduction (RCS)

Hydroslide (RCS)

Fireworks America from Lakeside designed our 4th of July Fireworks Show.

The 20-minute display consisted of:

220 2½-inch shells

395 3-inch shells

156 4-inch shells

116 5-inch shells

96 6-inch shells

22 8-inch shells

Total Aerial Shells - 1,005

Contests and Special Events Numbers

• Pies consumed at the daily Pie Eating Contest: 216

• Pieces of pie consumed at the Pie Eating Contest: 1,155

• Babies entered in the Baby Derby Contests: 21

• Participants in Three O’Clock Fun: 1,140

• Participants in the Family Look-Alike Contest: 35

• Participants in the Bubble Gum Blowing Contest: 292

• Contestants in the Boomers & Beyond Contest: 59

• Participants in the new Latin Ballroom Dance Contest: 30

• Participants in the new Cantautor Latino Contest: 17

• Cars in the Car Shows @ The Fair exhibit: 384

• National Anthem singers at Opening Ceremonies: 36

• Participants in our Flag Raising program at daily Opening Ceremonies (Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Marines and Young Marines): 1,050

• Scout troops that participated in the Flag Raising Program: 76

• Patches sold for Flag Raising program: 689

• Entertainment Applications submitted: 600

• Hours of entertainment booked on the eight stages (not including the Grandstand Stage): 2,500

• Entertainment groups booked (not including the Grandstand Stage): 500

• Number of entertainers that performed this year (not including the Grandstand Stage): 20,322

• Dance and variety group participants: 10,590

• Band members who performed: 2,321

• Entertainer parking passes collected: 10,298

• Boxes of small paper clips used for entertainer packets: 5 boxes

• Participants in the Magic Camp program: 200

• Magic shows performed: 276

• Kids who cried when they saw the costumed Fair Mascot, Roswell: 120

More than 50,000 Passport To Savings coupon books were distributed, a 75 percent increase from 2011.

Website Numbers June 1-July 4, 2012

Fair website, 1,098,567 visits, up 8.4 percent.

Fair mobile phone website, 213,001 visits, up 87.0 percent.


Of the 2012 Fair’s total estimated waste stream of 2,171 tons of material, 1,590 tons were recycled, used for alternative daily cover, turned into bio-fuel or sent to be composted. This earned the Fairgrounds an estimated $35,489 in revenue and saved the Fairgrounds an estimated $85,861 in landfill fees.

The summer of 2012 took San Diego County Fair fans “Out Of This World” to the stars, planets and beyond. Every day at the Fair will be filled with discovery and mystery of the outer limits. The Fair explored man’s history and fascination with space and space travel starting with the ancient astronomers, to the NASA program and the future of space exploration.

The 2012 San Diego County Fair dates were Friday, June 8 through Wednesday, July 4. The Fair was closed Mondays except July 2.

For more information, go to the Fair website,

The 22nd District Agricultural Association is a State of California agency that owns and operates the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Surfside Race Place, Horsepark Equestrian Center and the Del Mar Golf Center. The 22nd DAA produces five events each year: The San Diego County Fair, the Del Mar National Horse Show, Professional Bull Riding (PBR), The Scream Zone and Holiday of Lights. The Fairgrounds hosts more than 350 events annually, the largest of which is the live horse racing meet each summer, which is operated by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for the 22nd DAA and the State of California.

For more information on the Fairgrounds, visit