The Coast News Group
Joe Phillips, left, and Lex Wolfcraft embrace the Alice in Wonderland, steampunk theme for this year’s San Diego County Fair. Photo by Tony Cagala
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This year’s fair wants to take you through the looking glass

DEL MAR — The San Diego County Fair has become the largest in the state and last year they saw more than 1.5 million people take in the live music, rides and, of course, the fried foods.

Fairgrounds General Manager Tim Fennell, speaking to the media on Tuesday, said he expects to break attendance records when this year’s fair wraps up after its 26-day run.

“What makes our fair so special…the largest fair in the state of California is the fact that every year we have a new theme,” said Linda Zweig, media relations representative for the fairgrounds.

Fair organizers came up with the idea this year to infuse the popularity of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” characters with steampunk, the burgeoning trend that infuses Victorian-era culture with futuristic technology.

“Every year, the theme infiltrates the entire fairgrounds,” Zweig added. “We have a theme exhibit that has new things to feature.”

One of the exhibits at the fair this year will feature one of the first published editions of Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” on loan from the University of Southern California.

Still fairground’s officials say they aren’t too worried about outgrowing their venue even as the event grows ever more popular each year.

“We have been filled almost to capacity on a daily basis. We’re all about customer service and safety,” said Zweig. “That would be a wonderful problem to have. And we would welcome that problem to have to say, ‘Enough,’ but we are just a very large facility.”

The San Diego County Fair opens June 3. For tickets, concert line-ups and more information,visit