Preview: 2012 San Diego County Fair

The iconic fair in Del Mar will boast 24 days of rides, attractions, food, music and fun

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San Diego County Fair

The summer season is upon us and it wouldn’t be summer in San Diego without the iconic San Diego County Fair in Del Mar.

This year, the 2012 San Diego County Fair runs for 24 days, from June 8th through July 4th.

The fair theme is “Out of This World,” with space exploration, stars and planets at the core.

The admission gates open Tuesday-Friday at 11 a.m. and at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The fairgrounds close at approximately 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 11 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The fairgrounds are closed every Monday, except July 2.

Admission to the fair this year is $13 per adult, $7 for seniors 62 and older and $7 for kids ages 6-12. Children 5-years-old and younger get in for free.

Daily parking is $10 per vehicle at the fairgrounds. Additional free parking options and shuttle services to the fair are also available. Check the event’s parking page for more info on that.

As always, this year’s event includes vendors, exhibits, rides and tons of other attractions. There’s also a special section dubbed “Fun Zone and Kiddieland” for the little ones.

Of course, no trip to the San Diego County Fair is complete without dabbling in all that strange yet delicious fried fair food.

This year, vendor menus include deep-fried cereal, deep-fried peanut butter and jelly, deep-fried pork chops and deep-fried green beans.

The powdered orange-flavored drink Tang will also be served in a deep-fried version, if you can believe it.

A bacon-centric food area will offer something called “Meat Lovers Hot Dog on a Stick,” a deep-fried, beer-battered, bacon-wrapped hot dog. Also on the bacon menu: deep-fried, bacon-wrapped mushrooms, bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeños and the “Porkabello Kabob,” a bacon-wrapped Gouda cheese-stuffed portabello on a stick.

The fair will also boast tons of live entertainment, as scheduled here on the fair events calendar.

Headliners performing this year include Cobra Starship on June 8, Demi Lovato on June 12, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts on June 19 and 2011 American Idol winner Scotty McCreery on June 26.

If the details you’re looking for aren’t on the official fair website, call this 24-hour hotline for recorded info: (858) 793-5555 or the fairgrounds phone number at (858) 755-1161.

By the way, the San Diego County fair is the sixth largest fair in the United States. More than 1.4 million attendees visit the fair each year and in 2011, the fair broke an all-time attendance record with a grand total of 1,412,113 guests.

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