San Diego County Fair Deals and Discounts – 2013


It’s “Game On” at the San Diego County Fair! This year, the Fair will spotlight classic and nostalgic games and show how these have evolved over the years; from board games and pinball, to television, videos and computers, technology has enhanced the gaming culture beyond our dreams.

Are you ready to hit start? Play at the Fair and save plenty of gold coins (a.k.a cash) with these deals and discounts:

Admission to the Fair

Adult admission to the San Diego County Fair costs $14 – but deals abound:

  • 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.) Youngsters 12 and younger 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 Tuesday, June 11 or June 18. You’ll need a ticket available with any $10 purchase at Albertsons/SavOn 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 18 or 25 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-$32 coupon.

Once Inside the Fair


Once you’re inside, there are tons of free things to enjoy – including concerts by big name artists. Headliners offering free unreserved seats this year include the Beach Boys,  REO Speedwagon, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Switchfoot, Chubby Checker, Colbie Caillat and La Arrolladora Banda El Limón.


Love the rides? On “Pepsi Pay-One-Price” days, spend $35 for a wristband that allows unlimited access to Fun Zone and Kiddieland rides from noon until 8:00 PM.  The deal is valid June 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 26 and 27. On valid Wednesdays or Thursdays, wristbands are for sale at the fair; on other valid days, they must be purchased online (You’ll buy and print out your Pay-One-Price voucher online; there’s an additional $2.50 fee for online purchases.)


Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe - San Diego County Fair

This year, try the new Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe at the San Diego County Fair!

Food? On Tuesdays, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, 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 metal utensils are allowed on the fairgrounds.)

Getting to the San Diego County Fair


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 July 4 there’s additional free parking (with shuttle service) at Torrey Pines High and Mira Costa College’s San Elijo campus.

Public Transportation

Taking public transportation to the fair is a super deal. For $15, travel roundtrip on the Coaster and get free fair admission. The “Fair Tripper” is valid for any age, but those 62 and older save more by buying fair admission and Coaster tickets separately. Kids 5 and younger ride the Coaster free and get free fair admission.

> Find More Exciting Things to Do this Summer in San Diego

Know of any other great San Diego County Fair 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.


Foodie Friday: San Diego County Fair Food Edition

Deep-fried Trix Cereal - San Diego County Fair
The 2012 San Diego County Fair is Out of this World

This Years Food Options are Out of the World!

It”s an annual culinary tradition like no other. Hungry participants wonder, “What unusual creation will they cook up this time? How will these food daredevils top themselves this year?” No, it”s not an episode of Iron Chef, and it”s definitely not the James Beard awards…it”s the San Diego County Fair.

Before you head to the San Diego County Fair, Discover Out of This World Deals and Savings!

Carnival games and live music are part of the fun, but food is a major draw for many visitors to the annual event, as vendors compete with each other to see who can create the most outlandish concoctions. This year”s fair theme is “Out of This World,” and that just might be how you would describe many of the menu offerings. Here”s a little sampling of what you can expect to feast on.

Put Bacon On It

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Legs - San Diego County Faironline casino width=”520″ height=”346″ />

Bacon-wrapped jumbo turkey legs go for a spin at the San Diego County Fair

The most talked about offerings usually include just about anything wrapped in bacon or deep-fried, and this year is no exception. In the bacon-wrapped category, you”ll find everything from bacon blanketed hot dogs to “Porky Poppers,” bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeños. But if size is what you”re after, then a bacon-wrapped turkey leg just might be what you”re looking for.


Deep-Fried Trix Cereal - San Diego County Fair

Deep-fried cereal, Trix variety

Last year, fried Kool Aid had the nation all atwitter. This year, the buzz is over deep-fried cereal – you have your choice of Trix or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. You”ll also find “Pie Fries” (deep-fried pie crust strips with strawberry preserves on the side), a “Chili Asteroid” (chili and cheese, deep-fried in a hush-puppy batter), and – continuing with the fried drink mix experiment – deep-fried Tang.

Deep-fried Trix Cereal - San Diego County Fair

Will deep-fried Trix be any good? There's only one way to find out.

Fresh Lobster

Lobster at the San Diego County Fair

The Fresh Lobster is Delicious

Another new offering in the San Diego County Fair”s dining selection is…lobster?! Yes, you read that right! In their fair debut, The Lobster Shack is serving up steamed Maine lobster tails.

With so many options, what will you try at this year”s fair?


5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

Painting - Kidsfest San Diego

This is a perfect weekend to bring the kids to San Diego for a whole host of family friendly events. Below are your five to try.

1. Kidsfest San Diego

Painting - Kidsfest San Diego

The second annual KidsFest will transform the NTC Promenade in Point Loma, June 9 and 10 into a wonderland of play, with activities designed to stimulate and celebrate the imagination. Signature events include a Creation Station, where kids can paint masterpieces or Dance Avenue – a pure, nonstop musical haven for kids to drum or dance the day away. Save $2 with this coupon for everyone!

2. San Diego County Fair

San Diego County Fair Best Pass Ever

Opening June 8 and running through July 4, the San Diego County Fair invites the universe to its “Out Of This World” celebration! Explore both the serious and not-so-serious sides of space exploration. Don’t forget to try some of the out of this world food offerings including the Porkabello Kabob (bacon-wrapped, Gouda-stuffed portabella mushrooms on a stick) or Deep-Fried Cereal!

3. Julian Gold Rush Days

3 Miners - Julian Gold Rush Days

Drive up to Julian on June 9th or 10th to experience the Julian Gold Rush Days. Activities include historical encampments (with a chance to meet miners, mountain men & cowboys!), gun fighting, reenactments & mock claim jumping, tomahawk throwing demonstrations, and gold panning. The old-fashioned mining camp will offer free admission, vendors, an arts & crafts market, food & drink, gem mining, children’s pioneer games, free parking & plenty of family fun.

4. Carlsbad Beach Fest

Carlsbad Beach Fest, photo Ed Andrews

Carlsbad Beach Fest. Photo Courtesy of Ed Andrews

Head up the coast on June 9 for the fifth annual Carlsbad Beach Fest. Join over The Fest brings together the community for a fun-filled annual celebration on one mile of beach, stretching from Pine Avenue to Tamarack State Beach. The festival features competitive sporting events, live music on multiple stages, food, green product vendors, kite-flying, sand-sculpting, a health and safety expo, opportunity drawings and prizes, a massive beach cleanup and much more.

5. Taste of Gaslamp

Taste of Gaslamp Logo 2012

Taste of Gaslamp

Dine your way around one of San Diego’s most liveliest neighborhoods during the two-day Taste of Gaslamp. The Gaslamp Quarter Association hosts a great food sampling event each year, showcasing its Chefs & World Class Restaurants. This fantastic and delicious event June 9 and 10 provides an opportunity to test out many locations in one afternoon.

> Find More Great Events on the Event Calendar at

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Katie S.

This is It: Michael Jackson Celebrations

Can you tell I'm a fan?

This is it: Friday it will be a full year since we lost Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. Find a spot in San Diego to celebrate his life and remember his greatest hits.

In honor of the first anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, Hornblower Cruises and Magic FM has planned a rockin’ celebration onboard Inspiration Hornblower with a live band playing the pop star’s music all night long.  Put on your white socks and black shoes and dance under the full moon on the sky deck 30 feet off the water and 10,000 square foot open air dance floor! A portion of proceeds Benefiting Lions Tigers and Bears, a non-profit rescue facility dedicated to providing a safe haven for unwanted and abused exotic cats.

The San Diego County Fair has a full-day of Michael Jackson activities planned. Be on your toes all day, as two “flash mobs” are planned, with over 200 actors in full makeup will be performing the Thriller dance. Kids will have a chance to learn to moonwalk just like the King of Pop and take photos with Michael Jackson impersonators walking around the park. A special showing of “This is It” will be shown on the video screen at the Paddock at two separate times during the night, and “Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band” will be performing.

So dig through your closet tonight, find your white, sequined glove, and wear it with pride at one of these celebrations tomorrow!

Katie S.

Taste of the San Diego Fair

In honor of the San Diego County Fair’s theme “Taste of the Fair,” my husband and I set out accomplish one goal: to find him the most outrageous fair food and take pictures of him eating it. After doing a pre-food walk around to listen to music and burn off some pre-feasting calories, we came upon one of my (guilty) fair favorites, the Australian Battered Potatoes. Think giant potato wedges, but more amazing and served in a bucket with nacho cheese and ranch dressing on the side.

First course
Although the potatoes were delicious, we were set out to find something outrageous. You can have french fries every day if you want. Maybe even french fries served in buckets. No, we were looking for the big-time fair food, and soon after, we found the fair food Mecca.

Fair Food Mecca

Everything we had hoped to find and consume at the fair was right in front of us. For those adventurous folks who are still reading, you can find this stand directly across from the bungee jumping, which I can assure you we did not try after eating. If you can read the food on the photo, you’ll see that this food stand had apple fries, chocolate covered bacon, and the fair’s newest addition, deep fried butter. Yes, fried butter, something that not even Paula Deen has created to my knowledge. Out to prove his manliness and show off his steel stomach, my husband ordered apple fries, chocolate covered bacon, and deep fried butter, with a side of Diet Pepsi. I watched in pure amazement and horror as my husband ate substantial amounts of each.

Deep fried butter, in all its deep fried glory

And that right there my friends, is deep fried butter. Two deep fried sticks of butter atop  a cloud of funnel cake, topped with whipped cream. After consuming all three of these decadent items it was decided that chocolate covered bacon was the day’s winner. Served in a to-go box, it was perfect for toting around the fair and sharing with friends. In fact, he would have brought a box home had I not been worried about his blood pressure. Although we didn’t get around to trying some of the newest fair foods such as the four-pound belly buster burger, funnel cake on a stick or deep fried pop tarts, we’re hoping that some of you will get out to the fair to try these and let us know your verdict.

The San Diego County Fair will be at the Del Mar Fairgrounds until July 5th, so make sure to save the date and some room in your stomach!


Oh, Say Can You See?

Independence Weekend is upon us with gorgeous sunny weather, cool Pacific breezes and my personal favorite…fireworks! 

I’ve told you about some of big celebrations but, where’s the best place to watch the show?

  • The Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Boom is the biggest of them all and offers the most viewing spots.  More than 750,000 people are expected to head to San Diego Bay for the event so, arrive early at Shelter Island, Harbor Island, the Embarcadero Marina Parks or the Coronado Ferry Landing to scout out your viewing spots.  The rockets red glare kicks off at 9 p.m.
  • At the same time, on the other side of Coronado, fireworks will be lighting up the sky over Glorietta Bay.  Nab a spot along Strand Way, Glorietta Blvd. or by the golf course for the best views.
  • Mission Bay has a whole mess of fireworks.  First, at 9 p.m., the Mission Bay Yacht Club will be lighting up the sky.  Then, at 9:30 Shamu and friends take over with SeaWorld’s  Shamu’s Skysplash.  Great viewing spots are available from land and on water throughout the 4,000 acre Mission Bay Park or in surrounding neighborhoods with higher elevation, like Bay Park and Point Loma.
  • Fireworks in Ocean Beach kick off at 9 p.m. and can be seen from any OB beaches, the pier or anywhere up the hills leading into Point Loma.
  • It was touch and go this year due to the economy but the La Jolla fireworks will be bursting in air at 9 p.m.  Watch from locations around the Cove or out on La Jolla Shores Beach.
  • At the Del Mar Fairgrounds, San Diego County Fair fireworks kick off at 9 p.m. followed by a concert by Smokey Robinson at 9:30 p.m.  Both free with admission.  (Bonus, fair food!) 

Watch a video of the Big Bay Boom after the jump…

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5 To Try This Weekend

So much to see, so much to eat and so much to sip this weekend!

  1. This Friday and Saturday check out the 3rd Annual San Diego International Beer Festival at the San Diego County Fair where beer lovers can sample more than 300 brews from 17 countries and 20 states.  Of course, some of San Diego’s finest craft brews will be there too; (see Kate’s Get Hoppy post below).  The event takes place in the fair’s Chevrolet Del Mar Arena from 4 -8 p.m. on Friday and noon-7 p.m. on Saturday. Ticket prices range from $20-$43 and include fair admission, a souvenir tasting cup and best of all, a wristband that provides unlimited one-ounce samplings of beer. (And you thought the fair food was something to talk about!)
  2. chili here we come

    chili here we come


  3. The 30th Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-off kicks-off this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on OB’s main drag, Newport Avenue.  Here, you’ll find  live musical performances on 5 stages, 2 beer gardens, a skateboard exhibition, carnival rides, more than 200 vendors and so much more… oh yeah, and delicious chili!  I don’t know about you, but this is where I’ll be on Saturday.
  4.   Continue reading

Katie S.

Floral Frenzy at the San Diego Fair

Sure the San Diego County Fair is about rides, rodeos and crazy food concoctions, but I’d like to highlight my 2nd favorite part of the fair: The garden exhibits. My favorite part of the fair is actually the petting zoo, but writing a whole post  called “My Love of Sheep” or “How I Wish I Could Hug All of the Cows and Goats in the World” might get old quickly.

The theme of this year’s fair is “Music Mania,” and the floral arrangements and gardens truly create a symphony of blossoms inspired by music. Before you say, “Flowers are boring – bring on the funnel cake,” take a glance at some of the unique floral masterpieces:

Floral Piano

Look mom, I grew a piano!

Piano Player Topiary

Play me away, topiary piano man

Drum Kit Planter

World's quietest drum set

Pique your interest? Then be sure to check out the garden exhibits when you visit the San Diego County Fair, right next to the hot tub exhibit. Not only is it an amazing way to experience floral art, but it’s also a great place to enjoy some shade and rest your aching belly after too many Zucchini-Weenies.