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I Love the Fair (And Maybe You Will, Too)

June 23rd, 2009 admin

It must be summer now, because the San Diego County Fair has just opened up, and I am happy to say I was there on opening day, over-priced tickets and all. And it was just as fun as I remembered it being.

Keep it Cheap

So fair admission this year is a whopping $13, which I frankly find pretty ridiculous. So to keep in line with that little budget conversation we had earlier, I’d suggest that you look around for the deals.

  • Check local grocery stores–usually at least one chain will have a deal with the fair to sell discounted tickets.
  • If you’re willing to fight the crowds, check the calendar for discount days. The SD fair had a $2 ticket day today, and you could also get discounted food in smaller portions.
  • Bring your own lunch and save your spending money for rides or the classic fair-only food. (No need to waste money on a taco you could get across the street for less.)
  • Check the ticket for a coupon before you toss it. Our fair tickets had an unadvertised deal where they get you an adult movie ticket for the child price. Others allow you to get cheap readmission.

Hit the Highlights

Surprisingly, there is a lot to do beyond just riding the rides. So whether you spend your whole day there or just go for a few hours, make sure you hit the highlights by checking the program.

  • Fair Food. Since I’m usually pretty well-behaved food-wise, I give myself a free pass to eat whatever unhealthy thing I want at the fair. I really want to try a fried Snickers sometime, but apparently the hot item this year is chocolate covered bacon.
  • Animal Shows. I adore dogs, so we made our trip the day they were doing preliminaries for the Purina Incredible Dog challenge. It was like the dog olympics, and very entertaining. We also watched pig races, which were very cute.
  • Music. A surprising number of popular artists play at large county fairs, and the price of admission usually includes their concerts. Another reason you should check the calendar before you go.
  • Fair Competitions. I can’t ride a horse, make jam, or raise chickens, but I really enjoy learning about how other people do it. The fair competition buildings usually have some amazing sewing, baking, and art, all from locals. It’s kind of fun to see if you have a budding Monet living next door.
  • Vendors. At the San Diego Fair you can buy a full-size spa tub, Hawaiian flowers, and a Sham-Wow, and that is just when you walk in the door of the first building. I love watching the demonstrations of Ginsu knives and getting samples of all kinds of random shampoos and ring cleaners. It’s like living inside an infomercial.
  • People Watching. Seriously, fairgrounds have an intensely amusing and diverse group of people. Grab a corn dog and watch them go by.

photo by egonsch

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Karen  |  June 23rd, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Yes, this fair is one of the best in the country, believe me I know. I deal with a lot of them. Check out their 4th of July activities, more contests that are original and fun, then any fair anywhere.

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