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Delicious food awaits attendees of the 2024 San Diego County Fair from June 12 to July 7 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Photo by Laura Place
Delicious food awaits attendees of the 2024 San Diego County Fair from June 12 to July 7 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Photo by Laura Place
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Countdown to the San Diego County Fair begins

DEL MAR — The San Diego County Fair will return to the Del Mar Fairgrounds in two weeks, bringing rides, carnival games, exciting exhibits, livestock auctions and a full calendar of performances by national and local acts. 

Featuring the theme “Let’s Go Retro!” with a focus on the nostalgia of past decades, this year’s fair will run from June 12 to July 7. Fair hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 

Fairgrounds CEO Carlene Moore said the 20-day fair will include flashbacks to different eras within the theme exhibit, grandstand shows, and contests. 

“There are just going to be these moments where people are going to enjoy sharing the story of their memory from something they see at the fair,” Moore said. 

Carmen Simpson shows off one of the cocktails that attendees to the 2024 San Diego County Fair can enjoy at the disco-themed Destination Unknown Speakeasy. Photo by Laura Place
Carmen Simpson shows off one of the cocktails that attendees to the 2024 San Diego County Fair can enjoy at the disco-themed Destination Unknown Speakeasy. Photo by Laura Place
Fallbrook High School freshman FFA members Morgan Michalke, left, and Molly Schmierer stand with goats Cinnamon, left, and Woolly Wonka. Hundreds of FFA and 4-H students are involved in livestock competitions during the San Diego County Fair. Photo by Laura Place
Fallbrook High School freshman FFA members Morgan Michalke, left, and Molly Schmierer stand with goats Cinnamon, left, and Woolly Wonka. Hundreds of FFA and 4-H students are involved in livestock competitions during the San Diego County Fair. Photo by Laura Place

General fair admission can be purchased at a discounted price online or day-of for a slightly higher price. Advance tickets are $13 for youth/seniors and $16 for adults on weekdays, and $17 for youth/seniors and $20 for adults on weekends and July 4. Admission is always free for children ages five and younger. 

Residents are encouraged to participate in the “Let’s Go Retro!” challenge by submitting photos from the 1950s through 1990s that capture the fads, trends and general vibes of the era or scenes from the retro days of the San Diego County Fair. The grand prize includes fair and Grandstand concert admission, food and ride credits, preferred parking and more.

Among the special events at this year’s fair are the annual Out at the Fair celebration on June 22 and the fair’s inaugural powwow on June 30, involving dancing, drum circles, singing, vendors, and educational presentations. 

“It’s important that we get out there and promote the Indigenous ways, the Indigenous communities, and the different aspects of the Indigenous peoples,” said Sam Bearpaw, who is White Mountain Apache and Membrano Apache and will serve as the Head Man during the powwow. 

Sam Bearpaw, who is White Mountain Apache and Membrano Apache, will perform in the inaugural powwow at the San Diego County Fair on June 30. Photo by Laura Place
Sam Bearpaw, who is White Mountain Apache and Membrano Apache, will perform in the inaugural powwow at the San Diego County Fair on June 30. Photo by Laura Place
Sabrina Petrini (right) of band KINGQUEEN and drag queen Shania Satisfaction will both be performing during the 2024 San Diego County Fair’s Out at the Fair event on June 22. Photo by Laura Place
Sabrina Petrini (right) of band KINGQUEEN and drag queen Shania Satisfaction will perform during the 2024 San Diego County Fair’s Out at the Fair event on June 22. Photo by Laura Place

Thirteen grandstand shows are planned for the Toyota Summer Concert series, including performances by Grammy-winning rapper Ludacris on June 28 and late-night comedy trio Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, and Arsenio Hall on June 21. Tickets to grandstand shows also include same-day fair admission. 

Attendees can also find a variety of free concerts, dance performances, comedy and other entertainment at various stages throughout the fair, including the Paddock Concert Stage, Coors Light Avenue Stage, and Funville Stage. 

Parking options at the fair include $20 general parking and $50 preferred parking onsite. Attendees can also park at the Del Mar Horsepark ($10) or Canyon Crest Academy (free) and then take a free shuttle to the fair entrance.

Attendees can also purchase Fair Tripper tickets, which cover a round trip on the NCTD Coaster, Sprinter, Breeze, MTS Trolley or bus, and entry to the fair. 

For tickets and a full list of events and activities, visit sdfair.comThe Del Mar Fairgrounds are located at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.

Ten-day-old cow Holly of Hollandia Dairy attends a preview event for the 2024 San Diego County Fair on Wednesday. Hollandia Dairy will return to the fair this year for milking demonstrations and other events. Photo by Laura Place
Ten-day-old cow Holly of Hollandia Dairy attends a preview event for the 2024 San Diego County Fair on Wednesday. Hollandia Dairy will return to the fair this year for milking demonstrations and other events. Photo by Laura Place
Delicious food awaits attendees to the 2024 San Diego County Fair, running from June 12 to July 7. Photo by Laura Place
Delicious food awaits attendees of the 2024 San Diego County Fair, running from June 12 to July 7. Photo by Laura Place
Crews are hard at work preparing the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the arrival of the 2024 San Diego County Fair from June 12 to July 7. Photo by Laura Place
Crews are hard at work preparing the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the arrival of the 2024 San Diego County Fair from June 12 to July 7. Photo by Laura Place
A view of the San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Courtesy Del Mar Fairgrounds
A view of the San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Courtesy Del Mar Fairgrounds

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