Joe Phillips, left, and Lex Wolfcraft embrace the Alice in Wonderland, steampunk theme for this year’s San Diego County Fair. Photo by Tony Cagala
Community Del Mar Del Mar Featured Featured

This year’s fair wants to take you through the looking glass

DEL MAR — The San Diego County Fair has become the largest in the state and last year they saw more than 1.5 million people take in the live music, rides and, of course, the fried foods.

Fairgrounds General Manager Tim Fennell, speaking to the media on Tuesday, said he expects to break attendance records when this year’s fair wraps up after its 26-day run.

“What makes our fair so special…the largest fair in the state of California is the fact that every year we have a new theme,” said Linda Zweig, media relations representative for the fairgrounds.

Fair organizers came up with the idea this year to infuse the popularity of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” characters with steampunk, the burgeoning trend that infuses Victorian-era culture with futuristic technology.

“Every year, the theme infiltrates the entire fairgrounds,” Zweig added. “We have a theme exhibit that has new things to feature.”

One of the exhibits at the fair this year will feature one of the first published editions of Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” on loan from the University of Southern California.

Still fairground’s officials say they aren’t too worried about outgrowing their venue even as the event grows ever more popular each year.

“We have been filled almost to capacity on a daily basis. We’re all about customer service and safety,” said Zweig. “That would be a wonderful problem to have. And we would welcome that problem to have to say, ‘Enough,’ but we are just a very large facility.”

The San Diego County Fair opens June 3. For tickets, concert line-ups and more information,visit

Terry Weil, left, and Elena Lai Etcheverry, founder of Charity Wings Art Center in San Marcos, creates small top hats at a San Diego County Fair preview event for media. Photo by Tony CagalaDel Mar Fairgrounds General Manager Tim Fennell speaks to media Tuesday about this year’s fair, which opens June 3. Photo by Tony CagalaFrom left: Fair board President Fred Schenk, the White Rabbit, Fairgrounds General Manager Tim Fennell and Alice from Alice in Wonderland, pose for a photo. Photo by Tony CagalaStilt performers with the Dragon Knights weave their way through a crowd on Tuesday. Photo by Tony CagalaPerformers with the Dragon Knights ride on a contraption through the fairgrounds. Photo by Tony CagalaThe “Lord of the Rings,” hot dog from Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood will be a key staple at the San Diego County Fair when it opens June 3. Photo by Tony CagalaThe Krispy Kreme triple-decker cheeseburger will be one of the featured menu items from Chicken Charlie’s. Photo by Tony CagalaDiana Wu, left, bangs on a drum to preview Asian Festival Day June 12, while Ricky Rebel dances to the beat. Rebel will be performing at LGBT Day at the fair June 11. Photo by Tony CagalaThe White Rabbit heads back down the tunnel at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Tuesday. Photo by Tony CagalaAndy Cameron, a steampunk enthusiast, tastes some bacon-wrapped French toast. Photo by Tony CagalaErin Osterlind, left, and Melinda Layden as the “Queen of Hearts” from the “Alice in Wonderland” story at the fairgrounds. Photo by Tony CagalaPepperoni pizza is the latest to fall to the deep fryer at the San Diego County Fair. Photo by Tony CagalaFried lemonade on a stick is just another of the fair foods to expect this year. Photo by Tony Cagala

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