San Diego County Fair Goes Mad

Alice’s adventures move to Del Mar as the San Diego County Fair opens Friday.

Alice’s adventures are moving from Wonderland to the Del Mar Fairgrounds as the San Diego County Fair opens at 4 p.m. Friday.

Here's a look at the highlights of the first weekend of the fair, June 3-5:

Friday, June 3

After Six Magic Show
6:15 p.m., Showcase Stage
Grab the kids and take in some magic tricks at the Showcase Stage. This is included with fair admission.

Switchfoot with Hawai
7:30 p.m., Heineken Grandstand Stage
San Diego natives Switchfoot return home to headline Opening Day at the San Diego County Fair. The rockers perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Heineken Grandstand Stage; HAWAI will open for them. Tickets start at $16.

Gabba Gabba Heys
9 p.m., Coors Light Rock-On Stage
This Ramones tribute band is set to perform all the hits at this free, 21+ show at the Coors Light Rock-On Stage. The show starts at 9 p.m.

Saturday, June 4

Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest
12 p.m., Farm Area
It’s not a county fair without a watermelon seed spitting contest, right? This fun summer activity goes down in the fairgrounds’ Farm zone.

The Queen of Hearts Croquet
2 p.m., Queen’s Court Contest Area
Keeping in this year’s Alice in Wonderland-inspired fair theme, this croquet contest goes down at 2 p.m.

Steampunk 101
5 p.m., Theme Exhibit
The 2016 fair theme also includes elements of Steampunk, a quirky artistic movement. Learn all about it at this theme exhibit.

Los Tucanes de Tijuana
7:30 p.m., Heineken Grandstand Stage
This Norteño band from Tijuana returns to the San Diego County Fair with this one and only performance Saturday night. If you catch the concert from the unreserved 3rd and 5th levels, the show is free (with fair admission). Other tickets start at $15.

Damage Inc.
9 p.m., Coors Light Rock-On Stage
This Metallica tribute band takes the Coors Light Rock-On Stage Saturday night for this free 21+ show, which promises covers of Metallica classics and today’s tunes.

Sunday, June 5

Tea Time in Wonderland
11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Sprigs & Spirits in the Paul Ecke Jr. Garden Show
Each Sunday, the fair will host two 90-minute sessions of “Tea Time in Wonderland” in the Paul Ecke Jr. Garden Show area. Inspired by the fair’s 2016 theme, patrons will enjoy a proper “Wonderland” tea party that includes a menu of Egg Salad Sandwiches, Quiche Lorraine, Curried Chicken Boursin Puff, as well as baked goodies like mini Orange-Raspberry Scones, Raspberry Linzer Cookies and Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing. Food is accompanied by black, green and herbal teas, and lemonade. Tickets are $35, including fair admission. The 21+ crowd can make it a “Tipsy Tea” for $50, which includes bottomless champagne. Tea party guests will also get to make a fun hat to take home. Seating is limited to 48 people. Don’t be late for this important date!

Car Shows
Through 3:30 p.m., Track Crossover
Gearheads will appreciate the car shows at the Track Crossover area, which run through 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Dog Show
11 a.m., Animals Ring 1
Pups will prance at this dog show, happening in Animals Ring 1. Sheep and pigmy goats will also have their chance to shine in Animals Rings 2 and 3 at 10 a.m.

Mariachi Festival
11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Del Mar Arena
Top mariachi groups from Southern California will unite for this lively, all-day festival at the Del Mar Arena. This fest is included with fair admission. There’s no reserved seating, so snag your spot early.

Lady Antebellum
7:30 p.m., Heineken Grandstand Stage
The Grammy-winning country music trio will headline the fair Sunday night, performing from a long list of hits. Tickets range from $21 to $99.

This year, the “Alice in Wonderland“ themed county fair will offer a taste of the wild tea party you always wanted to attend while mixing with the artistic movement called Steampunk. Visitors are also encouraged to dress-up as little or as much as they want.

Every day of the San Diego County Fair will be influenced by different kooky characters as visitors wander unusual landscapes, taste unique fair foods, and brave the newest fair rides.

The event schedule is already packed with everything from senior days to a 5K to various competitions.

The "maddening" fair runs through July 4 but it will be closed every Monday and the first two Tuesdays. You can purchase a month-long pass called “Best Pass Ever” for $26 and receive unlimited entry into the fair. Daily general admission will cost $16.

Another alternative to the daily ticket and driving yourself is to purchase the Fair Tripper ticket. This allows you to travel down the rabbit hole on North Country's Coaster, Sprinter or Breeze for $17. This includes admission to the fair, round-trip transportation and a shuttle to and from the Solana Beach railway station.

For basic information about this year's fair, click here.

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