Schuyler MacPherson: "The sourdough starter is 37 years old."
The iconic bronze statue of Don Diego, dressed up in cowboy garb, overlooked the main gate of the San Diego County Fair, as hundreds lined up for opening night on June 2.
Margaret Austin of Oceanside got up at 4:00 a.m. TV cameras and reporters surrounded her.
And like the last 23 years, Margaret Austin of Oceanside was first in line. Awaking at 4 a.m., she arrived at the Del Mar Fairgrounds gates around 8:30 a.m. Later, others waiting for the gates to open, asked why TV cameras and reporters surrounded her.
Austin told her story over and over again. “I’m here for the piggies,” she said, as she showed off her cart filled with pig memorabilia from past fairs. Once the gates opened at 4:00 p.m., she rushed over to the watch the Swifty Swine Pigs Races.
Jeanette Floners of Carlsbad said she would rush over to the restrooms as her first stop. “I can confirm she’ll be there,” said her husband Cliff.
Eating food we’d never eat at home is one of the reason we go to fair. However, this year fair-goers can avoid the deep-fried everything midway food and enjoy gourmet items such as deviled eggs with roasted salmon, smoked Brie, hummus cucumber dip, and Portobello tortas.
There’s truth in advertising over at the Ten Pound Buns food stand. Schuyler MacPherson, a fourth-generation food stand operator, showed me the 10-pound loaf of bread that his giant slices of cheese-covered sourdough are made from. “I’ve owned this stand for six years, but the sourdough starter is 37 years old,” he said.
At the Mile Long Hot Dog stand, their weenies are only a foot long.
I was shocked in Bing Crosby Hall to see the floating-in-air, flowing water faucet at the Culligan booth was missing. “Not to worry,” said the Culligan Man. The 55-year tradition will be back in the booth by mid-week. (I was 14 years old when I finally figured out how the water came gushing out of the connected-to-nothing faucet.)
Parking Tip: Save $13. Use the fair’s offsite polo field parking lot east of I-5 on Via de la Valle. It's free; double-decker buses take you to the front gate.