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San Diego County Fair Opens Today

The San Diego County Fair will begin its 22-day run today at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

This year's theme is "Race to the Fair'' and the fair will feature displays showcasing historic and modern cars, along with music, food and fun.

The first San Diego County fair was held in 1880, and this year's fair marks the 75th anniversary of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

An opening ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the O'Brien Gate with a marching band, the raising of the American flag, and singing of the national anthem.

Just inside the O'Brien Gate, fairgoers will have a chance to see exotic and luxury cars and cars used in the movies "Ghostbusters'' and "American Graffiti'' as part of the Cruisin' California exhibit. Visitors will also have the chance to get behind the wheel of a NASCAR simulator.

The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge will begin today and canines will compete in Olympic-style athletic events, such as diving and freestyle flying disc competitions. The event will be broadcast on television worldwide.

Musicians Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo will perform their hits at 7:30 p.m. on the Heineken Grandstand Stage and Bad Co, a San Diego-based Bad Company tribute band will perform at 9 p.m. on the Coors Light Rock-On Stage. Both shows are free with fair admission.

Area vendors will offer several deep fried treats such as deep fried chocolate-covered bacon, butter and Baby Ruths filled with jalapenos. Chicken Charlie's will bring back deep-fried favorites from previous fairs including the Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich and fried avocados, and will introduce new deep-fried delights. Healthier options such as oven-baked sandwiches and blue mussels also will be available.

Admission to the fair is $13 for adults and $7 for seniors and kids ages 6-12. Kids younger than 6 get in free. Gates open at 11 a.m. weekdays and at 10 a.m. weekends and the Fourth of July.

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