How to Have the Best Experience at the 2024 San Diego County Fair

How to Have the Best Experience at the 2024 San Diego County Fair

The San Diego County Fair is back, and this year’s theme, “Let’s Get Retro,” promises to be a nostalgic journey through the decades. Running from June 12 to July 7 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the fair offers an array of activities, entertainment, and food that will transport you back to the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Here’s how to make the most of your visit to this iconic event.

Embrace the Retro Vibe

Dress the Part

Dive into the retro spirit by dressing up in attire from your favorite decade. Whether it’s poodle skirts and leather jackets from the ’50s, tie-dye and bell bottoms from the ’60s, disco outfits from the ’70s, neon colors and big hair from the ’80s, or grunge flannel from the ’90s, dressing up will enhance your fair experience and make for some fantastic photo opportunities. Dressing up not only makes the experience more immersive but also adds an extra layer of fun. Get your friends and family to join in, and you’ll have a blast recreating the styles of yesteryear.

Explore the Themed Zones

The fairgrounds will be divided into different zones, each representing a different decade. Take a stroll through each area to enjoy era-specific music, decor, and activities. From ’50s diners to ’90s tech exhibits, there’s something to spark nostalgia for everyone. Imagine stepping into a time capsule where each corner of the fair brings back memories or introduces you to the culture of different eras. This is your chance to relive the glory days or discover the past in a vibrant, engaging setting.

Indulge in Retro-Inspired Foods

Fair goers indulging on retro bites! Image from San Diego County Fair Facebook.

Retro Food Competition

On Friday, June 14, in addition to performances by R&B classics TLC, don’t miss the retro-themed food competition where concessionaires compete in categories like Sweet & Savory, Theme, WOW, and New. Enjoy unique culinary creations that may feature nostalgic ingredients like Velveeta, Pop Rocks, and Tang. Be sure to vote for your favorites and indulge in some Instagram-worthy bites. The competition aims to bring a creative twist to the flavors of the past, offering a deliciously fun way to experience culinary nostalgia.

Classic Fair Foods

Of course, no visit to the fair is complete without enjoying classic fair foods. Corn dogs, turkey legs, and ice cream are always a hit, but keep an eye out for new and innovative food offerings making their debut this year. Don’t miss out on the chance to try something new while also indulging in the traditional favorites that make the fair such a memorable event.

Enjoy the Entertainment

Grandstand Stage Line-Up for the Summer

Concerts and Performances

This year’s lineup includes a mix of classic and contemporary acts that will appeal to all ages. Enjoy performances by Old Dominion, TLC, Pepe Aguilar, Kings of Late Night with Arsenio Hall, Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, Smokey Robinson, Little Big Town, Ludacris, and Los Tucanes de Tijuana. Be sure to check the schedule and plan to see your favorite artists. Whether you’re into country, hip-hop, comedy, or rock, the diverse lineup ensures there’s something for everyone.

Live Shows and Competitions

From livestock shows to home arts competitions, there’s always something happening at the fair. Check out the schedule for daily events and make sure to catch a few live shows. These events showcase the talents and creativity of the community, offering everything from animal showcases to cooking contests, ensuring that every visit to the fair is unique and engaging.

Maximize Your Fun with BlastPass

Thrill Rides and Games

If you love carnival rides, the BlastPass is your ticket to non-stop fun. Purchase your BlastPass early to take advantage of discounts and get access to the best rides and games in the Fun Zone. Thrill-seekers won’t want to miss the gravity-defying attractions. The Fun Zone features a wide range of rides, from gentle carousels for the little ones to adrenaline-pumping roller coasters for the brave at heart. The earlier you buy, the more you save, and the more fun you get to experience.

Plan Your Visit

Fun for the whole family. Image from San Diego County Fair Facebook.

Tickets and Discounts

Tickets to the fair range from $20 to $25 depending on the day of the week. To save on admission and rides, consider purchasing tickets and BlastPasses in advance. This will ensure you get the best deals and avoid long lines. Check the fair’s website for special promotions and group discounts to make your visit even more affordable.

Family-Friendly Activities

The San Diego County Fair is perfect for families, with plenty of kid-friendly activities, including rides, games, and interactive exhibits. Make sure to check out the schedule for special family events and plan accordingly. Kids will love the petting zoos, magic shows, and hands-on craft activities, while parents can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a safe, family-oriented environment.


The San Diego County Fair‘s “Let’s Get Retro” theme promises a fun-filled, nostalgic trip through the decades. Whether you’re a fan of retro fashion, classic fair foods, thrilling rides, or live entertainment, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Plan your visit, dress the part, and get ready for an unforgettable experience at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. This year’s fair is set to be a celebration of the past, present, and future, bringing the community together for a summer of joy and memories.

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