The San Diego County Fair will return as a scaled-down event after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to be canceled last year. The fun runs Friday through July 4.
Each summer, the fair attracts tens of thousands of people, brings hundreds of jobs, and boosts San Diego’s tourism and economy. So, it was devastating when the pandemic forced the fair's cancellation in 2020. This year, however, changes have been made to bring the summer hot spot back under some COVID modifications.
Earlier this week, vendors were hard at work at the Del Mar Fairgrounds getting everything into place for Friday’s opening of the "Home Grown Fun" fair. Ashley Colburn, the fair’s marketing coordinator, said the event is meant to give crowds a taste of the traditions of the longtime summer fair.
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Capacity will be scaled down, as well as the attractions.
“The San Diego County Fair has on average of about 60,000 people per day but at Homegrown Fun, we would not have more than 13,000,” Colburn says.
Home Grown Fun, which is presented by the San Diego County Fair, will still feel like the annual summer event despite its smaller size. Fan favorites like the Ferris wheel, shopping, and rides will be a part of this year’s event. And visitors can still get a taste of decadent, fried goodness in classic fair foods since nearly 40 concession stands will be posted up at the site.
Food vendor Dominic Palmieri said it’s been 15 months of built-up anticipation for the return to the fairgrounds.
“We knew we weren’t going to have a second chance to make a first impression,” Palmieri said. “We remodeled, got a lot of our stands ready to go.”
Swine master Zach Johnson said his food booth has been running at the San Diego County Fair for 23 years. He's happy to be back.
Johnson said it’s been difficult trying to ride out the pandemic and adds that he knows vendors who didn’t last.
“To have all the fairs shut down, I mean, we did not have a big race out for 16 months and it was tough,” Johnson says.
Homegrown Fun will run from Friday through July 4 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Tickets are available for $10 and must be purchased in advance online.
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