Thursday, 21 June 2012

San Diego County Fair

Now I've done countless fairs in Europe from the little local one up the road from where I live to the epic scale fairs of Germany and Seville, but I'd never done an American Fair before. In the week leading up to the trip a local club member mentioned the fair would be up and running and the organisers did a great job in adding it in.

The San Diego fair takes place in the city showgrounds near Solano Beach, which is about half an hour out of town, and this year's theme was outer space. Nice entrance.

There fair was actually pretty large in size and contained a good mixture of rides. The initial plan was to buy a book of tickets and use them to ride the coasters of which research had discovered 5 to locate. After the cre-hoing we'd eat and then we'd end the day with some spin rides.

Whilst most of the group headed to the mouse, I decided a one-ahead approach would be better and headed for Windstorm a sizeable coaster that used to reside at a park in Washington before being sold to the showman, Ray Cammack, who's actually based in Arizona. The coaster is famous for it's tight diving drop that appears half way around and having ridden a similar ride at Santa Cruz (tomorrow's destination) in 2002 I knew when to brace :)

Then we did the mouse, and the plan had worked as there was no queue at all, had we gone with the club we'd have had to wait. This ride actually had a very good spin on it and we had to sit in the brake run for a good while to stop.

The fair is in 2 halves, with the majority around the southern end of the showground racetrack and a smaller childrens fair in the centre of the track. This did of course mean the other coasters were kiddy ones. Joining them was a small underpass on which was painted a rather nice mural making a nod to the coaster history of the fair.

First roller coaster was a mini coaster (called so because you have to be mini to fit in them without looking stupid) called "Roller Coaster". Not the most imaginative of names and the ride is a generic kiddy ride that went around more than was necessary.

We were being caught up by the others. Stay back! stay back!

Next up, was a generic wacky worm which went around more times than the last ride. The ride ops were very laid back and didn't think it odd that a coach load of adults wanted to ride their coaster.

The final one was the same system as the Rollercoaster rollercoaster but with a rather nicely themed station.

Having done the countable rides we had enough tickets left to head back via a chair lift.

Looking down at the final coaster, tiny, huh?

Saying goodbye to the kiddy park...

...and hello to the main park. The park was of a decent size and much more than I had expected.

A good selection of stuff toys to win on the games, and there were a few being carried out by lucky members of the public.

There was a good selection of food although most of it appeared to be fried. I like that so much effort went into signage for a hot dog on a stick.

Some of the food seemed a bit odd. Chocolate covered bacon, I understand the joke value in that. Deep Fried Butter, errr I don't get that at all.

Perhaps the best marriage of all time.

With the Tattooine sun starting to head down the rides began to light up and it having survived a beef stew, which was cheekily mostly rice to make the portion look bigger than it really was, it was time to see the park really come to life.

A selection of live acts were playing around the showgrounds too. Perfect!

Now you would never ever see this in the UK. Too many people thinking they're the daddy for it to be accepted.

The spin rides, of which there was a good selection and with no doubles (something that blights UK fairs), were actually running OK. None of the programmes being run were enough to really petrify me and the Germans have nothing to worry about here. What disappointed me a little bit was that the programmes were typically fairly short, just as the ride got going they were stopping again.

Nice light job on this.

This one looked suitably festive.

I think this photo came out really well. Chance Zippers are not common rides and I know for some of the group this was the highlight.

A nice discovery that I'd completely overlooked until someone made me aware. This was the chain swing from Neverland. So you too can sit on a ride that was sat on by kids who didn't know what they were getting themselves into when invited to Michael's house.

Final ride of the night was this. Again, good programme but too short.

Unlike the rides our stay here was perfectly timed and I had got around the place in good time and more importantly not had to drop rides to make the coach back to the hotel. Overall I was really impressed with the fair and they will be something I'd have to research more when I go to the US.

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