San Diego County Fair

San Diego County Fair

San Diego County Fair

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The San Diego County Fair (formerly called the Del Mar Fair) is a county fair held every summer at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California. The fair is a major draw for San Diego County residents; in recent years, attendance figures have risen above a million annually, reaching a record all-time attendance of 1,274,442 in 2009.


The fair began in 1880 as an agricultural fair. The location moved from place to place for several years, finally settling on the Del Mar Fairgrounds when it opened in 1936.

In 1954, the fair's name was changed to the Southern California Exposition and San Diego County Fair. In 1970, this was shortened to the Southern California Exposition. The fair was again renamed in 1984 to the Del Mar Fair, which lasted until 2002 when the name San Diego County Fair was reinstated. It is sometimes still referred to as the "Del Mar Fair" by locals.

Fairest of the Fair

From 1936 through 2003 the fair included a beauty pageant. The winner was originally called Queen of the Fair; in 1947 the title was changed to Fairest of the Fair. The winner and her "court of lovelies" were featured at the fair and in public appearances throughout the year. In 2004 the pageant was discontinued due to high costs and legal wrangling over a disqualified entry in 2003. The best known winner of the Fairest of the Fair pageant was the 1958 winner, a La Jolla High School student named Raquel Tejada, better known as actress......
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