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Vendors and ride operators look forward to economic boost from San Diego County Fair

The San Diego County Fair doesn't open for a couple more weeks, but the fairgrounds are already an active scene. Vendors, exhibits and ride operators are preparing to get everything up and running ahead of the fair's opening day.

“We have set up, we have tear down, we have operation, we have transport, and we have maintenance,“ said Bruce Perelman, an independent fair ride owner for the San Diego County Fair.

He's from Santa Monica but spends February and October traveling from fair to fair with his fair rides.

Undated picture of a campfire cone by S'mores N' More.
Courtesy of S'mores N' More

"It's a full-time job and an occupation. We are doing a little maintenance ... and we have people making sure we're doing it right so everything is safe," he said.  

Perelman says when it comes to fair rides, the state of California has a robust set of inspections before the fair opens. “We have inspectors from the fair, we have inspectors from the state, and we have our own inspectors. So safety is paramount for all of us. No one is in this business to see anybody get hurt.” 

The business is about seeing the community have fun, and part of the fair fun is also the food.

Vincenzo Giammanco is a new vendor this year and brings along S'mores N' More.
"We have this concept of doing a s'mores area. You can come with your family and roast s'mores," he said. "We also have some walking desserts, (including) a campfire cone, which is a s'mores cone (that) you’re able to walk around with and eat. We also have s'mores boards, which is an array of different candies and stuff like that."

Giammanco says with all of the different food options for visitors, all vendors look for ways to stand out.


Because at the end of the day, the fair is an economic driver for all involved.

"It's all of the small businesses that rely on the fair for their revenue. So all of the vendors in the commercial halls, all of the food vendors, many of them travel the fair circuit and this is what they do for their business all year long ... and of course all of the ride and game owners," said Katie Mueller, chief operating officer of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

She says getting things ready for the fair is a group effort, and part of that effort are the hundreds of seasonal workers the fair hires. Employment opportunities are still available.

The fair opens on June 7 and runs until July 4.

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