Entertainment & Events

Kick Off the First Weekend of Summer Right: San Diego International Beer Festival, Bikini Parade and more

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From the San Diego Fair to the Bikini Parade, the first weekend of summer in San Diego has plenty to offer and should not be wasted. San Diego is bountiful with music, arts, sports and food, and with so much variety, why limit yourself? Go for gold and do it all! Go outside the norm and try one of the special events or go for broke and explore a San Diego classic- either way, the Entertainer has you covered!

Thursday June 24th

Fun for all ages, the San Diego County Fair has something for everyone. And because it’s open late (11:00pm), it’s not too late to catch some of its featured events and fair foods! This year’s theme, “Taste the fun” features fair food and unusual treats like chocolate-covered bacon and fried Twinkies. What’s more, many events ranging from San Diego’s Best Dance Crew Competition (11:00am-6:00pm) and a live performance by The Grass Roots (2:00pm) are FREE with admission ($13 adult/ $7 children and 62+/ Free under 5). Visit the San Diego County Fair website for the opportunity to get a coupon for 4 discounted adult tickets.

After a full day at the fair, head over to North park for the first annual Craft Mafia Fall Preview Trunk Show. This eclectic group of designers will make available for purchase all their newest creations for fall. In addition to getting a sneak peak at all the newest fashions not yet available in stores, the night includes a fashion show, hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar (21+ with ID) and free gifts. Window shop or spruce up your closet, either way-spend your evening (7:00pm-9:00pm) at the Queen Bee’s Art & Culture Center (3925 Ohio St. 92104).

Friday, June 25th

This isn’t your grandparent’s county fair. Leave the kids at home and head over to the Chevrolet Del Mar Arena because the 4th annual San Diego International Beer festival is coming to the fair this weekend. Already one of the largest beer festivals in the country, San Diego’s festival features more than 350 beers from over 150 breweries from all around the globe. San Diego’s very own Pizza Port nabbed the top prize last year (and did so again this year). And for just $37 per session (advance purchase on Ticketmaster, including Fair admission), you get a souvenir tasting cup and unlimited one-ounce samplings of the beers entered in the festival competition. The only difficult part is choosing when to go. (Friday session: 4:00-8:00PM; Saturday: 11:00AM-3:00PM or 4:00-8:00PM; Sunday, 1:00-5:00PM) The Women’s Roller Derby Tournament will be happening throughout the weekend too so grab a beer and cheer on your favorite team of roller girls.

Solana beach’s premier music venue, Belly Up is perfect for a high-energy Friday night. “Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, The Simpkin Project, and High Tide” is promised to “rock, move and inspire your soul.” With Belly Up’s spacious dance floor and “the mix of rock, soul, pop, punk, reggae and hip hop” promised by these Southern California bands, you’ll be done with your $5.50 beer and ready to boogey within minutes. The show is $11 pre-sale and $13 at the door, and limited to 21+ with ID.

Saturday, June 26th

If you, your child or your child-like friend have ever wondered what happens after hours at the zoo, you’re in luck. The San Diego Zoo’s Nighttime Zoo starts tonight! The zoo invites everyone to stick around after hours (3:00pm-9:00pm) for music, comedy and art performances, acrobats and what’s sure to be a unique visit of this San Diego landmark. You can visit the San Diego Nighttime Zoo until September 6 for the regular admission rates ($37 adult/ $27 kids 3-11/ special passes available).

Grab some weekend sun and a savory crepe for breakfast at Little Italy’s Mercato. You’ll find all the best seasonal foods, ranging from produce to breads to cheese and meets at this bustling farmers market on Date Street between Kettner Street and Union Street every Saturday morning from 9:00am to 1:30pm. Once you find street parking, meander to Date Street and India Street and try not to let all the options overwhelm you. Complete with live music and specialty foods like crepes and fresh French pastries, prepared sauces and Italian ices, the Mercato will leave you full and happy. Just at the top of Date Street, you’ll also find the MerARTo, a slew of vendors toting arts and crafts perfect for gifts.  Come for the free samples, come for a delicious Saturday morning, come for the artisan tote bags; whatever your reason, we’ll see you at the Mercato.

Sunday, June 27th

Home to some of the best beaches in the world, it is no surprise that San Diego will host the Guinness Book World Record attempt for the largest bikini parade. Titled “THE FEMALE 300 SHOW THEIR SUNDANCE,” this parade of 300 bikini-clad ladies starts at 1:30pm at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp district and will continue along 5th avenue until 2:30pm. You can sign up to participate in the parade the proceeds from which will go to the Health 4 America initiative with Global Flying Hospitals. If you’re 21+, don’t miss the after party at the Hard Rock, Intervention.

Explore the history and evolution of Rock ‘n’ Roll music as portrayed by 40 renowned photographers at San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) located in Balboa Park. Taking Aim showcases iconic and exclusive photos of music legends Jimi Hendrix, Iggy Pop, Elvis, The Beatles, Kurt Cobain, Johnny Cash and June Carter, Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Janis Joplin and others. MOPA also features Seeing Beauty, an exploration into the aesthetics of beauty across a range of genres and aesthetic features. At the scenic Balboa park, what better place is there to “challenge, redefine, or confirm… (your)understanding of what beauty is.”

With so much to do in San Diego this weekend, good luck deciding. Get going San Diego! We’ll meet you there.

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