san diego county fair

The San Diego County Fair Is Back for 2022. Here's What to Know

The San Diego County Fair runs from June 8 through July 4 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

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After being closed for two years because of the pandemic and following a contract bidding dispute, the San Diego County Fair is back for 2022. Here's what to know.

When is the San Diego County Fair open?

The San Diego County Fair is open from June 8 through July 4 but is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, except for on the Fourth of July.

What time is the fair open and close?

On days the San Diego County Fair is open, the grounds open to the public at 11 a.m. On Sundays through Thursdays, the fairgrounds close at 10 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays, the fairground closes at 11 p.m.

NBC 7's Rory Devine reports from Opening Day at the County Fair.

What is different this year?

The San Diego County Fair is making changes this year. All tickets must be bought in advance online, with tickets limited to 50,000 a day. Prices will be lower on Wednesdays and Thursdays to encourage people to visit those days when attendance has historically been light.

“What we’re trying to do is not hit those 70, 80, 90,000 (people),” Hellman said. “What happens at the fair, our attendance tends to ramp up. What we want to do is get people here early, get people here mid-week, so we don’t hit the big Fourth of July weekend where you can’t walk on the avenue.”

How much does it cost to go to the fair?

Tickets range in cost depending on the day of the week and must be purchased in advance online here.

For adults, tickets are $15 on Wednesday and Thursday and $20 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, plus the Fourth of July.

For children 6 to 12 years old, tickets are $12 on Wednesdays and Thursdays and $17 on Saturdays and Sundays and July 4. Kids under 12 are free on Friday and children under 5 are free always.

Tickets for seniors are $12 on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and $17 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, plus the Fourth of July.

Guests can also purchase tickets for rides and games. See more here.

The San Diego County Fair is back and operating at its full capacity for the first time in years. NBC 7's Audra Stafford walks you through what to expect and what's different this year.

How to get to the fair

The fair is located just west of Interstate 5 at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. in Del Mar, California. The fair is easy to access from Interstate 5 using the Via de la Valle exit or from Highway 101 to Via de la Valle.

You can also use public transportation. The Coaster has a special "fairtripper" pass, which provides round-trip bus or Coaster service and admission to the fair for comparable prices to the price of admission. Learn more here.

Vendors are set up in Del Mar to come back in full force after not being on-site for years. NBC 7's Rory Devine has more from the fairgrounds.

Where to park for the San Diego County Fair

There are three options for parking at the San Diego County Fair -- preferred parking, general parking and off-site parking. Here's what to know about each.

Preferred Parking is $20 per vehicle and is the closest lot to the fair's main entrance. The lot opens at 9 a.m. and closes 1 hour after the fair closes.

General parking will get vehicles into the main parking lot, but further from the main entrance, or near the Solana Gate entry to the fair. It will also get access to the Horsepark facility located two miles east of the fair off of Via de la Valle. Tickets cost $15 per vehicle for the lot open at 9 a.m. until 1 hour after fair closing. A free tram will take guests to the entrance.

Parking passes must be purchased online in advance here, even for motorcycles.

Off-site parking is free at Torrey Pines High School. The lot is open at 10 a.m. and closes 1 hour after the fair. A free tram will take guests to the entrance.

What to expect at the San Diego County Fair this year?

"Heroes Reunite" is the theme of the first full-fledged fair since the coronavirus pandemic started, celebrating the fair's near-return to pre-pandemic fanfare.

Coronavirus protocols are still being implemented. When guests by their tickets online, they will need to agree to follow the current California Department of Public Health guidelines.

Proof of vaccination will not be required but the fairgrounds recommends guests eligible for vaccination are fully vaccinated or obtain a negative COVID-19 test before heading to the fair.

Masks are optional but encouraged in crowded and indoor areas.

The Midway at the fair, with its entertaining carnival rides and challenging games, “will have the same games and rides fair goers expect,” said fair spokesperson Jennifer Hellman.

“This year, we’re back in full force,” said Hellman, who added there are well over 100 food stands, 80 rides and hundreds of shopping vendors and exhibits.

Fair organizer and midway operators put their differences aside, for now, so the 2022 San Diego County Fair can go on as planned. NBC 7’s Omari Fleming has the story.

What concerts can I see at the San Diego County Fair?

The San Diego County Fair has announced its 2022 Toyota Summer Concert Series lineup that includes big names like Jason Derulo, Prince Royce and Shaggy.

With 21 nights of entertainment on deck, the fair promises something for nearly everyone with shows taking place at its Coors Light Avenue Stage, Paddock Stage, and other stages.

This year's lineup covers plenty of musical genres for everyone, from hip-pop, rock en Español, Norteño music, comedy, country, reggae, rock and more.

What other events are at the San Diego County Fair?

There are several festivals happening at the fair this year.

Toast of the Coast, a wine festival, is happening on June 11. The annual San Diego International Beer festival runs for two days on June 18 and 19. And, the Distilled sprits and cocktail festival will be held at July 2.

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