San Diego Fair 2017 - Where the West is Fun + Taste of the Fair

The San Diego Fair brings in huge crowds each summer with food, rides, exhibits, shows, and concerts. The theme of 2017 is "Where the West is Fun" and changes every year. I decided to explore fair food this year and invited a friend to "Taste of the Fair." Every Thursday between noon-5pm, each food booth offered $3 "taster portions" of favorite Fair foods. Time to fill 'er up!

With a western theme AND me being from Texas, I had to give these fried potatoes from Texas Tater Twisters a try. The "taste" was stated as 1/3 of the regular stack though ours seemed to be closer to 40%. The potatoe slices were a bit too oily but we got to pick out the flavor... parmesan!

The Cowboy fries from C&C's Frontier BBQ felt like a worthwhile sample with bits of brisket meat and a semi-sweet bbq sauce on top! Not far off was a mini corndog from Chicago Style, which we later realized was a poor choice. My attempts to dress up this standard snack with ketchup and mustard were a gloopy fail.

Chicken Charlie's had 2 deep fried Pu Pu wings as their sample. The skins were crispy and the meat was moist but the teriyaki style sauce was almost too sweet.

Bacon A-fair offered a bacon wrapped jalapeno as their sample. It looked full size to me! My friend ate the half with the seeds but my weak mouth was still tingling "spicy" from my portion!

Juicys had 1/3 of their western sausage as the sample. It was loaded with onions and peppers but these add-ons were quite mediocre. Stick to that sausage instead! Another sandwich item we tried was the pulled pork slider from Grinders. The pineapple flavored sauce was too overpowering for the meat.

For $3, this fruity smoothie was so thirst-quenching! Another drink we enjoyed was a pina colada from Rose's Aqua Fresca.

The funnel cake sample was small for the price but our bellies were happy that we didn't have to wrangle a full size into our stomachs, saving room for more samples! Old West Cinnamon Rolls didn't have a sign for the "taste" so the worker told us it was $3 for half of one. Since the full size was $5, we decided to go for the better value though there was nothing too special in taste.

By the time we reached this booth, it was past 5pm so no more $3 tastes were available. After asking staff, we found out there weren't any sample sizes anyway. Full size of Deep Fried OREOS it is! These were hot and doughy on the outside with a center of creme sweet. I think the fried sugariness wears away at you after one so I'd share with more people next time!

I came back on a Saturday with Dennis and little brother Robin who thought this shark taco was quite tasty.

Dennis ordered bacon wrapped chicken from Chicken Charlie's. The bacon tasted more like the surrounding fried batter but the chicken meat was plenty juicy!

My favorite sample this year was the BBQ sundae from Chuck Wagon. I had already sampled it during the Thursday taste but grabbed a full size on the revisit. Comfort food of mashed potatoes and beef just hit the spot!

Sights

"Frontier Town" was the themed section of the fair. Just our luck, some dressed up folks were heading out and kindly posed with me for a pic! We also watched a fun but cheesy "tumbleweeds" show involving two outlaws vs the sheriff and his deputy.

Nearby, the Gypsy Time Travelers had an educational, story-telling show. The blacksmith tampered iron objects during the tales, which were later given away to audience members. My friend's raffle ticket netted us a handmade iron spoon!

I ran off to gaze at the horses nearby. This was Sadie, a 10 year old Palomino, whose owner took her out for a little stroll. *HELLO GORGEOUS*

I also love viewing "The Gardens" while at the fair and found these gorgeous leaf printed items along the way!

Multiple chalk murals were painted on the ground. This cowboy had it tough riding that wild eyed steer!

Check out these metal sculptures! This guy is mining for gold! That donkey is probably thinking... this is MY wine... stop your looking!

I imagine these two kangaroo paw branches are fighting! Do you see it too?

Every year I see this mini train set taking a whirl through this mini town! Kids LOVE watching the action!

Desert landscape with a golden sunset. These bold chairs and bench were eye-catching!

In a different area of the fair was "The Farm" section. The gardens to the left had various vegetables and fruits. I was amazed to find lettuce BIGGER than my torso!

Nearby, attendees could plant some seeds to take home from the Solana Center! In this pic, the owner of the plant accidentally left it the week before and it had already sprouted! For myself, I chose a mystery squash which looked like pumpkin seeds. It's been a weeek but no sprouts yet! *crosses fingers* 

Have you seen this elusive outlaw? WANTED: Dead Or Alive. Reward $25,000

A special sand sculpture was crafted to match the theme of the fair. It must have taken many hours to do!

What happened?! These turkeys seemed confused and hungry after their food truck overturned! The Turkey Stampede races were hilarious to watch!

This fishing game reminded me of my childhood! Since it was in the kiddie zone, they offered "always a winner" gameplay. Elsewhere, the yellow duckies were super cute but this one was difficult to win!

Happy swing for the littler kids! I have yet to ride that sky-ride in the background... perhaps next year!

I remember when the Zipper used to be the scariest ride in the local carnivals. It was another option at the fair.

The adult rides just keep getting bigger and crazier. I must have watched Windsurf multiple times while listening to riders yell as they rapidly spun in the air or reached out toward jets of water aimed at faces while hanging upside down.

Sister Hazel performed one of the nights that I attended. I didn't recognize any of their newer songs but at least the music itself was soothing to the ears. We didn't stay long enough for concerts on the second visit.

A late exit from the fair gave a pretty perspective of the neon lit entrance.

Despite being super hot on my first visit and a bit muggy on the second, I was a happy camper... invigorated by the scent of food, entertained by the shows (even cheesy ones), and fascinated by the artistic displays of local talents. Several friends had their own fun: CC's sights + food, Cathy's preview + it's open, Soo and Maggie and San Diego Food Girl eats. Did you go this year and what was your favorite food or attraction?

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Comments

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table's picture
Submitted by Laura @ Sprint ... (not verified) on Sun, 07/02/2017 - 9:29am

I had not idea there were tastes available! We went for Toast of the Coast and ate several things. I loved the waffle sandwich and the GIANT chocolate-bacon doughnut. Everything was over-the-top big. Next year we'll definitely have to try this!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 11:57am

$3 tastes are only available on thursdays between noon to 5! i found it while looking through the fair pamphlet from old fashioned snail mail. it's nice if you want to try multiple things but pick wisely! i didn't buy any crazy foods because they didn't interest me enough.

caninecologne's picture
Submitted by caninecologne (not verified) on Mon, 07/03/2017 - 9:46am

Great post Lynn! I'll have to try those shark tacos next time and that $3 smoothie! My husband would have liked that bbq sundae too. Your "Wanted" photo is very bad@a$$! My favorite attraction, as always, were the collections in Home and Hobby. Every year it's unique and I always enjoy seeing what one person finds so important to collect and display. My favorite food was the cauliflower sandwich.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 12:03pm

the smoothie sample (pina colada) was refreshing in that water cup but the full size is $7 and maybe slightly bigger? i also enjoy the art sections especially seeing talented kids' creations but this year i missed the home stuff. the wood sculptures are usually my favorite to browse. i'll have to try the cauliflower sandwich next year!

soo@hungryones.com's picture
Submitted by soo@hungryones.com (not verified) on Tue, 07/04/2017 - 8:12am

The bacon wrapped chicken looked great! Sounds like they need to use bacon with more flavor though. I'm impressed by how much sampling you did!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 12:04pm

it's probably really cheap bacon but i guess it works! i shared these small samples with my friend so it wasn't as tough as the taste events! =P

Maggie 's picture
Submitted by Maggie (not verified) on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 1:05pm

Lovely post, very informative! My favorite picture is the horse, I agree just gorgeous. Think my favorite food was the zucchini this year. Sure appreciate the shout out for our blog. :>) I posted this year too, we just did them in two posts instead of just the one.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 1:10pm

i did link to both of your posts! you two share slightly different experiences which is why i enjoy reading your blogs! and super cute how you comment on each others... most of the time dennis was already there so he doesn't read unless i ask him to look over for me!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 1:15pm

sorry, looks like i made a mistake! i had both your posts open and somehow copied the same link in the html link. it's fixed now! :)

Maggie 's picture
Submitted by Maggie (not verified) on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 1:29pm

Thanks Lynn! Yea it's kinda a tradition for each of us to comment on the other's posts. :>) Glad you like it and don't think it's corny. :>)

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