“This all started with a little Facebook posting for gays and lesbians to meet at the fair,” said fair spokeswoman Linda Zweig. “And now it’s growing like you wouldn’t believe.”
Some 70,000 attended last year, and 80,000 were expected Saturday, Zweig said. Shuttles from Hillcrest to Del Mar, and back, began at noon.
“We have gender-friendly restrooms and offered employees sensitivity training” as part of the fair’s festival series, she said. (Signs said: “This restroom may be used by any person regardless of gender identity or expression.”)
Del Mar’s fair was the first nationally to set aside a day for LGBT celebrations, organizers said. Others followed, including state fairs in New York, Minnesota and Texas. The Indiana State Fair has an unofficial “Pride Day.”
Performances especially for a gay audience were mainly at the Ford Paddock Stage and the Coors Light Rock On Stage next to the Fun Zone. At the Heineken Grandstand Stage, Carly Rae Jepsen sang after the San Diego Gay Men’s Choir — the group that fell victim to a snafu at a recent Padres game.
Among the acts was Keith London, who sang Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy” on the 13th season of “American Idol.”
Three “diva drops” — bungee jumps by drag queens Landa Penty, Jazmine Rice and Bianca St. James — benefited charity. A “Dunk a Hunk” booth at the entrance to the Paddock also promised money for charity.
Around 12:30 p.m., a rainbow-ribbon-cutting ceremony on the Paddock Stage included Toni Duran, a representative of Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins.
About 2 p.m., “The Newly Married Game” — also in the Paddock area — featured two male couples and one female pair. Modeled after TV’s old “Newlywed” game, questions were asked of one partner. Points were awarded if the spouse had the same answer.
Questions included: “Who was the first to say I love you?” and “If your spouse was to borrow one of your clothing items, what would it be?”
At 7 p.m., a group picture was slated in front of the Paddock Stage, with participants encouraged to wear blue, green and purple apparel.
Growing out of three ”Unofficial Gay Days,” Out at the Fair became official in 2014, always celebrated on the second Saturday of June.
“For the first time, a partnership was created with San Diego Pride, the largest LGBT organization in the county,” said a history of the event.
Hillcrest deejay DJ Will Z is credited as the event’s creator in 2011.