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Del Mar Fair
This year's scaled-down fair will not include rides, however there remains a possibility of a Ferris wheel. File photo
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Del Mar Fairgrounds updates events, attractions for scaled-down fair event

DEL MAR — Despite the goal set by Governor Gavin Newsom to open up California by June 15, the Del Mar Fairgrounds is still set to go with its scaled-down “Homegrown Fun” fair event this summer.

Homegrown Fun: Presented by the San Diego County Fair was announced by the fairgrounds last month at the regular meeting of the 22nd District Agricultural Association board meeting. The event will largely focus on agriculture and food stands fairgoers normally expect from the fair with some retail.

With Gov. Newsom targeting a June 15 date to open up more sectors of the state economy and lift the state’s colored tier system for the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the fairgrounds will still opt for the scaled-back event.

“The San Diego County Fair requires many, many months of planning to put on all of the different aspects of that program,” said Katie Mueller, chief business services operator at the fairgrounds. “We usually start with a budget in August or September and we hit the ground running for the planning for the following year’s fair.”

So even with the expected reduction in regulations and requirements for events like the fair coming in the near future, there would not be enough time to plan for a larger event, according to the fairgrounds.

A large portion of the fairgrounds is also expected to continue to be used as a vaccination superstation through the summer.

“Because we are committed to serving the community as a vaccination superstation, that takes up a fairly large footprint of the fairgrounds,” Mueller said.

The event will feature no more than 30 food stands and both indoor and outdoor vendor spaces. San Diego County is currently under the orange which means that there will not be restrictions for the capacity of Bing Crosby Hall, Seaside Pavillion or the Exhibit Hall.

There will be no midway at this event but there are some planned attractions for visitors such as dog shows, pig races and more. With the focus of this event on agriculture, there will also be an area called “Agri-Land” that will serve as an educational area for children.

“This will be great for kids to come and learn about farming,” Mueller said. “There will be a pedal tractor activity, Homelandia Dairy will be presenting cow milking demonstrations.”

None of the usual large carnival rides will be present at the event but Mueller says they are attempting to bring a Ferris wheel and carousel pending more approval and guidelines from the county.

The fairgrounds is still in the process of finalizing their COVD-19 health plan before submitting it to the county for approval.

During the fair board meeting, Director Frederick Schenk, who serves as the chair of the fair operations committee for the board, offered praise for the planning team who continues to deal with many obstacles in the preparation for this event.

“What a tremendous undertaking in such a short window,” Schenck said. “And with a moving target which it has been constantly. I know all of the wonder and uncertainty that has been part of this process.”

President Richard Valdez also expressed the board’s intention to try and change plans as much as they can as the pandemic situation changes.

Homegrown Fun will open its gates on June 11 and run through July 4 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and tickets will go on sale May 1.