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Del Mar Fairgrounds - On the Ocean - San Diego North Del Mar Fairgrounds
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Fair breaks all-time attendance record

Released: July 04, 2016

1,609,481 Fairgoers were "Mad About the Fair"

SAN DIEGO, CA - The 2016 San Diego County Fair, presented by Albertsons|Vons, had its highest-ever attendance and was the longest Fair at 26 days, kicking off summer in San Diego with the Wacky, Wild and Whimsical “Mad About The Fair” theme and Steampunk twist. A total of 1,609,481 guests came through the gates between June 3 and July 4 (the Fair was closed six days during that period) celebrating Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the classic story written in 1865 by Lewis Carroll. This year, the day with the highest attendance of 96,501 was on Sunday, July 3, placing that date within the top four attendance dates in the Fair’s history.

The 2015 Fair ran 25 days and had a final attendance of 1,503,538. The previous attendance record was set in 2012, with a total of 1,517,508 guests.

Fair guests of all ages embraced the theme, many arriving in costume and participating in numerous theme-related events during the Fair. At the same time, traditions of the Fair such as rides, unusual food, competitive exhibits and agricultural displays brought in Fair guests in search of their fondest memories and first-time county fair experiences.

The San Diego County Fair first opened in 1880 to bring county farmers together to share ideas and see who had the best citrus fruit, fastest horse and who baked the best pie. Since then the Fair has grown to one of the top 10 fairs in North America, as our county has expanded to more than three million residents and continues to represent the diversity and interests of all people.

2016 Statistics:

• Total Attendance: 1,609,481
• Largest day attendance: Sunday, July 3 with 96,501
• 67th annual Livestock Auction: raised $432,031 for 4-H and FFA youth.


2016 San Diego International Beer Festival welcomed 8,500 guests over the three-day event.
2016 Toast of the Coast Wine Competition and Festival entertained 926 guests at two tasting sessions during the one-day event.
2016 Distilled: Spirit and Cocktail Festival welcomed 1,033 guests at the one-day event.

Food Facts:

Dixie’s Donuts fried more than 188,000 mini donuts.
Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls used 15,000 pounds of cinnamon roll flour, and three tons of cinnamon and sugar to make their famous pastries. Those tasty rolls were covered with 1,500 pounds of cream cheese frosting and 360 pounds of walnuts. Country Fair also served more than 1,000 cinnamon roll sundaes. Fairgoers savored their dessert by enjoying 500 pounds of organic coffee flavored with 52 cases of vanilla and hazelnut creamer.
Corn Star grilled 50,000 ears of corn.
Pink’s sold more than 20,800 hot dogs.
Australian Battered Potatoes used more than 14,000 pounds of potatoes, 8,400 pints of oil, 240 gallons of ranch dressing, 60 cases of cheese sauce, 200 pounds of bacon, and 150 pounds of sour cream. That translates to 4,000 buckets of potatoes, with the ranch, cheese and bacon offering as their best seller.
Tasti Chips used 25 tons of California-grown potatoes for chips. The chips were topped with 17,000 orders of cheese sauce and 250 pounds of Parmesan garlic cheese. Tasti Chips also served 10,000 pounds of French Fries with 1,500 gallons of Heinz Ketchup and 720 gallons of Tapatio sauce. The chips and fries were fried in 1,000 gallons of 100 percent pure peanut oil.
Bacon-A-Fair used more than 21,000 pounds of bacon this season in their various offerings. Their new French Toast Bacon Bombs used 15 gallons of maple syrup. Their new Bacon-Wrapped Baked Potatoes used 42 buckets of sour cream.
Pignotti’s sold well over 1,000 Pasta Salad Bread Bowls, and 1,500 Lasagna Sandwiches. Their seafood-loving customers snapped up 2,500 fish tacos and 2,000 Fish & Chips.
Grilled Cheese A-Fair cooked 600 grilled cheese sandwiches every day – that’s about 15,600 grilled cheese sandwiches, a 55 percent increase over 2015. Their top-selling grilled cheese sandwiches: Pulled Pork and Chicken & Waffle.
Biggy’s Meat Market sold two tons of Giant Big Ribs and eight tons of potatoes for fresh cut curly fries.
Candy Factory went through two tons of ice for the Mad Hatter Monster Shaved Ice Crazy Cones and what seemed like an orchard of apples.
Squeezers Lemonade squeezed more than 1,200 cases of lemonade and added three tons of sugar. And since lemonade is easily spilled, Squeezers went through four miles of roll napkins.
Chicken Charlie’s sold 10,000 “Chicken in the Waffle on A Stick,” 2,000 orders of Shrimp Fried Rice and 7,000 pounds of Kool-Aid Hot Wings.
400 pounds of Sweet Pork and 2,250 pounds of pastrami were toppings for Grinders French fries (5,400 pounds of fries, to be exact) in their sandwiches. Grinders also went through 400 pounds of cheese and 600 pounds of turkey breast. They sold 450 of the new “Angry Chicken Sandwich.”

Juicy’s sold more than 75,000 of their new all-natural, hormone free hamburgers – the “All American Bacon Cheeseburger,” and the “Western Burger.”

Contests and Special Events:

14,000 school children brought in their Plant *Grow* Eat radishes and other vegetables.
Number of pieces of pie consumed at the Pie Eating Contest: 1,129
Number of babies entered in the three Baby Derby Contests: 29
Number of National Anthem singers at the daily Opening Ceremonies: 71
Number of Scout Troops that participated in the daily Flag Raising Ceremony at Opening Ceremonies: 130
Number of participants in the Flag Raising Program at Opening Ceremonies (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Marines): 1,465
Number of kids learning magic at the Abra-Kid-Abra Magic Camp: 170
Number of participants in the Father/Child Lookalike Contest: 54
Number of pieces of bubble gum chewed in the Bubble Gum Blowing Contest: 239
Number of participants at the Three O’Clock Fun Contests: 1,050
Number of participants in the Best Dance Crew competition: 434
Number of participants in the In the Spotlight competition, youth division: 92
Number of participants in the In the Spotlight competition, teen division: 104
Number of participants in the Singer/Songwriter competition: 178
Number of bands in the Battle of the Bands competition: 56
Number of photos taken with the Fair Mascots: 1,602
Number of entertainment applications received: 755
Number of entertainment groups booked: 650


Crazy Mouse
Grand Wheel
Fast Trax
Olympic Bobs
Sky Flyer
Alien Abduction

Super Bungee

An estimated 2,600 took the Bungee Plunge during the Fair. About 60 people got cold feet! The youngest jumper this year was 7; the oldest, 72.

Red, White and Boom!

Fireworks America, based in Lakeside, California, designed the Fourth of July Fireworks Show. The 20-minute display consisted of:
220 2.5” shells
395 3” shells
156 4” shells
116 5” shells
96 6” shells
24 8” shells
Total Aerial Shells: 1,007


Waste stream of 2,167 tons of material used during 2016 Fair.
1,496 tons were recycled, used for alternative daily cover, turned into biofuel or sent to be composted.
This resulted in a 69% diversion rate from the landfill and an estimated $27,917 in earned revenue.
Final numbers available at a later date.

Lost and Found:

57 pieces of jewelry (mostly costume)
58 sets of keys
114 pairs of glasses
36 wallets and purses
217 pieces of clothing, including 96 hats
138 credit cards
64 ID cards
106 miscellaneous items including 5 canes, 4 strollers, one hearing aid, and a partial denture
Cell phones: 221 reported lost, 187 returned to owners, 34 still in lost and found.

Thirsty Employees

The Fair’s “Lemonade Ambassador” served up nearly 11,000 cups of lemonade to thirsty parking lot attendants, Ambassadors, ticket takers and sellers, security officers and all folks working in the hot sun at approximately 420 cups a day over the 26 days of the Fair.
Eighty pots of coffee were made over the run of the Fair and handed out for the night crew.

Fair website top visited pages:

1. Home Page
2. Calendar
3. Concerts
4. Deals & Discounts
5. Grandstand
6. Pepsi Pay-One-Price Ride Day
7. Attractions
8. Events
9. Daily Schedules
10. Transportation & Parking

Fair Facebook page:

Total followers: 105,428
Demographics: 73% women, 27% men

The San Diego County Fair is the largest annual event in San Diego County and one of the 10 largest Fairs in North America, drawing more than 1.6 million visitors annually. Visit www.sdfair.com.

For more information, please contact:
Linda Zweig
(858) 792-4262
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