County fair will blast off Friday in Del Mar
By Emily Sorensen
The 2012 San Diego County Fair is being launched Friday, June 8, with all the otherworldly music, food, fun and games an Earthling can handle.
This year’s theme is “Out Of This World,” and the fair is ready to take you to outer space with the “Out Of this World” theme exhibit. The exhibit will feature a simulated landing of the Mars rover “Curiosity,” as well as a look back at the Apollo Space program, and exhibits to learn about NASA and explore UFOs.
The fair has a stellar lineup of concerts this year, with four separate concert lineups ready to entertain you. The Ford Dealers Paddock Concert Series, which are free, all begin at 9 p.m. on the San Diego County Ford Dealers Paddock Stage Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with bonus concerts Friday through Sunday.
A number of talented bands and singers will be performing in the concert series, including Grammy award-winners Asleep at the Wheel, Vanilla Fudge, Eric Burdon & the Animals, Jim Messina, Dickey Betts & Great Southern. Check the fairwebsite for a full list of performances and dates.
The San Diego County Fair’s Solid Gold Concert Series features performers whose chart-topping songs debuted during the 1960s and 1970s, and the fair has three great concerts this year. The series is at 2 p.m. every Thursday on the San Diego Showcase Stage and is free with fair admission.
On Thursday, June 14, the fair presents Peaches & Herb and Maxine Nightingale. The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley performs Thursday, June 21. The concert series comes to a close Thursday, June 28 with Ben E. King, singer of the hit “Stand By Me.”
The Coors Light Rock On Series late-night lineup features the best singers and bands in the western United States and some of the best tribute bands in the country. Admission to these concerts is for those 21 and older. Concerts start at 8:30 p.m. The shows are free with fair admission; no reserved seating. Performers in the series include psychedelic/rock/soul band Children of Nova, the Belly Up Music Festival and country band Against the Grain.
The fair’s final, massive concert series is the 2012 San Diego County Fair’s Toyota Summer Series on the Heineken Grandstand Stage, featuring a different ticketed concert for every night the fair is open. Most shows are free with fair admission for unreserved seats and some offer a dinner package in the grandstand’s famed Turf Club. However, reserved-seat tickets can be purchased for any show. Five shows are ticketed only.
Come play amongst the stars with the popular singers, comedians and bands who will be performing each night, including Cobra Starship, Demi Lovato, Cody Simpson, Switchfoot, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Jeff Dunham, Weird Al Yankovic, and many more.
The fair is more than great entertainment, though. What is a county fair without food? Check out some of the fair’s new, exciting food offerings. Chicken Charlie, the King of Deep-Fry, is offering deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, deep-fried cereal and deep-fried pork chops. He will also have a new food booth, The Pineapple Express, which will feature a number of pineapple dishes, including Maui Chicken Sliders, Pineapple House Shrimp over rice, all served in a hollowed-out pineapple bowl.
There’s also some space-worthy eats that even the strangest Martian couldn’t resist. The Del Mar Diner will be serving, among other offerings, deep-fried Tang, astronaut’s drink of choice.
Do you have a big group that wants to go, or you just can’t afford the ticket price for the fair? The fair has your back, with Albertsons $4 Fair Days, on Friday, June 8 and Tuesday, June 12. These special $4 tickets will be available only at Albertsons stores and will not be sold at the fairgrounds. A $10 minimum purchase is required, using an Albertsons Preferred card. Every Tuesday is Kids Day, with children 12 and under admitted free.
Those who have been on unemployment during the past 12 months also have a chance to visit the fair.
Two free fair tickets are available if you present an unemployment check stub from within the last 12 months and a photo ID at the will-call window next to the O’Brien Gate (main gate) on either Tuesday, June 19, or Tuesday, June 26.
This offer of two free fair tickets is also available for “Golden State ADVANTAGE” card holders on either of the same two days, with your card and a photo ID.
The 2012 San Diego County Fair will run for 24 days, blasting off Friday, June 8, and making its final landing Wednesday, July 4. The fair will be closed Mondays except July 2.
Gates open daily at 11 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. Saturdays, Sundays, and Monday, July 2. Admission is $13 for adults, $7 for ages 6 – 12 and 62 and older and free for ages 5 and younger.
Tickets for paid shows, dinner packages and reserved seats are available at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Durante Gate Box Office Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or through Ticketmasteror 800-745-3000. For more information, visit www.sdfair.com.
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