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From the Desk of CEO Carlene Moore

Executive Update
January 11, 2024

Together Again in 2024...

First of all, Happy New Year!

We are looking forward to another year full of promise and new beginnings here at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

And we are very grateful for what we have accomplished together over the last few years. It was not all that long ago when it wasn't clear if the 22nd District Agricultural Association would make it to 2022, much less 2024.

The COVID-19 pandemic upended our work at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. We do not receive tax dollars from the state, and we depend on the events and activities that we produce and host here to be able to invest in our facilities, repay our debts for capital projects, and write checks to our employees, vendors, and contractors. In turn, we boost the local economy and provide an iconic gathering place for San Diego County. And during the pandemic, we couldn't do much of any of that.

I took over as the District's CEO during the middle of those challenging times, and we immediately had to make some tough decisions and major changes. It was an extraordinarily difficult era.

But we managed through it, and thankfully now we get to be together again. And today, we are on a much more fiscally sustainable path and have an even brighter future than we did before.

We have some big plans for 2024, and over the next few years, we will make more major decisions as we continue our strategic planning efforts. We hope you will be a part of that.

But for now, let's take a look at a few of the things we are excited about in the year ahead.

Full-Speed Ahead on a New Train Station

Our partners at SANDAG have been working to secure funding for a new special events rail platform for the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and we are hopeful we will receive some good news on that front this year.

The platform is part of the larger project to realign the Los Angeles-San Diego (LOSSAN) rail corridor, which runs near the District's property. On that front, the Del Mar City Council last month approved a guiding principle that is now part of its official city position with SANDAG. It reads:"With regard to study of a potential Fairgrounds rail alignment, SANDAG must respect and protect the operational, economic, environmental and planning needs of the 22nd DAA and of the proposed Del Mar housing program on the Fairgrounds, and as a key stakeholder, the 22nd DAA must be proactively engaged by SANDAG throughout the process."

We are grateful to the Del Mar City Council for recognizing the Del Mar Fairgrounds’ vital importance to the San Diego County community as SANDAG discusses its plans for the LOSSAN rail corridor. And we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the City on the new rail platform, which will bring people directly to the Del Mar Fairgrounds and thereby reduce vehicular traffic, noise, and air pollution in Del Mar, Solana Beach, and San Diego.

And one more thing: Congratulations to newly appointed Del Mar Mayor David Druker, and thank you to former Mayor Tracy Martinez for serving in that role last year. We look forward to continuing to work with both of them and with the rest of the City Council this year and beyond.

"Let's Go Retro" for the Summer

The countdown has begun: the San Diego County Fair is back this year on June 12, and will run through July 7. The theme is "Let's Go Retro" — a nod to nostalgia with a focus on fun.

It will not be long until we start hiring temporary employees to help us put on the biggest bash of the summer.

The Fair employs about 1,200 temporary employees. It boosts hundreds of small businesses. It provides an economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars. And it generates tax revenue that supports vital services in the City of Del Mar, the County of San Diego, and the State of California.

But the San Diego County Fair is also a cherished tradition that proudly serves every city and community in our county. That is why we are excited to have also recently kicked off this year's community outreach efforts by opening up applications for cities and organizations to take part in our Street Banner Program.

During the 2023 Fair season — after a three-year Street Banner Program hiatus that was driven by the pandemic — more than 800 street banners were installed in 17 communities within the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, and Lemon Grove. Some 470 members from these communities graced the banners, with some wearing a distinct uniform from an organization they represented and others showing off a fun theme-related prop.

Community leaders are encouraged to visit the San Diego County Fair's website and submit an online application to participate in the program. And good news: We are extending the deadline to apply until January 31! Photo sessions are scheduled to take place in February. Note: there is no fee to participate.

We are incredibly thrilled to provide the opportunity for our communities to 'Go Retro' with us as we showcase the people and organizations who make San Diego County such an amazing place to live, work, and play.

Find out more about this great program by visiting our website.

Amplifying The Sound

Last February, we officially opened The Sound at Surfside, our new entertainment hall. The opening of the 1,900-capacity indoor venue, formerly the site of off-track betting, was the culmination of years of planning and construction.

In 2023, we hosted 50 shows at The Sound, including Jason Mraz, DEVO, Ziggy Marley, Brantley Gilbert, Steel Pulse, the Flaming Lips, the Psychedelic Furs, and Toad the Wet Sprocket. More than 74,000 people came to events at The Sound during the 10+ months after it opened. The venue was also important to the 2023 San Diego County Fair, including by serving as the host of last year's San Diego International Beer Festival.

For its debut in 2023, The Sound has been nominated for a New Concert Venue of the Year award by Pollstar Magazine.

This year, we are expecting even more great shows. In fact, we are planning on having 80 events. It should be a ton of fun.

You can check out the calendar of upcoming events and grab your tickets now at

And for any event here at the Del Mar Fairgrounds this year, you can now save $5 on parking by buying in advance only at the new and improved

That's all for today, but we are excited to spend 2024 with you! We will have many more updates soon.

Carlene Moore
CEO | 22nd District Agricultural Association

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