This year’s theme is “How Sweet It Is” with a whole new set of rare and unusual foods and drinks from vendors including Chicken Charlie’s, Pignotti’s, Mike Hess, and much more.
“I can promise you, no two days are alike,” Del Mar Fairgrounds CEO Tim Fennell said in a speech to news media.
With so many years under its belt, the fair has built a community of legacy merchants who have greeted some guests for their entire lives. Pignotti’s began at the fair in 1964. Today, they infuse the same tradition they always have with the absurdity that comes with fair food. This juxtaposition creates a luscious headscratcher.
“This year one of the main things we are introducing are spaghetti donuts,” owner Taylor Pignotti said. “I am always asking friends what foods would work best at the fair. When someone approached me with this idea, we knew we had a hit.”
Spaghetti donuts are spaghetti noodles baked to fit the shape of a donut. Surprisingly soft and delectable, this treat comes in three flavors (pesto, marinara and bacon Alfredo), but this is not all they have to offer. Pignotti’s is rolling out lasagna nachos with a five cheese, ricotta blend, fried fish kebabs with shark, octopus, Alaskan cod, freshly cut zucchini, and for dessert, cannolis drizzled in caramel, chocolate or a delightful combination of the two.
Craft beer and cocktail drinkers are in for a surprise this year with breweries Mike Hess and Ballast Point releasing San Diego exclusive beers. Mike Hess is releasing a tangerine infused IPA called Tangerine A-Fair, and Ballast Point is releasing a new wheat beer called Made in San Diego Golden Ale.
Those 21 and over should also look out for three food and drink festivals spread throughout the course of the fair. The Toast of the Coast Food and Wine Festival takes place Saturday, June 9, the International Beer Festival runs from June 15-17, and Distilled: San Diego Spirit and Cocktail Festival is on Saturday, June 23.
Tickets to The Fair and any corresponding events are available either online or at the Del Mar Fairgrounds box office. Adult tickets are $19, seniors and kids ages 6 to 12 pay $12 and those ages 5 and younger are free. By far the best deal is a season pass available for $28, which gets you into any of the 26 days. These are available online, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds box office or at any San Diego Von’s or Albertsons.