Swiftly Swine events to star racing piglets in capes. Image: Del Mar Fairgrounds.

First off, Swiftly Swine are back—those ridiculously silly racing piglets in capes who make even jaded adults double over with laughter. Plus, grab your fix of Chicken Charlie’s Maui Chicken with Pineapple over rice—oh yeah! This month, you can take the kids to do crafts, watch a cow milking demo, or ride the Ferris Wheel for a glimpse of what has to be one of the most beautiful views in coastal Southern California. Enjoy live music and top it all off with patriotic fireworks, and don’t forget to get your gardening ideas too. Home Grown San Diego presented by the San Diego County Fair from June 11 to July 4 offers a lot of fun despite being a smaller version of the fair we’ve known, with a reduced ticket price of $10.

Chicken Charlie’s Maui Chicken with Pineapple over rice. Image: Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Home Grown will be a place to reconnect in the great outdoors as an antidote to pandemic fatigue.

“So many people I meet have a connection to the Fair and that’s what makes it such a special place,” says Jennifer Hellman, a media spokesperson. “This year is definitely a challenge. This event is more of a bridge back to the full shebang next year. But it’s great to have the vendors and concessionaires all setting up right now. The energy is so fun.”

Caped piglets. Image: Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Attractions to Look Out For

Hollandia Dairy of San Marcos has brought its MOObile trailer so kids can watch a demo of how to milk a cow and learn how milk makes it to their fridge.

Speaking of grazing animals, a lot of the fun at the fairgrounds is about walking around and assessing the mouth-watering lunch options. Will you spring for roasted corn or those enormous turkey drumsticks? There’ll be 40 concessionaires this year.

If you’ve missed shopping during Covid, Home Grown has you covered, with 280 vendors filling the halls with their knives, blenders, toe rings, Russian nesting dolls, and more.

Good old-fashioned fun for kids includes pony rides, a magician, craft making, and a carousel, as well as the Ferris Wheel. They can ride tiny tractors and plant tiny radish seeds. Or, captivate them with miniature railways staged in the garden area. For the competitive ones, maybe consider the bubble gum blowing contest.

If you’ve never seen an armadillo or hedgehog up close, now’s your chance. Birds of prey, such as owls and hawks will join them on stage in Wild About Home Grown Fun.

When you’re ready to put your feet up, you can enjoy live music by Jackstraws Surf Band, Juice Box, and others. There will also be opportunities to watch creative photography and floral centerpiece demonstrations.

If you’re planning to attend on July 4, note that everyone is encouraged to dress in red, white, and blue for the nation’s birthday. There’ll be patriotic celebrations throughout the fairgrounds all day, then fireworks start at 8:30pm.

Flowers from home and garden exhibits are always stunners. Image: Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Roasted corn. Image Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Flowers from home and garden exhibits are always stunners. Image: Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Roasted corn. Image Del Mar Fairgrounds.

What Regulations to Expect

Sudsy's Barn Hand Washing Station. Image: Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Social distancing includes limited entry and online reservations for admission and parking are required.

According to the website, all guests will need to be masked and they will need to choose time slots for attendance when buying advance tickets online. Only a limited number of people will be allowed through the gates at a time. Once inside, visitors can stay as long as they like. Note: No ticket sales will be available at the gate. Contactless payment is preferred inside the venue and some vendors may not take cash.

Gates will be open 11am to 9pm Wednesdays through Sundays. The Fair will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

To see the full lineup of entertainment and to buy tickets, visit the San Diego County Fair’s official website.

The infamous ROXY'S Artichoke Sandwich. Image: Del Mar Fairgrounds.
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