Little ones and their families enjoy a smaller version of the slide in Kid Zone at the San Diego County Fair. Photo by Chris Stone

Swifty Swine races, goat milking demonstrations, extreme dog shows, deep fried everything, rides and exhibits — they’re all back at the San Diego County Fair beginning Wednesday.

After being canceled in 2020 and scaled back last year, the fair will be in full swing through July 4 with rides, exhibits, concerts, food and animals.

But don’t show up hoping to buy a ticket. All fair admission and parking tickets must be purchased online in advance.

The fair’s theme — Heroes ReUnite — is tied to the 2020 canceled event: Heroes Unite.

This year’s event will honor community heroes — ordinary people who take extraordinary measures to make the world a better place. They are mentors, volunteers and do-gooders; veterans, nurses, first responders, doctors, teachers, and caregivers.

Visit the Community Heroes wall in the Hall of Heroes exhibit to see stories of incredible people.

Here’s what you need to know:

The fair is open every day except Mondays and Tuesdays (but open July 4 ) from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and until 11 p.m. weekends at the Del Mar Fairgrounds at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.

Addressing COVID-19, the fair website says: “While guests will not be required to provide proof of vaccination, the Fairgrounds strongly recommends all guests, ages 2 and older, either be fully vaccinated or obtain a negative COVID-19 viral test prior to entry. While masks are optional, they are encouraged in crowded and/or indoor areas.”

Admission

  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday adult tickets (ages 13-61) are $20.
  • Wednesday and Thursday adult tickets are $15.
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday senior tickets (62 and up) are $17. On Wednesday and Thursdays, they are $12.
  • Youth tickets (6-12) are $17 on Saturday and Sunday. On Wednesday and Thursday, they are $12. Fridays are free.
  • Children 5 and younger are free.

Discount admission tickets are available at GovX to those with appropriate military ID — active duty, veterans, reservists, retirees, dependents and Department of Defense employees.

Discounts at GovX are also available to law enforcement personnel, firefighters, paramedics healthcare workers, teachers, and city, state and federal government employees.

Albertsons and Vons will give promotional codes to use when purchasing your admission tickets online, saving $3 on adult admission any day of the fair.

Parking

  • Preferred Parking is $30 and opens and closes an hour before and after the fair. These are closest to the main gates.
  • General Parking at the main parking lot Solana Gate and the Horse Park are $15 and open and close an hour before and after the fair.
  • Torrey Pines High School parking lot at 3710 Del Mar Heights Road is free and opens at 10 a.m. and closes an hour after the fair closes. Free shuttles are available.

Visitors also can buy North County Transit District “fair tripper” tickets at Pronto ticket vending machines on Coaster and Sprinter platforms.

An NCTD Fair Tripper package combines transit fare and fair admission, for the same price as fair admission alone.

Rides

FunPass for rides and games are for $20, $50 and $100. The fair allows you to buy these ahead of time online and through the fun pass app.


Entertainment

Fifteen concerts are scheduled in the grandstands for the fair’s Toyota Summer Concert Series.

Big names coming to Del Mar include Jason Derulo, Sam Hunt and The Goo Goo Dolls.

Tribute bands also will provide entertainment.

Drink Festivals

These feature different award-winning spirits, San Diego’s favorite beers and wine from all along the coast. General admission for the festivals is $30 to $60 depending on the festival. Scheduled are:

  • Toast of the Coast Wine Festival, June 11
  • San Diego International Beer Festival, June 18 and 19
  • Distilled Spirit and Cocktail Festival, July 2
  • Other festivals include Out at the Fair on June 12 and an Asian Festival.

The county fair website, www.sdfair.com, also includes a daily calendar.