If you crave cinnamon buns, Australian battered potatoes, deep fried Oreos, ice cream or a hot dog on a stick, the Home Grown Fair will fire up your taste buds.
On Friday, the limited version of the annual San Diego County Fair opened its gates and the eating was off and running at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. through July 4 (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) the event provides a “taste” of the fair and a welcome return to the sights and smells of past years.
But there are changes to be sure. For now, no traditional Fun Zone. However, employees said more attendance and more rides are planned after many COVID restrictions are lifted by the state June 15.
For now the carousel is spinning and the Ferris Wheel is up, but not operating into the afternoon. Happy Day Pony rides pleased the little ones. A few other rides were on the grounds, but were not open Friday.
In addition, there are no art, photography, craft, flower show or hobby exhibits. And no carnies beckoning you to play a shooting or tossing game.
The Exhibit Hall, Seaside Pavilion, Bing Crosby Hall, with 280 vendors, are open for shopping of your favorite kitchen gadget, cleaner or collectibles.
“Extreme dogs,” Swifty Swine races and a juggler and a magician provide entertainment.
Agricultural-themed exhibits and animal presentations along with contests, such as bubble blowing, are held throughout the day.
And don’t forget music with Jackstraws Surf Band, Juice Box and local musicians.
But make no mistake. Fair food is the star.
Forty food booths feature indulgences and healthy food such as Chicken Charlie’s new fried Buffalo Brownies (with batter-fried brownies, topped with buffalo sauce and ice cream), Texas Donuts, charbroiled corn, Australian Battered Potatoes, Chuckwagon, Pink’s Hotdogs, kettlecorn, fish and chips, fudge, Tasti Chips, Bacon A Fair, Roxy’s and County Fair Cinnamon Rolls to name a few.
A bargain is a $1 plastic bottle of milk or chocolate milk from Hollandia Dairy in Agri-Land. The dairy shows where milk come from in milking demonstrations.
Advanced payment for admission and parking is required. No tickets can be purchased on site. Admission is $10 for everyone 6 years and older, and parking is $12. At this point, there seems to be no Horsepark free-parking option.
To avoid overcrowding and help ensure health rules are followed, daily admission capacities are limited.
Fairgoers pick an arrival time – between 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. — when purchasing tickets online.
The fair allows up to 13,000 visitors a day, compared to the fair’s usual 60,000 or so daily visitors.
Contactless payment is recommended for all on-site transactions, as cash may not be accepted at many booths.
North County Transit District’s Fun Tripper includes a round-trip fare on NCTD’s Coaster, Sprinter or Breeze bus plus admission for $12.