Out of this World Deals for the 2012 San Diego County Fair

San Diego County Fair Ride
San Diego County Fair Ride

Ride This for Less

The San Diego County Fair will be “Out of this World” when it kicks off June 8 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The theme promises everything from space exploration and science fiction to visitors from other planets. But there’s plenty that we Earthlings can do to keep our fair expenses grounded.

Save on Admission

San Diego County Fair Best Pass Ever

  • For super fans, the Best Pass Ever can’t be beat. It includes daily admission – all 24 days of the fair – for just $24. You’ll need a school or government-issued photo ID to use the pass.
  • Tuesdays are the magic day for kids 6-12 years old. They get in free! Kids 5 and younger get in free everyday.
  • Kiddies can’t make it on a Tuesday? No problem. Youngsters 6-12 can get in free any day if they read 10 books and have it verified by their teacher or librarian. The certificate you’ll need to get signed can be downloaded in English or Spanish.
  • Adults can get $4 admission on opening day and on Tuesday, June 12. You’ll need a ticket available with any $10 purchase at Albertsons stores. (Tickets must be purchased in advance; none will be available at the fair.)
  • Been laid off in the past year? Present an unemployment check stub and a photo ID at the will-call window on June 19 or 26 to get free admission for yourself and a guest.
  • County auto dealers are in on the action this year. Starting June 1, visit a Toyota dealership to get a coupon valid for two adult admissions for the price of one. Visit a Ford dealership to get a 4-tickets-for-$28 coupon.

Free Entertainment and Unlimited Rides

San Diego County Fair Bike Ride

  • Once you’re inside, there are tons of free things to enjoy – including concerts by big name artists. Get free unreserved seats at performances by top artists including Kenny Loggins, KC & the Sunshine Band, Ben E. King, Bill Medley, Switchfoot, Lonestar, Grand Funk Railroad and La Arrolladora Banda El Limón.
  • Love the rides? Wednesdays and Thursdays until June 28 are “Pepsi Pay-One-Price” days. For $30, get a wristband that allows unlimited access to Fun Zone and Kiddieland rides from noon until 8:00 pm. The deal is available on certain other days – but you’ll have to check availability, then buy and print out your Pay-One-Price voucher online. (There’s a $2.50 fee for online purchases.)


San Diego County Fair Chicken on the Grill

Savings Fresh from the Grill

  • On Tuesdays more than 100 food vendors offer smaller portions for $2. Or bring your own picnic; there are six designated picnic areas. (No alcohol, glass containers or sharp utensils.)


  • Avoid the fair’s $10 parking fee by opting for free parking at Horsepark, about 2 miles east of the fairgrounds, at 14550 El Camino Real; a free shuttle will get you to the front gate. On weekends and Wednesdays there’s additional free parking (with shuttle service) at Torrey Pines High and Mira Costa College’s San Elijo campus.

> Find More Exciting Things to Do Before and After the Fair at SanDiego.org

Know of any other great San Diego County deals or savings? Let us and others know in the comments below. Even if you don’t know of any, tell us what deep-fried treat you are most looking forward to trying.

This entry was posted in Insider Tips, San Diego Events and tagged , , , , , , by Alison. Bookmark the permalink.

About Alison

I’m a junkie. Addicted to travel. Logged 15 years as Travel Editor at the San Diego Union-Tribune – a labor of love. But always appreciate coming home to my favorite city: San Diego. My newest labor of love is an app – San Diego Essential Guide – a tool that lets me share with other travelers what I love most about my hometown.

How would you describe your ideal San Diego Day?

I’d meet girlfriends at South Mission for a low-tide walk along the ocean front to Pacific Beach. Before heading back, we’d hit a boardwalk restaurant for an eggs Benedict breakfast.  We’d spend the afternoon at La Jolla Shores with our boogie boards – sun and fun in 72-degree-plus waves.  I’d meet my husband for a sunset picnic on a grassy oceanfront bluff at Coast Boulevard Park. We’d end up at Humphreys Backstage Live on Shelter Island, dancing the night away.

If you were invisible, where would you go?

Can’t think of anyplace I wouldn’t want to be seen in San Diego – except maybe Lindbergh Field, if it would help me speed through security and avoid the body scanner.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguini and red wine?

Dad was a commercial fisherman, so I’m spoiled. Give me barely seared ahi, fresh crab or a fish taco.

What’s your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

Fishing – it’s in my blood. But I’m happy doing anything where I can smell saltwater: paragliding from Torrey Pines, kayaking the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, riding my boogie board, picnicking on the beach, chillin’ at a Summer Pops concert.

Latest music purchases for my iPod/MP3 player?

I’m downloading more apps than music these days. My iPod is full of funky Old School stuff – the best of MJ, Gap Band, Gnarls Barkley, Cameo, Hammer and lots of old Motown sounds: Temptations, Four Tops, The Miracles.

4 thoughts on “Out of this World Deals for the 2012 San Diego County Fair

  1. Wow. It’s fun place to visit. Is the promotion still going on? I’d like to take my kids there. And what’s that ride called? The one in the photo.

  2. Pingback: Foodie Friday: 2012 San Diego County Fair Food Edition

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