Don’t get me wrong, the kids and I really enjoyed the San Diego County Fair last summer. In fact, when I asked if they wanted to go back they were both a definite yes. But while I was there last year I kept thinking to myself that I really didn’t want to do it again.
Why? Well, because just about everything we did at the fair could be done in other parts of San Diego County for less money, with fewer crowds and in a more quality way. It’s something to experience, for sure, but I’m not so sure it needs to be done more than once every few years.
Fairs are known for their greasy foods, rinky dink rides, animals, music and other attractions. The San Diego County Fair certainly has it all. But there was hardly anything at the fair that we don’t already enjoy on a regular basis.
My kids love rides. From the carousel at Parkway Plaza mall with the fastest spinning tea cup I’ve ever encountered, to the fair-like rides at Belmont Park and Boomers, to “real” rides at Legoland and other local amusement parks, we get our fill of rides all year long. So we didn’t actually go on any of the fair rides. The lines were too long and the cost too high.
Instead we spent about $25 in hard-to-win arcade games, which really took the wind out of my kids’ sails. They just couldn’t believe that it was so difficult to actually win those giant stuffed animals. If you don’t want to seriously bum your young children out, keep away from the arcade games. Maybe the arcade games at Belmont and Seaworld are easier?
My kids love food and, interestingly, the greasy fair item they enjoyed the most was Hot Dog On A Stick‘s fried cheese, which of course we can get at the mall.
My kids love animals, and we all loved the 4H displays and the petting corrals at the fair. Oh and the “swifty swine” races are awesome. I haven’t found any other places in San Diego to race pigs, but we do love the petting corrals at the San Diego Zoo, Van Ommering’s Farm, Summer’s Past Farm and the recently closed Victoria’s Gardens. We’ve happily driven several times to Zoomer’s Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano, and we’d love to visit the animals at Bates Nut Farm soon. I recently found out that you can see these same 4H exhibits at other times of the year at the various “junior fairs” in East County and Ramona. Cool.
I see that the fair has a few dog show competitions this summer, which would be quite fun to see. My kids love the Pets Rule show at Seaworld, which has rescued cats and dogs running obstacle courses and performing tricks.
One really special thing we did at the SD Fair was ride on a monster truck. Oh yes, even momma loves the monster trucks so we sat through a couple of races one day and were thrilled to find out that we could all ride on a giant firetruck-turned-monster for only $5 per person. It was a fabulously bumpy and silly ride over dirt hills. Earlier this year we enjoyed Monster Jam at Qualcomm Stadium, but I admit it would have been more fun had we been able to hitch a ride with one of the trucks.
Another treat was the Three O’Clock Family Fun event with old fashioned contests like potato sack races, three legged races, and hula hooping. Typing this reminds me that I need to get some of those contests going at our next backyard BBQ!
If you check out the list of special events, you’re certain to find several reasons to visit the fair. I see things on there that I know my kids would like, so I am tempted to return. But whether we go or not, it doesn’t matter because we live in a town where the visiting fair isn’t the most fun thing going on all year! Don’t you love that?