Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Del Mar Fair: A San Diego Tradition

Kids in garden displays at Fair



Boys riding on Wiggle Racers, $60 each at Fair but able to be ridden for free (one of the few free things there)



Gardens display -- the theme was "Rhapsody in Bloom" -- i.e., a musical theme.


I remember the smell from childhood: corn dogs, cinnamon rolls, popcorn, barbecue, grilled corn.... The smelly animal barns with wall-to-wall cattle, hogs, and turkeys, goats, sheep, and rabbits, all from 4H or FFA high school groups. We proceeded from the animals to the garden exhibits which all of us enjoyed, especially the fun tropical shack sponsored by Home Depot, complete with a wooden piano key path. After the garden area, we headed into the three large vendor halls, starting with the largest Bing Crosby Hall where sellers hawked their wares in booths promoting Vitamix juicers, Sparkletts water, Pampered Chef, Russian art, plastic flying toys, the afore-mentioned and -pictured Wiggle Racers, stained glass, Creative Memories, license plate frames, life insurance, roofing, Jacuzzis, aluminum ladders, magic tricks, fingernail polish pens, grandfather clocks, and just about everything else under the sun.

We took a break before the third vendor hall for our packed lunch: gluten-free crackers, tangerines and apples, cheese and salami, and chips. Although we had to pay the $10 parking fee, our chiropractor had given us free tickets to the fair which was the only reason we went in the first place, even though Keith had to work anyway. So the packed lunch helped us to save money as well. Even though most people go to the fair for the food, we only split a cinnamon-sugar funnel cake.

After we strolled through the final hall, Timothy wanted to see the mineral and gemstone exhibits which all the kids enjoyed, especially the glow-in-the-dark mineral room with the black lights. Timothy enjoyed showing off the garnet he found rock-hounding east of here, and we also met a homeschooling family that encouraged him to become involved with the nearest mineral society. (We'll see.) Timothy has been checking out every available book on rocks, minerals, and gems lately, even asking our librarian to order him extra books on the topic.

Next we headed into the midway area, past the people hawking games and past the far-too-expensive rides (around $5 each -- not going to happen with four kids!) and all the noise. Then we went back through the halls, the kids picking out their souvenirs (Jonathan and Benjamin pitching their money together for a magic set, Timothy eating his way through the fair with a peach smoothie and a gargantuan pretzel, and Elizabeth investing in the nail polish pens) and a final look through the animals and gardens before listening to a great band before leaving.

The almost seven hours we spent at the Del Mar Fair (I can never call it the San Diego Fair out of long habit) flew by fairly quickly (pardon the pun), and although I was seated in my electric scooter chair the whole time, it was still a tiring day. But it was a fun day, and a fun day that we wouldn't have had if it weren't for our very kind chiropractor and his wife who provided us with the free tickets. The boys haven't stopped performing magic tricks all day, and Elizabeth has had a great deal of fun experimenting with her nail polish pens.

And now I shall allow her to paint some Fourth of July fireworks on my fingernails....

2 comments:

Purplebears said...

Wow, how different your fair is from our small Miami County Fair. Miami County, KS that is. Our fair does not have themes or frills (Home Depot does not come to our fair...). But I can walk around it with ease, if it's evening and the sun is not melting me. Glad you were able to go - we make the fair part of our summer homeschooling adventure.

Susanne Barrett said...

Yeah, Kelly Clarkson is performing at the last concert on July 5. The concerts used to be free (I saw John Denver there before, and America, and Earth, Wind, and Fire, and....) but now cost $$ besides the steep entry price. Definitely a big-time operation. We saw maybe 25% of the fair in seven hours.

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