The Del Mar Fairgrounds will be packed next month as the 2019 San Diego County Fair brings an “Oz-some” world inspired by L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
Opening Day of the San Diego County Fair will be Friday, May 31 and the key number this year is 27.
There will be 27 days of corn dogs, cotton candy and lemonade along with 27 nights of entertainment.
And of course, there will be a "Wicked" 4th of July fireworks display on July 4th to close out the fair.
Organizers are also tapping into our love of all things Oz with a Judy Garland impersonator, a game show that let's you challenge the Wizard, storytime with Dorothy for the kiddies and several Winged Monkey DJ parties.
Fair admission costs $20 for adults, 13 to 61; $14 for seniors 62 and over as well as kids 6 to 12; children 5 and younger are free.
There are a few different ways you can stretch your dollar at the fair, which runs until July 4 excluding Mondays and Tuesdays.
Here are some of the discounts available:
This year's season pass to the San Diego County Fair costs $32 for one person. The pass is non-transferable and you will need to show photo identification when using it at the gate. Fair organizers say anyone who does not have a photo ID may not use the Best Pass Ever program.
If you buy your ticket in advance at Vons or ALbertsons, you can enjoy the fair for $6 on Friday May 31, Saturday June 1 and Wednesday June 5. These are the $6 Fair Days. You must make a $10 minimum purchase at the stores to purchase the tickets. This discount is not available at the fairgrounds box office.
If the $6 Fair Days don't fit in your schedule, you can still save money on admission by buying tickets in advance at Albertsons and Vons. The stores will sell discounted tickets of $16 for adults 13 to 61 and $13 for seniors 62 and older and kids 6 to 12 years old to customers who make a $10 minimum purchase.
Every Friday of the fair is Kids' Day! Children 12 and younger get in free. That's a savings of $14 per child. Remember - children 5 years and younger are always admitted free.
On Friday, June 7, college and university students with a photo ID showing they're enrolled can purchase a $10 discounted admission ticket for that day at the Box Office window. The discount extends to the ride sheet package where students can purchase a 25-coupon sheet for $26.
There will be military tickets available at base ticket offices only. These include tickets offering free admission on the opening day of the fair. These are subject to availability. Retirees, reservists, active duty, dependents and DoD employees can check on ticket availability at various location on local bases. See the fair website for details.
You can also get free admission with a donation to foster children. Restrictions apply.
Save on fair food, entertainment, rides, games, and shopping, and get bargain deals on food and entertainment outside of the fair in the San Diego area. The Passport to Savings booklet also includes a free return ticket. You can buy them at the fair for $5, or online for $4 before you go.
What about the rides? Well, in 2019 there will be a Ride FastPass option for fairgoers.
These passes are limited and are only available the day you visit from the carnival ticket booths. Each pass costs $20 and is only valid on the day of purchase. For details, check in at the ticket booth when you arrive to the fair.
The Ride Fanatic Pack offers 50 credits toward rides and games along with a 1-day admission ticket and one 2-for-1 soft drink coupon. The cost of the package is $48.
The fair's Value Pack for $90 offers four 1-day admission tickets, a Passport to Savings coupon book, one ticket with 20 credits toward rides and games, four 2-for-1 soft drink coupons and a parking pass. Costco members can buy a similar savings pack for $79.99.
Parents can estimate how many tickets they may need by visiting the ride section of the fair's website. Each ride lists the number of credits needed to ride.
Every Wednesday and Thursday in June are designated as "Pay One Price Ride Days" where fairgoers can purchase a wristband for $38. Save $5 off the wristband price by visiting a 7-Eleven store in May and purchase an Aquafina product for a coupon. Not all rides are included in the wristband price. Get details here.
Save on parking and take the bus or train! Transit riders can get fair admission along with round-trip fare from their stations or bus stops to the West Gate of the fair. The Fair Tripper, limited to just North County Transit District (NCTD) trains and buses, is available for $21 for adults and $13 for riders 6 to 12 years old or 65 and older.
The Region Plus Fair Tripper includes fare for MTS buses and trolleys, as well as the COASTER connection, and is available for $25 for adults and $15 for kids 6 to 12 years old and 65 years or older.
Children 5 years old and younger ride NCTD transit for free and are not charged fair admission.
You can pick up the Fair Tripper packages through the Compass Cloud app or at NCTD ticket machines.
Other ways to save include off-site parking. On certain dates, fairgoers can park at Torrey Pines High School or MiraCosta College for free. Free shuttle service runs from those lots to the O'Brien Gate. Check the fair's website to make sure the lots are open on the day you're planning to go.