Independence Day at the County Fair

San Diego County Fair 2013

San Diego County Fair 2013

Thursday was closing day at the San Diego County Fair. It always ends with a bang on the Fourth of July. I decided to take a break from translating and join my friend Suzanne to celebrate our nation’s independence. The weather was perfect, with that silky summer humidity that I love when the temperature is just right. We had fun!

Our fair happens to be one of the biggest in the world, with total attendance this year exceeding 1.4 million. The last day is always the best and the most exciting, culminating with fireworks on the Del Mar Racetrack infield. There was no sign of a recession as more than 92,000 people lined up to buy extreme food, tickets to thrill rides, chances at games of skill, gadgets they never knew they needed, and a gazillion other treats and treasures.

The food was mind-boggling. This year’s theme appeared to be bacon, with wild boar bacon kabobs, bacon truffle fries, cheesy bacon bombs, jumbo bacon corn dogs, bacon-wrapped turkey drumsticks, bacon cotton candy—and even bacon beer! Turkey drumsticks (with or without bacon, or dipped in chocolate) were everywhere. People gnawing away at them make me think of life in the seventeenth century and the famous Tom Jones eating scene (http://movieclips.com/Dikc-tom-jones-movie-a-tantalizing-feast/)—genteel by comparison. I settled for run-of-the-mill squid and garlic-battered artichoke hearts, and Suzanne was even less venturous with a meatball sandwich. For dessert we resisted the deep-fried cookie dough and opted for cream puffs, which were actually five-inch towers of whipped cream (available in red, white, and/or blue) with caps of pastry on top.

The gardens are always a must-do for me, and this year they were especially creative, though possibly not as vivid and lush as they used to be when water conservation wasn’t on everyone’s mind. I photographed a number of ideas for my latest client (a condo association looking to redo their courtyard). The gardens were also the setting for a series of same-sex weddings. We watched one of them and were very touched.

The main drag blared with sound and light, yet we decided to have chair massages at one of the “Relaxation Stations.” What a cool trip that was, going into deep relaxation with thousands of people milling around!

Fireworks from the Ferris wheel

Fireworks seen from the Giant Ferris Wheel

We managed to see a number of exhibits. My one tangible souvenir is a snazzy pair of wrap-around shades, but I also came home with lots of photos, as well as memories of experiences that I only get to have once a year.

The high point, literally, was the Giant Ferris Wheel. As luck would have it, we were aloft when the fireworks started. Boom!!! What an awesome spectacle! Yessssss!!!! I love the Fair!

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2 Responses to Independence Day at the County Fair

  1. Nicole

    Sounds like a fabulous 4th!!!!! What fun!