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Arts & Culture

San Diego County Fair goes 'Retro' this year

The San Diego County Fair is two weeks away and fair officials are already drumming excitement for the annual event.

Besides the staples — animals, rides and food — Chief Operating Officer Katie Mueller said there are lots of new and exciting attractions as well.

“We'll be using our brand new entertainment venue that just opened up in February of 2023," she said. "For the first time during the fair, we'll be holding entertainment shows in there, and they're theatrical productions that combine lights, music, sound, dance.”


This year's theme is "Let's go Retro!" The fair will bring the nostalgia of the past — from the '50s to the '90s — with exhibits showcasing relics such as the Game Boy and DVD ROMs.

"And also asking the question, what are people going to consider retro about 2024 someday?" Mueller said. "So It takes you on a walk through different eras of living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens. There's lots of fun interactive stuff to do, and it's a throwback to a different time."

And we can’t forget about the food. Mueller said there will be food that the fair’s never had before.

"We've got an oyster stand where you can get grilled oysters and lots of different flavors," she said.

Of course, Chicken Charlie’s always has something new to offer. This year, it's funnel cake dog — a hot dog inside a funnel cake batter, topped with maple syrup and powdered sugar.


“We've all had corn dogs. Everybody's had a corn dog. This takes corn dogs to a whole 'nother level,” said Charlie Boghosian, Chicken Charlie’s owner.

Beyond strange foods, the fair will have — for the first time — a Native American Powwow. The fair is also bringing back its Asian and Pacific Islander Festival Day to highlight San Diego cultural diversity.

"We're actually going to have a lot of fun experiences from organizations from around the community," said Lauren Garces, co-chair of the San Diego API Coalition. "They're gonna be doing a lot of retro Asian activities and experience. And we're going to have lots of fun performances throughout the day."

The fair opens June 12 and runs through July 7. Tickets range between $20 and $25 for adults and $13 to $22 for seniors and youths 12 and under. Children 5 and under are free.

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