Margaret Austin
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For the 29th consecutive year, Escondido’s Margaret Austin, known as the “Pink Pig Lady” for her rolling collection of pink pig memorabilia, was the first to walk through the front gates on June 7 — the opening of the San Diego County Fair. She arrived by bus at around 6:00 a.m.

This year Margaret sported a white T-shirt imprinted with my Neighborhood News article and photo of her from the Reader. I had written about her on 2013’s opening day.

9:50 a.m. – Fred Schenk, chairman of the 22nd Agricultural District, operator of the fairgrounds, cut the official red ribbon. The theme of this year’s fair is “The Fab Fair,” and ten-foot-tall Beatles characters walked around as the gates were opened.

10:00 a.m. – Janice Tamborelli of Highland Park was already tired walking down the midway; she was the first to drop a quarter into a Footsie Wootsie foot-massager machine.

10:05 a.m. – Kaye Nguyen from Poway said she always tries something new each year at the fair. This year she convinced her friend from Texas to be the first to try Chicken Charlie’s triple-decker cheeseburger with Krispy Kreme donuts as the bun.

10:08 a.m. – South Park’s Dick Hardick and La Mesa’s Jean Shaw, both teachers at St. Augustine High School, split the first fair cinnamon roll served on the midway. They got theirs covered with nuts.

10:10 a.m. – Alyson and Edward Lestage of Mira Mesa got the first fair photos taken at the midway photo booth.

10:14 a.m. – Judy Fry of Southeast San Diego bought the first gadgets in Bing Crosby Hall. She was proud of her purchase of foot-care products from the “Gadgets and Neat Stuff” booth.

10:25 a.m. – Smelling the flavorful fried dough from isles away, Steve Palyash from Santee rushed to Dixie’s Mini-Donuts to be first in line for his dozen. “This is my first stop every year,” he said.

10:36 a.m. – With an 11 o’clock opening of the carnival rides, crews were rushing to get a malfunctioning ticket booth hooked up with electricity and credit-card machine service.

10:39 a.m. - Ryan Dipinto of Clairemont dropped the first bucks at a game booth, but may also have embarrassed himself in front of his young family. Mom and daughter watched as he tried two times, three balls each, to keep tossed balls from bouncing out at the Tubs of Fun.

11:10 a.m. - San Diego’s Mike Conkoto and buddy Matt Thornburg debated for several minutes if they would be the first to go on the Super Bungee drop. They instead choose to be the first to consume an adult beverage at the nearby Tecate Beer Garden.

As Dan, one of the bungee operators said, “He had to have the first drink before he could have the first jump.”

It took another ten minutes before Ray Garcia of El Cajon would step up to be the first to fall off a perfectly good platform suspended 130 feet in the air, proving himself to his family of five.

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