Though Mel gave these Carlsbad residents a few tries at the Tub of Fun ball-toss, they walked away without winning.
  • Though Mel gave these Carlsbad residents a few tries at the Tub of Fun ball-toss, they walked away without winning.
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For the 28th consecutive year, Escondido’s Margaret Austin, known as the “Pink Pig Lady,” was the first to walk through the front gates at the opening of the San Diego County Fair on June 8. Though she'd taken the bus in previous years, on Saturday she took the Sprinter and Coaster trains. She arrived at the fairgrounds at around 7:10 a.m.


A number of news cameras recorded Austin’s 9:50 a.m. entrance. Fair regulars know Margaret as the one with the cart filled with pink pig memorabilia. She comes every day to see “my piggies” and the Swifty Swine pig races. “If I wasn’t here, there would be no fair, “ said Margaret.

This year, however, second in line for years, Debbie Capp and Diane Albone, both from El Cajon, arrived just before Margaret. “We stayed away until Margaret arrived about five minutes later," said Diane. “We couldn’t take that away from her.”

9:52 a.m. The Jackstraws played the fair’s first musical notes — the surf song “Pipeline” — at the entrance’s O’Brien stage. The local band has performed at the fair for the past 14 years.

9:55 a.m. Oliver from Carlsbad sold his first bag of kettle corn to Manny, visiting from Tucson. Oliver has owned his two Copper Kettle stands at the fair for 15 years.

Sergo and Christian on Footsie Wootsies

9:58 a.m. Sergo & Christian from La Mesa were already worn out and sitting on the foot massager machine — the Footsie Wootsie, “still only 25 cents.”

10:05 a.m. Dolores and Ed were the first customers to order cinnamon rolls at the Country Fair Cinnamon Roll booth. They got theirs covered with frosting and nuts. Since starting out as fair-booth fare in 1978, the cinnamon-roll company has opened in numerous food courts in malls around the state.

Dena and Amy scored the first sacks of donuts

10:09 a.m. Dena from Oceanside and her friend Amy from Pacific Beach were the first customers to bite into the warm, sugary goodness of Dixie’s Mini-donuts, located inside the Bing Crosby Hall.

10:20 a.m. Carnival workers, waiting for the official 11:00 a.m. start time for the rides to open, were grabbing a late breakfast at the (now not-so) secret Viv’s Café, a behind-the-rides stand that offers lower-cost food and drinks to workers.

10:36 a.m. Nellie from Carlsbad and her daughters Rachael and Victoria and their friends Kennedy and Andrea were the first to plop down five bucks for a game of chance — the Tub of Fun ball-toss game. Operator Mel has worked the booth for 16 years. Unfortunately, the Carlsbadians walked away empty-handed after each getting second and third chances to try their luck.

Albie's watch was broken. He didn't care.

10:45 a.m. Inside the Tecate Lounge Beer Garden, the fair’s first beers were poured for Albie and Linda from La Mesa. “My watch says it's five o’clock,” Albie said.

10:52 a.m. First in line to buy the $35 “Pepsi Pay-One-Price” unlimited rides wristband were Rodrigo, Jessica, and their son Andy, from Vista.

Money in the Bank, babies

Rounding out the first hour of the San Diego County Fair, the first performance was by Dance Scene dance studio, from El Cajon. An age-40+ group of women, known as Money in the Bank, performed to a hip-hop song.

I had a personal fair first: the first person to order from the NTM Seafood booth. Nothing says San Diego County Fair like fried clams and Mountain Dew at 10:55 a.m.

The fair runs through July 4, closed on Mondays except July 1.

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Ken Harrison June 10, 2013 @ 6:53 a.m.

Please post here if you can find the secret Viv's Cafe, and better yet, eat there. I didn't want to go behind those rides without fair ID. I've always wondered if they really ask for fair ID before serving you? And how cheap it really is. Last time I tried was ten years ago. Bought a coke at "Rik's Restuarant" and the food was about 1/2 the cost from the other carni area food stands.


Ken Harrison June 10, 2013 @ 7 a.m.

Supposedly there is a booth that sells Coke. Pepsi is a title sponsor and there is no Coke to be found anywhere on the fair's grounds, except others have told me, in only one place. No one I've talked to seems to be able to pin it down, only having been told about it. I'll be searching in the Paddock area or the Kiddie Zone - the best leads I have heard. I've been told it is from a booth that isn't primarily selling food. My search continues. Help me find it.


FatCatSegat June 11, 2013 @ 9:38 a.m.

First, go to the albino dwarf unicorn stall, walk seventy five paces to the pot 'o gold, (you can only find this if you see the leperchaun first) then chase down the thirty five pixies being tormented by the anarchist fairies. Click your heels three times and say, "theres no drink like coke." (this only works if you're wearing slightly faded ruby slippers) If that doesn't work, then as usual, I was led astray by the centuar that lives next door. Sorry


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