The gates to opening day for the 2016 San Diego County Fair didn’t open until 4 p.m. Friday, but the fairgrounds filled rapidly as fairgoers flocked to the food booths.
Chowing down on old favorites and the newest items, thousands of people lined up for curly fries, turkey legs, corn on the cob, corn dogs and, of course, cinnamon buns.
Here is the list of the latest fair fare to fill you up:
• Bacon-A-Fair’s French Toast Bacon Bomb; Swiss cheese-stuffed bacon-encased BBQ potatoes.
• Chicago Style Hot Dog’s deep-fried California style Chicago Dog
• Chicken Charlie’s deep-fried chicken and waffles on a stick; deep-fried shrimp and rice on a stick; and Kool-Aid Hot Wings
• Crutchees Ice Cream’s pineapple softserve
• Grilled Cheese-A-Fair’s Grilled Sloppy Joe Frito Crunch Grilled Cheese; Waffle Sunrise Grilled Cheese; and Chicken and Waffle Grilled Cheese
• Linda’s Pizza’s deep-fried pizza
• Odyssey Candy’s Cayenne Cotton Candy
• Mexican Funnel Cake’s deep-fried cookie butter
• Pacific Coast Lemonade’s deep-fried lemonade
• Pignotti’s Gourmet Italian Food’s lasagna sandwich
• Reno’s Fish’s deep-friend fish taco
• Tasti Burger’s Hatter’s Mad Mashup and Rueben burgers
• Texas Donut’s S’mores donut
• Texas Tater Twister’s deep-friend nachos
How were the latest creations developed?
“One day I was eating chicken and waffles,” said Charlie Boghosian, owner of Chicken Charlie’s, “and I said, ‘Why not put the chicken in the waffles, so I don’t have to do any fork, knife, plate, all that.’
“At the same time I thought, ‘Why not put it on a stick and make it fair friendly.’ ”
Chicken Charlie’s fries the chicken tenders first, skewers them, and then bakes them in a waffle machine with the waffle batter.
Boghosian’s Kool-Aid hot wings are like orange chicken, but with a cherry Kool-Aid sauce, spiced with a touch of cayenne pepper.
“There’s nothing like feeding people. It’s the best thing ever,” said Boghosian.
Further down the Avenue of Palms, Lori Southerlend, owner of Tasti Burger, compares her fare to Chicken Charlie’s as “more flair food than fair food. We’re not dare, but flair.”
Thinking of the fair’s Mad Hatter theme, she and her chef came up with a combination of a bratwurst with bacon cheddar, bourbon Sriracha sauce, candied pecans, cheese, lettuce, chipotle dressing and tomato.
“It’s like bad; it’s crazy, nuts, but delicious. I took one bite and I went, “Oh, my gosh!” Southerlend said.
The 2016 San Diego County Fair, themed “Mad About the Fair,” opened Friday at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
The theme takes the Lewis Carroll classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and mixes in some steampunk and cosplay, organizers said.
The fair will run 26 days through July 4. It will be dark on Mondays — except for closing day — and the first two Tuesdays. General admission is $16, while a $26 pass allows admission each day.
Organizers urge the public to use public transit. A valid North County Transit District, Amtrak or Compass pass allows for a free shuttle ride from the Solana Beach train station.
Attendees can also purchase a $17 ticket that bundles both transportation and admission.
—City News Service and Chris Stone contributed to this report