Entertainment & Events

The 2011 San Diego County Fair Opens This Friday

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The 2011 San Diego County Fair opens this Friday, June 10. The Fair’s theme, “Race to the Fair,” highlights Southern California’s car culture.

Opening day will gets underway with a special Opening Ceremony at the O’Brien Gate about 10 a.m. featuring a marching band, the raising of the American flag, and the singing of the National Anthem. Other entertainment will be featured until the gates open at 11 a.m.

It is also PennySaver Value Day. Every Friday, Fairgoers get a coupon book filled with Fair discounts upon entering.

The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge gets underway in the Chevrolet Del Mar Arena. The action starts at 11 a.m., going throughout the day. The top canine athletes in the West will face off in the Incredible Diving Dog and Incredible Freestyle Flying Disc competitions through the Fair’s first weekend. For more information about the Purina Dog Challenge, go to www.sdfair.com/entertainment.

Multiple Grammy winner Pat Benatar and her husband, Neil Giraldo, will open the Toyota Summer Concert Series on the Heineken Grandstand Stage. Benatar blazed a new trail for female rock stars more than three decades ago with songs such as “Love Is a Battlefield,” “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” and many more. The 7:30 p.m. show is free with fair admission, but reserved seating is available at the Fair’s box office and www.ticketmaster.com. A special dinner package including concert tickets, dinner in the Turf Club and preferred parking is also available. For more information about this concert, go to www.sdfair.com/entertainment.

In the new and exciting Cruisin’ California theme exhibit, presented by Jeffery Scott Fine Magnetics, Fairgoers will see the first of four car displays that will happen during the Fair. Exotic and luxury cars, including a Lamborghini, will be in the exhibit June 10- 12. Additionally, a celebrity replica of the “Ectomobile” from the “Ghostbusters” movie will be on display. Also, at 5 p.m., free beer tasting will be offered. For more information about the theme exhibit, go to www.sdfair.com/theme.

Over at Surfside Race Place, a special Del Mar Fairgrounds 75th Anniversary exhibit will tell the story of the Fairgrounds and the Fair, and will illustrate the history of auto racing and horse racing on the Fairgrounds. Car shows will be held daily outside Surfside; on Opening Day, Coastal Cruisers and California Corvettes will be featured.

Take a Bingo break on Opening Day – and every day of the Fair! Play “Fair Time Bingo” at Surfside Race Place from 12:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Games will be played every five minutes at $2 per game, so drop in any time and stay as long as you like. And, while you are playing “Fair Time Bingo,” bet on the ponies at Surfside Race Place, which shows horse racing from around the country.

Great family fun contests take place every day! Just how many slices of pie can you gobble down at the Pie Eating contest, on the Plaza Stage at noon? It’s the Watermelon Seed-Spitting Contest at the Infield Farm at 12:30 p.m., and the Corn Husking Contest at the same location at 1 p.m. Also in the Infield at 3 p.m., it’s the Fair’s traditional 3 O’ Clock Fun! The kids will love the old-fashioned contests, such as sack races, hula hoop contests and relays of many kinds.

Mom and Dad will love the daily Wine Tasting event in the Infield’s San Diego Pavilion. Air personality Sam Bass from KyXy hosts the event daily at 4 p.m and 5 p.m.

Smooth 98.1 hosts an “After Work Party”on the Flower Show Stage at 7 p.m., featuring the smooth sounds of “Wiluvalot.”

One of the many musical highlights of Opening Day includes Badd Co, a Bad Company tribute band, on the Coors Light Rock On Stage, at 9 p.m. (You must be 21 years of age to attend this show.).

The Ford Dealers Paddock Concert Stage series begins with a bonus concert, featuring “The Celebrities” at 9:30 p.m.

The 2011 San Diego County Fair’s wheels are in motion to “Race to the Fair” for 22 days starting Friday, June 10, through Monday, July 4. (The Fair will be closed the first three Mondays, June 13, 20 and 27.)

Of course, the Fair will have more than 100 food vendors (find out about the fried food offered this year), great commercial exhibitors, thrill rides and attractions, the Paul Ecke Jr. Flower and Garden Show, a fun and educational Theme Exhibit, and a fantastic lineup of headliner entertainment with the Toyota Summer Concert Series on the Heineken Grandstand Stage, the Paddock Concert Series, The Solid Gold Series, the Chevrolet Del Mar Arena, and so much more!

Gates open daily at 11 a.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10 a.m., Saturdays, Sundays and Monday, July 4. Admission is $13 for adults; $7 for ages 6-12 and 62 and older; and free for ages 5 and younger.

The San Diego County Fair is the largest annual event in San Diego County and the sixth largest fair in the United States. The 2010 Fair hosted more than 1.3 million guests and hit an all-time attendance record.

For more information about the Fair, go to the Fair website, www.sdfair.com.

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