Farewell, San Diego County Fair

Fairgrounds begin transformation from bacon-wrapped indulgence to the classy hats at the horse races

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Almost as soon as the grand finale ends at the San Diego County Fair, crews with Del Mar’s annual fair will begin a grand finale of their own.

July 4 marked the last day of the San Diego County fair. Starting at midnight, crews will begin disassembling the rides, booths and stages in preparation for another San Diego tradition, the Del Mar Race Track’s Opening Day.

“When the lights go out, a metamorphosis will begin,” said fair spokeswoman Linda Zweig.

The fair is expected to have another record-breaking attendance, pending a tally of the final numbers in the days after Independence Day. Last year, over 1.4 million people went to the fair. Zweig says the number is likely to be even higher this year.

She couldn’t say what exactly drew crowds in record attendance this year – perhaps it was the more-indulgent-than-ever Bacon A-Fair stand, which served delicacies such as turkey legs wrapped in one pound of bacon and deep-fried beer-battered bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

The final night of the fair saw performances from Weird Al Yankovic, a hometown heroes parade and one of the county’s biggest fireworks show celebrating the fourth of July.

But in less than two weeks, the fairgrounds will wipe away the bacon grease and welcome in the glamorous over-sized hats marking the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s 75th annual Opening Day.

Seating options are already sold out, but tickets to sit at the Surfside Race Place are up for grabs, and general admission is available for $10 on opening day and $6 for the rest of the season.

About 45,000 race fans usually show up to opening day to bet on horses, witness the “One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest” or have some fun at the Opening Day party.

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