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Arts & Culture

'Get Out There' to this year's San Diego County Fair

The San Diego County Fair is encouraging San Diegans to explore the great outdoors with its theme this year: "Get Out There."

The fair opens Wednesday and runs through July 4, with Mondays and Tuesdays closed in June.

"We're just really excited because it's all about exploring not only the fair but really the regional parks and everything that San Diego County has to offer in outdoor activity," said Carlene Moore, CEO of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

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The fair is decorated with a camping theme with scenes of some of the California state parks and the animals found there. The fair has partnered with the county Parks and Recreation Department and the state parks on exhibits and workshops about native plants and animals.

"There'll be live presentations every single day throughout the day," said Jessica Geiszler, spokesperson for Parks and Recs. "Those do include live reptile presentations. We also have live birds of prey workshops. We have nature crafts. We have info on biodiversity and the multiple species conservation programs, survival skills workshops — all kinds of great stuff."

The outdoor theme isn't limited to just the decorations. It stretches to the food offerings too. Moore said this year's food vendors really got into the spirit of the theme.

"This year we feature a lot of s'mores or camp-inspired foods," she said. "Several of our vendors are as well."

While fair food has a reputation for being rich, greasy and fried — and there will be plenty of that, to be sure — this year's fair also has healthy and sustainable options.

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"Wicked Kitchen is a new concept that we're rolling out," said Barry Schneider, the executive chef of Premier Food Services at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. "We're trying to be on the cutting edge of sustainability."

It's an all-vegan offering with menu items such as the Amaze-bao, an Italian "meatball" wrapped in a steamed bao, pickled vegetables, jalapeño, cucumber, cilantro with sweet chili sauce and spicy slaw.

There's also the Wicked Italian Amazeballs.

"The base of the pasta is zucchini and yellow squash with meatballs on it," Schneider said. "It's our take on spaghetti and meatballs."

For those who are lactose-intolerant, Wicked Kitchen also offers non-dairy ice cream.

No county fair is complete without the rides. This year, more than 20 ride operators will be working the midway. The familiar Ferris wheel and rollercoaster will be there, but this year there will be two new rides — the Medusa and Joker.

Moore said there hasn't been a new ride at the fair for a while, "so that's exciting."

"The Joker is a spinning whirly-twirly (that) flips you around 360 degrees while also rotating you on a 360-degree axis while the Joker laughs at you," she said.

The Medusa is a hair-raising 126-feet-tall ride that spins you around vertically on its two arms.

For those who are adventure minded, there are the fair's speakeasies — yep, there are two this year. In addition to Destination Unknown, the tiki-themed speakeasy, there's also the Secret Stache with a Roaring Twenties theme.

This is the place to find news, information and resources to help you make decisions about the children under your care and support you in this adventure we call "parenting."