Swinging This Way: The Big Summer County Fairs

The San Diego County Fair opens on the first Friday in June.

MIDWAYS ON THE WAY: County fair buffs love the competitions -- best banana bread, most beautiful quilt, cutest piglet, snappiest apple jam -- and they love rides -- the twirly, the upside down, the ones with the flashing lights -- but they love, possibly most of all, the general fair-a-tude that goes down. It can't be replicated, even by festivals of a similar nature. It's just the scent of roasted corn in the air and the blue-ribbon bunnies and the dance performances by local groups and the everything quainty that adds up to all of the fair's plentiful attributes.

FUN FOUR: And while county fairs unfurl at various points on the calendar throughout California, with one kicking off in winter (hello, Riverside County) to others pushing into the early fall, summertime is high time for midway marvels around Southern California. If you live within shouting distance of LA, and "shouting distance of LA" qualifies as several dozen miles, of course, then you've got four county fairs over the space of four consecutive months just ahead. You could, in fact, spend just about a fifth of a whole year going to the fair, if you went to the county fairs in San Diego, Orange County, Ventura, and Los Angeles every single day they're open. Goals, right? That's a big one. If you're going to take it on, or at least just visit every fair once, then best punch Friday, June 5 into your phone, for that's when the...

SAN DIEGO COUNTY FAIR... opens for its month-long run. Now when we say "month-long" you know, as a fair fan, that the longer fairs observe a one-to-two closed days per week, so always check before you go. The Del Mar extravaganza's closed day is Monday, with a couple of Tuesday in the mix. Along with the livestock and treats and rides look for The Toast of the Coast Wine Festival, San Diego International Beer Festival, a cocktail and spirit festival, and concerts from acts like Christina Perri and Greg Allman. 

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