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The fair’s carnival featured 76 rides and 60 different games. Courtesy photo
The fair’s carnival featured 76 rides and 60 different games. Courtesy photo
Arts Arts & Entertainment Cities Del Mar Del Mar Featured News

Fairgrounds saw nearly 1 million visitors to San Diego County Fair

DEL MAR — This year’s San Diego County Fair saw an expected drop in attendance from previous years following a slow comeback from COVID-19, with officials logging around 973,000 visitors to the Del Mar Fairgrounds over a 21-day run — 36% less than in 2019.

While the fair averages typically 1.5 million visitors over 27 days, its 2022 return under the theme Heroes Reunite was scaled down with less staff, a daily attendance cap and a shorter time frame.

Despite some reductions in service, Heroes Reunite marked the first return to a full-scale fair with a midway carnival since 2019, after the event was canceled in 2020 and significantly pared down in 2021.

As the 2022 fair wrapped up on July 4 with a highly anticipated fireworks display, Del Mar Fairgrounds officials felt that their goals for this year’s event had been met.

“We’re thrilled with the response we’ve received,” said Fairgrounds Chief Operating Officer Katie Mueller. “The smiles on the faces of fairgoers say it all. Guests are telling us how excited they are to have the Fair back, as an annual trip to the Fair is a favorite summertime family tradition they’ve truly missed these past few years.”

According to Fairgrounds spokeswoman Jennifer Hellman, daily attendance at this year’s fair averaged 46,400. While the fairgrounds have seen up to 90,000 daily attendees in past years, officials limited daily capacity to 50,000 this year in anticipation of reduced staffing and services.

The fair’s carnival featured 76 rides — ridden a total of nearly 2.2 million times — and 60 different games for attendees of all ages to enjoy. This year’s most popular rides were the Skyride cable car, the Big Wheel Ferris wheel, the Crazy Mouse roller coaster, the spinning G Force ride, and RaveWave.

The other main attraction of the fair is the food, with 110 different concession stands set up and selling foot-long corn dogs and burgers covered in Hot Cheetos, elote, and cinnamon rolls, among other treats.

The Fairgrounds sold over 67,000 tickets to its series of Grandstand concerts, with two shows selling out — Sam Hunt on June 24 and Gabriel Iglesias on June 30, according to Hellman.

Despite the 2022 fair being over for less than a week, fair officials are already working hard on plans for next year’s event. The 22nd District Agricultural Association, the board managing the Fairgrounds, will announce the dates and theme for the 2023 fair at their Aug. 9 meeting, according to Hellman.

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