Cool pics of fun times at San Diego County Fair.

Colorful whirling Wave Swinger in the Fun Zone !
Colorful whirling Wave Swinger in the Fun Zone !

The 2014 San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds is bigger, crazier and more exciting than ever. If you want to enjoy a really fun time, go check it out! But expect huge crowds!

The theme this year is the Fab Fair, a commemoration of the fifty year anniversary of the Beatles coming to America. Prepare to relive the 60’s in ways you’d never imagine!

On a lark I rode the Coaster from downtown up to Del Mar for the big Opening Day. I didn’t have any sort of plan; I just walked about the fairgrounds randomly the way I often do. But I did discover and photograph lots of cool stuff!

Would you like to see some pics? Let’s start at the West Gate and begin our walk through the enormous Fun Zone…

Make a pool shot and win a stuffed one-eyed Minion!
Make a pool shot and win a stuffed one-eyed Minion!
Persuasive carny almost convinces me to throw ring at duck.
Persuasive carny almost convinces me to throw a ring at a duck.
Gazing up at ride in San Diego County Fair's Fun Zone.
Gazing up at ride in San Diego County Fair’s Fun Zone.
The wacky Fun House lures fair-goers and one photo-taker.
The wacky Fun House lures fair-goers and one curious photo-taker.
Now we're near the Del Mar Fairgrounds Grandstand.
Now we’re near the historic Del Mar Fairgrounds Grandstand.
Ms. Senior Nevada performs on the Plaza Stage.
Ms. Senior Nevada performs on the Plaza Stage.
Lots of crafts at the Design in Wood exhibition.
Lots of crafts at the Design in Wood exhibition.

Now we’ve headed inside a building adjacent to the Del Mar Racetrack’s big Grandstand. There is also a dazzling Gems, Minerals and Jewelry exhibition which is well worth checking out.

Master woodworker demonstrates planing skills.
Master woodworker demonstrates planing skills.
Student Showcase contains art by high school students.
Student Showcase contains art by high school students.

Many of the fair’s exhibits were in the large Grandstand building. Displays of art, food, clothing, collectibles, and everything imaginable filled several floors.  It all had been entered by creative San Diegans, with the hope of winning a blue ribbon.

Home and Hobby exhibition includes many Beatles collectibles.
Home and Hobby exhibition includes many Beatles collectibles.
Big crowd outside enjoys fair beneath the Skyway.
Big crowd outside enjoys fair beneath the Skyway.
Demonstrating a fancy vegetable peeler in Bing Crosby Hall.
Demonstrating a fancy vegetable peeler inside Bing Crosby Hall.

The huge Bing Crosby hall is where all sorts of odd gadgets and unique products are touted by eager salespeople!

Psychedelic VW Beetle at the outside Garden Show.
Psychedelic VW Beetle at the outside Garden Show.

The outdoor and indoor Garden Show is one of my favorite parts of the annual fair. There were many beautiful and creative landscape exhibits.

Cool little keyhole garden can be grown anywhere.
Cool little keyhole garden can be grown anywhere.
Fab Four include Paul, John, George and Ringo.
Fab Four include Paul, John, George and Ringo.
Fun, whimsical display at the popular Garden Show.
Fun, whimsical display at the popular Garden Show.
Lots of hippie-themed stuff to buy everywhere.
Lots of hippie-themed stuff to buy everywhere.
Here are the good old Footsie Wootsie machines!
Here are the good old Footsie Wootsie machines!

I remember these crazy machines at the fair when I was a kid, and that was many years ago!

Just inside the fair's O'Brien Gate main entrance.
Just inside the San Diego County Fair’s O’Brien Gate main entrance.
Man walks into the Fab Fair Experience.
Man walks into the Fab Fair Experience.
People pose to recreate old Beatles album cover.
People pose to recreate old Beatles album cover.
Lots of displays remember the British Invasion of the 60's.
Lots of displays remember the British Invasion of the 60’s.
Sign above the Livestock Barn.
Sign above the Livestock Barn.

Now let’s go check out some livestock. It’s the county fair, after all!

Judge scores llama in a ring near livestock barn.
Judge scores llama in a ring near livestock barn.
Young lady looks worried as she prepares to show her goat.
Young lady looks worried as she prepares to show her goat.
Sheep were being sheered in a smaller nearby barn.
Sheep were being sheered in a smaller nearby barn.
I missed the Swifty Swine pig racing event!
I missed the Swifty Swine pig racing event!
Rescue personnel perform demonstration in Del Mar Arena.
Rescue personnel perform demonstration in Del Mar Arena.
Back outside we discover a giant Florida gator.
Back outside we discover a giant Florida gator.
Wall of the Wyland Center has a cool whale mural.
Wall of the Wyland Center has a cool whale mural.

That whale and the underwater scene around it were painted by famed marine-life artist Wyland at the 2006 San Diego County Fair.

Cool photo of extremely popular 2014 San Diego County Fair.
Cool photo of extremely popular 2014 San Diego County Fair.
The giant Ferris wheel turns in the summer sky.
The giant Ferris wheel turns in the summer sky.

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Horrible monsters seen in downtown San Diego.

Funny monster faces on utility box by Pokez.
Funny monster faces on a utility box by Pokez.

Yikes! Horrible monsters are on the loose in downtown San Diego, just outside the Pokez eatery! Stay clear! You’ve been warned!

Creature with four eyeballs and crooked teeth.
Creature with four eyeballs and crooked teeth.
Cool purple monsters often have green drool.
Cool purple monsters often have green drool.
Looks scarier than that Alien creature.
Looks scarier than that Alien creature.
Crazy street art on a downtown utility box.
Crazy street art on a downtown utility box.
Pink monster with messed up green eyes.
Pink monster with messed up green eyes.

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San Diego’s All-American Soap Box Derby!

Boy gets encouragement before racing in Soap Box Derby.
Boy gets encouragement before racing in Soap Box Derby.

San Diego’s annual Local Race put on by the All-American Soap Box Derby was held today! The action could be found on 25th Street in Sherman Heights, a neighborhood just east of downtown!

Local kids, 7 to 18 years old, build their own gravity cars, then race them down a straight, sloped residential street. There are three classes of competition: Stock Division, Super Stock Division, and Masters Division. Each class features a unique type of race car.

The kids were having a blast!

Kids learn workmanship building gravity cars.
Kids learn workmanship building gravity cars.
The very simple interior of a gravity car.
The very simple interior of a gravity car.
Two competitors get some last minute advice.
Two competitors get some last minute advice.
Ready to race!
Ready to race!
Man pushes Ice cream cart up 25th Street hill.
Man pushes Ice cream cart up 25th Street hill.
Here they come! Racers speed past spectators!
Here they come! Racers speed past spectators!
Announcer at finish line watches the action!
Announcer at finish line watches the action!
One race is over and a car is retrieved.
One race is over and a car is retrieved.
Gravity cars are towed back up to the start line!
Gravity cars are towed back up to the start line!

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San Diego’s big new waterfront park opens!

Lots of fun at County Administration Center Waterfront Park.
Lots of fun at County Administration Center Waterfront Park.

The brand new, very awesome County Administration Center Waterfront Park opened today! This spectacular city park stretches several blocks both north and south of the historic County Administration Building, replacing two ugly parking lots.  It’s impossible to miss this expansive 12-acre park, located just across Harbor Drive from beautiful San Diego Bay.

You might have read my recent blog post about waterfront improvements, and seen some photos of this new park under construction. It’s now finished and it’s really fantastic!

I attended the grand opening this morning and got tons of cool pics!

Here we go…

Someone arrives from parking structure beneath new park.
Someone arrives from parking structure beneath new park.
Ceremony in front of County Administration Building.
Opening ceremony in front of County Administration Building.
County Supervisor inaugurates new waterfront park.
County Supervisor inaugurates new waterfront park.
VIPs and public listen to many speeches.
VIPs and the public listen to many speeches.
The Padres' friar mascot circulates in the crowd.
The Padres’ friar mascot circulates in the crowd.
Mary Roosevelt, daughter-in-law of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Mary Roosevelt, daughter-in-law of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the County Administration Building in 1938.

Everyone waves to photographer atop Star of India.
Everyone waves to photographer atop Star of India.
Unrolling the 1600 foot long ribbon!
Unrolling the 1600 foot long grand opening ribbon!
Everyone positions to cut the park-length ribbon!
Everyone positions to cut the park-length ribbon!
Boys and Girls Clubs of East County is present.
Boys and Girls Clubs of East County helps to cut the ribbon.
The fountains are turned on and wet fun begins!
The fountains are turned on and wet fun begins!
Looking through fountains on north side of park.
Looking through fountains on north side of park.
Street performer in front of County Administration Building.
Street performer in front of County Administration Building.
Kid carries footfall through Play60 obstacle course.
Kid carries footfall through Play60 obstacle course.
Kids play miniature golf on the grassy lawn.
Kids play miniature golf on the grassy lawn.
Trying to score against San Diego Sockers goalie!
Trying to score against San Diego Sockers goalie!
Star of India and waterfront behind opening day crowd.
Star of India and waterfront behind opening day crowd.
Cool hill with slides is part of the huge playground.
Cool hill with slides is part of the huge playground.
Kids have loads of fun on the big playground.
Kids have loads of fun on the big playground.
An awesome playground in downtown San Diego!
An awesome playground in downtown San Diego!
Who wouldn't love climbing in this net-filled sphere!
Who wouldn’t love climbing in this net-filled sphere!
The fountain on the park's south side is busy.
The shallow fountain on the park’s south side is busy.
Parks and Recreation had wildlife displays!
Parks and Recreation had wildlife displays!
Kid checks out a fire engine.
Kid checks out a fire engine.
A gigantic car show was held on Harbor Drive.
A gigantic car show was held on Harbor Drive.
San Diego Maritime Museum behind classic cars.
San Diego Maritime Museum behind classic cars.
A cool woodie with surfboard!
A cool woodie with surfboard!

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Cinco de Mayo fun in San Diego’s Old Town.

Lots of folks enjoying Cinco de Mayo in Old Town.
Lots of folks enjoying Cinco de Mayo weekend in Old Town.

Late this morning I took a long leisurely walk through San Diego’s Old Town, just to check out this weekend’s Cinco de Mayo festivities. Thousands of people had arrived already, and the crowd was rapidly growing!

People were excited to watch dancers and musicians performing on several stages. They enjoyed gobs of Mexican food, the Cantina Garden, a fun petting zoo, lots of very cool lowriders, and endless booths selling Mexican crafts and wares.

Mariachis play for huge crowd in Old Town's plaza.
Mariachis play for huge crowd in Old Town’s central plaza.
Posing in traditional Mexican garb at Cinco de Mayo.
Posing  for a fun Cinco de Mayo photo.
Colorful Mexican ornaments and gifts seemed to be everywhere.
Colorful Mexican ornaments and gifts seemed to be everywhere.
This barbeque smelled really good to the passing crowd.
This barbeque smelled really good to the passing crowd.
Curled mustache and prickly pear lemonade!
Curled mustache and old-fashioned prickly pear lemonade!
Fiesta de Reyes even more festive for Cinco de Mayo.
Fiesta de Reyes was more festive than usual for Cinco de Mayo.
One Mexican folk dancer watches another on stage.
One Mexican folk dancer watches another perform on stage.
Bright dress worn by lady walking behind Seeley Stable.
Bright yellow festival dress worn by lady walking behind Seeley Stable.
A petting zoo was set up in Old Town for the kids.
A petting zoo was set up in Old Town for the kids.
Dramatic end of long line of hydraulic lowriders.
There were dozens of amazing hydraulic lowriders.

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Bibbey’s crazy, cool pop culture mural!

Bibbey's mural includes Finding Nemo and SpongeBob.
Bibbey’s mural includes Finding Nemo and SpongeBob.

Bibbey’s gift shop, which sells sea shells, rocks and other great stuff, is located across the street from the Imperial Beach pier. It’s hard to miss. The building is one big crazy mural! Check out the wild creativity which blends images from television, movies and the popular culture.

Cosmic ocean imagery in an Imperial Beach mural.
Cosmic ocean fantasy and an Imperial Beach mural.
Fierce octopus guards door of cool gift shop.
Fierce octopus guards door of cool gift shop.
A mermaid, the Lorax and other fun elements.
A sexy mermaid, the Lorax and other fun elements.
Kung Fu Panda and a surfing dragon!
Kung Fu Panda and a surfing dragon!
Madagascar penguins and Patrick.
Madagascar penguins and Patrick.
Someone enters Bibbey's gift shop.
Someone enters Bibbey’s gift shop.
Another great section of Bibbey's crazy mural.
Another great section of Bibbey’s crazy mural.
Shark spotted on wall of Imperial Beach building!
Shark spotted on wall of Imperial Beach building!

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The Spirit of Imperial Beach surfer sculpture.

Bronze surfer holds surfboard in Imperial Beach.
Bronze surfer holds surfboard in Imperial Beach.

A short walk north of the Imperial Beach pier takes you to this delightful sculpture. The Spirit of Imperial Beach is 18 feet high and incorporates many fun elements. The sandcastle at its base and the child with a pail recall the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition, which used to be held yearly in Imperial Beach. (Several years ago the competition was replaced by the Sun and Sea Festival.)

Child rides a fish near the beach.
Child rides a fish near the beach.
Spirit of Imperial Beach by James A. Wasil.
Spirit of Imperial Beach by James A. Wasil.
Crabs, shells, fish, sandcastle and girl with a pail.
Crabs, shells, fish, sandcastle and girl with a pail.
Closer look at amazing detail.
Closer look at amazing detail.
Spirit of Imperial Beach sculpture is north of the pier.
Spirit of Imperial Beach sculpture is just north of the pier.

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