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Peninsula Beacon News: County Fair Opens With Sports-themed Flair

June 19, 2008

by Loralee Olejnik

June 18, 2008

Deep fried macaroni and cheese on a stick. Those eight words can mean only one thing — the San Diego County fair returns.

This season's theme is the "Summer of Sports," and visitors can peruse memorabilia of elite athleticism while eating deep fried Spam or something from the world's largest barbeque — the Outlaw Grill — coming in at 20 feet high, with 100 feet of grill space and capable of cooking more than 1000 items at a time. Fair fare aside, the annual San Diego summertime ritual, running now through July 6, will truly feature an array of activities and exhibits for all interests, from America's strongest man to Zucchini racing.

Fair spokesperson Kina Paegert said there will be 25 new food items, several new exhibits and items for sale, and an all new entertainment lineup, including headliner Fergie on Friday, June 27.

Summer 2008 is a season of sports, both locally and internationally, with the U.S. Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines this week and the Summer Olympics in Beijing. The fair will celebrate athletes of all kinds and feature an extensive sports exhibit including sports and Olympic memorabilia, along with appearances by local Olympians such as gold-medal soccer player Shannon McMillan and Olympic track star Steve Scott. The display will also include a feature of Sports Illustrated covers featuring San Diego Athletes, memorabilia from local college sports programs and surfboards on loan from the California Surf museum.

Event highlights this year include the not-to-be missed annual Swifty Swine Pig Races, running continuously throughout the fair, a June 21 Craft Brewers Competition and Festival with Bluegrass Day, the America’s Strongest Man contest June 21-22, where athletes lift pull and drag heavy objects, local PB-based dance troop Flamenco Olivar on Sunday, June 28, and a Marble Tournament hosted by Vietnam veterans on July 5, benefitting Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization that helps families of troops deployed on military operations.

Musical headliners this year include Fergie on the Grandstand Stage (Friday, June 27), Dwight Yoakam (June 19), Earth, Wind & Fire (June 20), B.B. King (June 26), Boston (July 3), Intocable and Los Horóscopos de Durango (June 29) and children’s band, Doodlebops Live! (June 21).

Many musical shows require purchase of an additional ticket. Admission is $12 adults, $6 seniors and ages 6-12, and children 5 and younger are free. Special admissions days are available, including dollar admission day on Tuesday, June 17, with special advance tickets purchased at Ralph's Grocery Stores. Children under 12 get free admission on Tuesdays.

The fair will be open every day except the first two Mondays (June 16 and 23). Gates open every day at 10 a.m. and exhibits close at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The carnival area closes at approximately midnight every night. Parking is $9 per vehicle/motorcycle, $15 for RV's. The fairgrounds are located at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. in Del Mar.

Free parking and shuttle service is available every day from the Del Mar Horsepark east of the fairgrounds, and from MiraCosta College and Torrey Pines High School on weekends and July 4.

For a complete schedule visit

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