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San Diego County Fair - 2008


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  • Trip Report San Diego County Fair - 2008

    It had been around five years since Rixter and I had gone to the San Diego County Fair. Not because we didn't enjoy the fair, but summer is the busiest time of the year at our little souvenir store, and despite the fact that we do still get days off, they have always been booked with other activities the last few years.

    Most of the time, we manage to run errands and waste time, so our arrival time at the fair is early afternoon. That leads to parking in a dirt lot, east of the freeway, which has a walk time not unlike that from Mickey and Friends to the entrance of Disneyland. This year, we arrived just after the 10 am opening time, and found ourselves with a parking space just steps from the ticket booths.

    The line to purchase tickets was huge, but thanks to the folks they had directing guests to ticket sellers, it moved right along.

    Tickets in hand, we then faced the line to get in to the grounds. Here's a tip: consider going to the fair on any day except for the day all children are admitted for free. Welcome to Kid's Day at the Fair! Which means that every group charged with caring for children carted them off to see livestock and deep fried foods.

    While the secondary line moved pretty well, we soon saw the hold up. We had to go through a security check much akin to that of an airport. All our metal items went in the tiniest of baskets, and we had to walk through these:

    Rixter passed with flying colors . . . I had to go through again, then show them my belt buckle, to which the security lady said, "It's his belt buckle." waving me through.

    Here's the stunning entry to the fair . . . the build quality and design was not unlike something I would make in Jr. High shop class. I got a "D" in shop.

    And the theme this year (which we'll mention again later):

    Signage was great, making all our "must sees" easy to find.

    Just inside the entrance, we saw this, which made us smile.

    And, a few steps later, Rixter sought relief in one of these.

    We decided to hit the exhibit halls first, since we are big fans of things fast talking people sell you. We still have a shower head, the best knives we've ever owned (Quikut), the handiest kitchen slicer/dicer (V-Slicer), and those cloths that look like a chamois, but which I could never get to absorb any liquids. The first hall we went into looked more like Spa-World. I swear there must have bee 2 acres of spas. Most of them sporting fancy car radios for your entertainment, LED lights to bedazzle you, and enough jets to power a 747.

    We also ran into this handy device. Our only question is, where do you insert the baby?

    Also this guy, who was promoting solar energy. We didn't take a brochure, just a picture. I just liked his attitude. I should be more like him.

    We gots your special effects! Top that, imagineers!

    We both bought wallets, exciting guys that we are.

    The Del Mar Fairgrounds are beautiful, with most of the buildings, these days, looking more like they belong at a local country club. Even the older buildings have been well maintained, and the landscaping is first rate.

    The beautiful grandstands.

    And, a close-up of the seating.

    Next, we headed to the infield, that part of the venue inside the race track. Mostly kiddie rides, and food, including the world's longest BBQ . . . over 100 feet long. That's it up there. It would appear that they were actually grilling meats and veggies on smaller grills, down at ground level.

    Place your order here.

    It's not easy to decide.

    And, of course, lots and lots of turkey legs.

    Which were just a few feet away from this.

    Yup, turkey races. Heaven help the losers.

    A tribute to our thousands of local military folks.

    And, just like Disneyland in the early days, we, too, have a Kohler Bathroom of the Future. Note the sign. Apparently in the future, handicap access will not exist. That's not exactly progress.

    There were some other things that reminded us of Disneyland. This perky little mouse,

    Was leading a flying pack of elephants.

    Could we have somehow been transported to the Happiest Place on Earth? Uh, no. "Jumbo", not "Dumbo", and apparently they are jumping, not flying.

    But, wait. It's happening again. Surely this ride must be in Anaheim!

    And this one!

    Where's a Disney attorney when you need one?

    This lazy river kiddie ride was cute.

    As was this one.

    There were several walk-throughs, including this one with the two lovely ladies on the right, which remind us of a recent bachelor party we attended. Except those ladies weren't women, and we, for sure, were not at a county fair.

    Still, in all, I'm pretty sure it's the same gals.

    Since I was carrying the good camera, somebody had to go on the sky ride to catch a few shots. It would have to be me, even though I'm not known for enjoying rides that involve potential danger and/or thrills, because Rixter can't look off the second-story balcony of a motel without getting weak in the knees. So, up, up I went.

    It's possible that the safety restraints in Del Mar, are not quite as well-engineered as those in Anaheim.

    A little commerce going on below.

    A bit of eating. Were we supposed to wear matching outfits, because it seemed that most parties were.

    A couple of views of the road to the midway and the beautiful ocean beyond.

    Is there a better sight at the end of a scary ride that this guy?

    The complicated and thoroughly modern mechanism that held my life in its grip.

    A few shots from the fun zone, just for those of you who insist that climbing aboard rides, trucked from town-to-town, assembled and reassembled on a weekly basis, which thrust you 15 stories in the air, make for a fun experience.

    Does this ride remind any of you of the "Eureka" parade that graced DCA in its early years?

    The animatronics were stunning.

    The artwork, world-class. Hey, don't we have a club in gold for this?

    But there was no question it was colorful, and there were fun sights at every turn.

    OK, so some of you might assume that two guys like us, just might be planning to sample some of the food.

    There certainly are lots of choices, in this case, at a single booth.

    Food booths have come a long way. Not only were most of them beautifully maintained, several had large electronic signs that rival Las Vegas.

    Not sure where their name came from. They were just serving large sandwiches. Not that large, though. And, it couldn't be a reference to the customer's buns, because they were mostly way beyond 10 pounds.

    Love them Aussies, but we weren't up for a bucket of anything.

    Here's what we settled on. I got a foot-long corn dog. The employee took great pains to explain that it wasn't actually a hot dog, but a sausage inside. Works for me.

    Rick got a a plate from a restaurant, he loves. Fair, after fair. Ain't broken, dig in!

    And our shaded seating.

    That's all we ate. Honest! No deep-fried twinkies, no mega cinnamon rolls, no ice cream. Such restraint!

    Well, that's about it. We had a wonderful time at the fair. It was bright, clean, colorful, and full of things to do and see!

    There's just one last thing. You know that "Summer of Sports" theme at the beginning of our report? Well, as we were leaving, we saw some truly bad judgement. For more than three decades, the San Diego County fair had a real live greeter, named Don Diego, who celebrated the heritage and traditions of this area. He was played by an actor named, Tommy Hernandez, and was beloved by generations of fair attendees. In 1984, Tommy died of leukemia, and the Fair Board correctly concluded that he could not be replaced. They founded the Don Diego Fund in his honor, and a statue was commissioned to stand at the entrance to the fair, forever welcoming future guests. You can read more about Tommy here:

    This year, some committee decided it would be a good idea to dress Don Diego up in garb that reflected the theme. We'll let the picture speak to the wisdom of that decision.

    Last edited by MickeyMaxx; 06-27-2008, 11:17 PM. Reason: Spelling.
    "Not Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Astor together could have
    raised money enough to buy a quarter share in my little dog."

    � Ernest Thompson Seton

  • #2
    Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

    What fun! Thanks for sharing your day at the fair with us I have to admit last year at the OC Fair Grumpy4, SusieP and I got some garlic bread from the "Home of the 10lb bun" It was soooo good!

    Delta Mu Chi Alpha ΔΜΧΑ


    • #3
      Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

      Ah.... what great pictures. Its been YEARS since I've been to a County before deep fried twinkies were even invented! Brings back memories!

      And the last picture... just... sad.

      Help me get more security in Pingvinivlle! Click here!

      Originally posted by AGhostFromThePast
      all you need to know about the mommy stick is.. out of all the bad things that could happen to you... it's right between wetting yourself and death.


      • #4
        Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

        Ok, that statute looks so wrong
        Looks like a fun trip! Great pictures!!
        Good morning, son
        In twenty years from now
        Maybe we'll both sit down and have a few beers
        And I can tell you 'bout today
        And how I picked you up and everything changed
        It was pain
        Sunny days and rain
        I knew you'd feel the same things...



        • #5
          Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

          These kinds of things are great fun and a great way to support your community. And I hear ya on the restraint with the food...some of those things are the worst you can devour.

          THere might be something Freudian going on with the corn dog as well!

          And you are right about dressing up the statue. Class is not something that county fairs have, that's for sure.

          Thanks for sharing.

          husband, petowner, wordsmith, imagineer, martialist, playwright, traveller, ardent, wit, critic, barista, Taoist, superhero, fortuneteller, reader, fidget, teacher, dreamer, author, blogger, ghosthunter, voter, patient, bear, gourmand, Floridian, friend


          • #6
            Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

            Originally posted by NeverNeverland View Post
            Ok, that statute looks so wrong
            Looks like a fun trip! Great pictures!!

            I agree on the statue..what a disgrace to dress up a statue to fit a theme!!

            The food stands look super bright!!!!

            Thanks for sharing the pics and TR!!
            Originally posted by PEZZ Lightyear
            Try the Hello Te-Kitty-la.


            • #7
              Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

              I haven't been to the San Diego Fair since probably 2003 when I was stationed down there. OC Fair I went to a couple years back... in both cases taking advantage of the "First Day only a $1" deal. It was always crowded... but for a buck you couldn't beat it. I especially like the shot of the photo booths. At the OC Fair there is a picture of my wife and I, along with 3 kids, all in one photo booth (#4 wasn't even a thought at the time). The guy running it said he usually stops a group at 3, but the kids were so adorable that he wanted to see the picture... so 5, 2 adults and 3 kids, all in one picture. If I find it I will scan it in.

              Another wonderful memory is the piglet races. No clue why, but those are usually hysterical. The kids always love the petting zoo, and we've taken them on a couple of the smaller rides. The organization that runs the Elephant ride "Have Trunk Will Travel" actually runs at the Santa Ana Zoo during the "off season". They donate the profits to their elephant conservancy.

              Thank you for the TR, brought back a lot of memories. And the Beef sandwich is a classic! My weakness is the fried mini donuts.
              "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


              "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


              • #8
                Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

                YAY! Looks like you had a wonderful fair day! Thanks for sharing!


                • #9
                  Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

                  Great reporting and pictures. I am now hungry for some roasted corn and sausage and peppers. I'm like you guys though and do not have a lot of faith in rides that are assembled and disassembled every few weeks.


                  • #10
                    Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

                    Tommy Hernandez looks kind of funny with 2 hats. Anyone who's been to Del Mar (or the surrounding areas) knows how completely out of touch that place is with the real world. San Diego has its fair share of wealthy people, but the city is shared by many levels of income and backgrounds. A little farther north however are the communities of Rancho Santa Fe, La Jolla, Del Mar, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Cardiff by the Sea.

                    These places have like a $1 million minimum to live there and Rancho Santa Fe, La Jolla and Del Mar would like VERY much to be separate from San Diego county! They are essentially isolationists and La Jolla goes so far as to refer to itself as an actual city separate from San Diego, despite the fact that it's an unincorporated region of San Diego itself.

                    Believe me, this kind of stuff is absolutely par for the course for this area...which is appropriate since there's more golf courses and country clubs than middle class residents. They all have a beautiful beach area and we use them for this purpose. But other than that, no San Diego county resident likes dealing with them.

                    San Diego used to be a really run down city that no local wanted to visit, but in recent decades it's really transformed itself into a beautiful sparkling jewel on the Pacific. I used to drive down there every weekend and eat at the Edgewater Grill in Seaport Village and Casa de Bandini in Old Town and walk around the Gaslamp District. It's, quite simply, the closest to paradise you will ever get on this planet. People in San Diego are really friendly also and we have a small town feel, even though it's a big city. There's nothing like Balboa Park or Mission Bay or Horton Plaza or Coranado to just walk around for an entire day. I've tried to rip myself away from San Diego county (due to the traffic and high cost of living), but I've never been able to move away, even just 350 miles east to Arizona. It's just such a beautiful thriving city that makes you love every minute you are around it...downtown, not North County or anywhere north of San Diego, those places north of San Diego are traffic-choked suburbs free of any charm that downtown offers you.

                    Believe me, if any of you guys from Orange County wants something fun to do on the weekend, drive down to San Diego and you won't regret it. Horton Plaza and Fashion Valley alone match or surpass the Garden Walk. I might be biased, but I lived in Orange County before I lived here and San Diego is just so much more inviting and laid back.
                    Last edited by Athlonacon; 06-28-2008, 10:05 AM.


                    • #11
                      Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

                      I enjoyed that. Thanks. I need to get out to that fair again, as we spend most of our weekends nearby in Oceanside, but DragonFaerie is 9 months pregnant. We'll have to wait until 2009, probably. Your TR will have to do.
                      Fight On!:sc: Beat the Red Wolves!

                      Tom Chaney Memorial Debate Lounge Quote of the Week:

                      The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough - Randy Pausch


                      • #12
                        Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

                        Wow. Those pictures really make me want to go! But it is a bit too far for me unfortunately for a county fair. It's making me excited for the Orange County Fair in a couple weeks though!


                        • #13
                          Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

                          awsome report!! and now I am hungry :lmao:


                          • #14
                            Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

                            Originally posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
                            It's making me excited for the Orange County Fair in a couple weeks though!
                            Me too! :clap:

                            Great report, Lu!
                            A signature should go here.


                            • #15
                              Re: San Diego County Fair - 2008

                              I think I got queasy just looking at all that deep fried food...


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