Opening Day at 2022 San Diego County Fair

Kool-Aid chicken sandwiches, jalapeño hot dogs, brownie parfaits and octopus-and-shrimp cocktails are among the new food offerings at the San Diego County Fair.

The fair got off to a mellow start Wednesday under cloudy skies and modest attendance.

This year, attendance is controlled by tickets sold online. And the extra space on the Midway and in the Fun Zone gives guest elbow room in this first full postpandemic fair.

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Chicken Charlie’s Kool-Aid Fried Chicken Sandwich has a chicken patty covered in Kool-Aid spice sauce and dill pickles with a side of fries. Photo by Chris Stone
Chicken Charlie’s new beverage offerings: grape, blue raspberry and cherry Kool-Aide in large baby bottle. Photo by Chris Stone
Pennsylvania Dutch Funnel Cakes has two new items: the “Hulk” and the Oreo Funnel cake. Photo by Chris Stone
Roxy’s Restaurant stand has a new Bratwurst for Heroes sandwich. Photo by Chris Stone
Pink’s Hot Dogs has a new jalapeño hot dog with an option of toppings. Photo by Chris Stone
Mom’s Bake Shop’s brownie parfait has brownies, a chocolate chip cookie, fudge frosting, Bavarian cream and whipped cream. Photo by Chris Stone
Pepe Maricos y Mas is a new food stand with seafood and fresh vegetables as in this Mixta tostada. Photo by Chris Stone
Pepe’s Maricos y Mas has a shrimp and ocotopus cocktail. Photo by Chris Stone

No long lines were seen throughout the afternoon and early evening.

Masks are recommended in indoor spaces, but aren’t required on the grounds and only a smaller percentage were seen wearing them.

Here are the new foods that the Times of San Diego found on opening day:

  • Chicken Charlie’s has two new menu options: a Kool-Aid Chicken sandwich with a chicken patty dipped in Kool-Aid dip and served with dill pickles.
  • Charlie’s new beverage also has the sweet touch: Cherry, blue raspberries and grape Kool-Aid in oversized “baby bottles.”
  • Mom’s Bake Shop, which moved from an exhibit hall to the Midway, is offering a brownie parfait with 50-50 brownies-chocolate chip cookie with fudge frosting, Bavarian cream, whipped cream and chocolate chips on top.
  • A new food booth — Pepe’s Maricos y Mas — offers seafood and fresh vegetables. Its menu items include tacos, tostadas, burritos and seafood cocktails. A popular item is carne asada fries.
  • Pink’s Hot Dogs has added a jalapeño dog with the chilis mixed into the meat rather than slices placed on top. Customers can add a variety of toppings on their dogs.
  • Roy’s Restaurant has a new sausage, Bratwurst for Heroes, in tune with the theme of this year’s fair, Heroes ReUnited.
  • Pennsylvania Dutch Funnel Cakes has added two new offerings — The “Hulk” and the Oreo funnel cakes.
  • The Hulk has a green double decker cake with cream cheese frosting, powdered sugar, apple pieces and whipped cream. The Oreo cake has cream cheese frosting, Oreo crumbles, powdered sugar, whipped cream and an Oreo on top.

The fair will be open every day, except for Mondays and Tuesdays (but open July 4) from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and until 11 p.m. on weekends at the Del Mar Fairgrounds — 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.

Admission to the fair

  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday, adult tickets (ages 13-61) are $20.
  • Wednesday and Thursday adult tickets are $15.
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday senior tickets (ages 62 and up) are $17 and $12 on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Youth tickets (ages 6-12) are $17 on Saturday and Sunday, and $12 on Wednesday and Thursday and free on Friday.
  • Children 5 and younger are free.

Admission and parking tickets must be bought in advance online. For more information about the fair, go to sdfair.com.


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Ellen Bullock