San Diego County Fair Exhibits
To be a participant in the Fair, enter a project or one day contest.
Exhibit Department Hours
||Fair Opening - 10PM
||Fair Opening - 11PM
||Fair Opening - Midnight
Game On! Theme Exhibit
Located in the Activity Center near O'Brien Gate
Life is a game — play it! And in this year's Theme exhibit, there's nothing but fun and games for all ages. Whether its board games, card games, traditional games, roll-playing games, miniatures or video/mobile games there is something for everyone at this year's Game On! Exhibit. Here's what there is to look forward to:
• The world's most iconic game image is brought to life, or should we say larger-than-life, with a 10' Monopoly board and race car token — perfect for a photo opportunity, you may even discover a modern day Rich "Uncle" Pennybags.
• Larger-than-life versions of Dominos, Operation, Chess, Tumble Tower and Four in a Row are ready and waiting for fairgoers to play all day long — and watch for special versions of these favorites on Family Game Nights.
• Sit down for five minutes or five hours and learn a new game from one of our game partners — Game Empire, Pair A Dice Games and Wiggity Bang Games — Magic Feather, Quao, Euro games and many more will be featured.
• Interested in a career in games? Learn about what it takes to break into the video and mobile gaming industry with help from Arts Institute of California and UCSD Extension; after an education of a life time, Wired Talent can help you find your dream job.
• Stop by the Gam3rcon Video Game Lounge, and the Retro Arcade for non-stop action that will take you to another world.
• If game shows are your thing, join the audience and get selected for our original and unique, over the top and out of the box game shows featured daily at 12PM and 5 PM. Play FURT, the Game Show and The Game Game Show
• The Bar-cade is the place to stop off for a cool beverage so your house of cards doesn't collapse from the pressure!
• Take a guided tour of the history of games with our resident game historian, Dr. Wayne Saunders
• Want to get a clue about Parlor Games? Join our very own Professor Plum on Thursday afternoons for a special lesson, but watch out for the wrench!
• Each day there will be a series of guest speakers who will discuss game creation, what's new in gaming, how artwork is developed, where an idea comes from, and what the future may bring — really, just a bunch of cards!
• Join the fun each weekend for Monopoly weekends with screening and stars from the documentary "Under the Boardwalk," Monopoly tournaments on Saturdays and Sundays (visit kidstocamp.org to see how you can be a competitor), and don't miss the finals on July 4 where the winner becomes eligible for an upcoming Monopoly world series.
• Meet the creator of Killer Bunnies (killer dude!), Jeffrey Bellinger a San Diego resident and high school teacher, at Killer Bunnies weekend June 14 - 16.
• Be part of the Miniatures Tournament Weekend, June 21 - 23, as a player or observer (visit GameEmpire.com to see how you can bring your troops to the table.)
• Learn to play the hand you are dealt during Competitive Card Game Weekend, June 28- 30 for Magic, Kaijudo and more (visit PairADiceGames.com to learn how you can get lost in the shuffle.)
• If you like to follow the rules of the game, but don't want to be left holding all the cards find out about the history of games from Scrabble to Battleship to Chutes & Ladders and more, perhaps a little game history lesson will inspire a gaming renaissance at your house!
• Play the latest games developed right here in San Diego County by USAopoly. Enjoy original creations like Telestrations, Tapple and Cross-Ways as well as branded favorites like Clue Big Band Theory Collector's Edition, Monolopy Nintendo Collector's Edition, Scrabble The Beatles Edition, Yahtzee Hello Kitty Collector's Edition and much, much more.
Watch out for Spontaneous Tornado Jockey, the Game Tower, Family Game Night and many other surprised that will help you have fun as you go through the game of life — the cards are stacked in your favorat the Game On! Theme Exhibit.
Home & Hobby Show
This exhibit is located on the 2nd floor of the west grandstand and is where you will find all of the "traditional" Fair exhibits- needlework, sewing projects, knitting, quilts, preserved food, crafts, baked goods, decorated cakes and more! Unique to this exhibit is a display of collections, miniatures, models and coin/stamp collections. Collections range from memorabilia to antiques, to the truly unusual fit for a Ripley's Believe it or Not! Exhibit. Most days during the Fair, the department holds a One Day Contest open to any member of the public wanting to participate. Participation gets you free admission to the Fair simply by bringing your entry and contest form to the front gate during the allotted time. Demonstrators from various clubs and guilds provide demonstrations of their craft such as quilting, weaving, lacemaking and more everyday. A state of the art kitchen houses daily cooking demos and other fun ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Check the program for specific times and schedule.
New This Year: Decorated Christmas Trees- participants will supply and decorate a Christmas tree up to 4' Tall and compete for the best decorated tree.
New Contests: Pillsbury Pie Baking Championship, Re-purposed Plastic Grocery Store Bags, Bisquick Family Favorites Recipe, Karo Sweet Treats for Sweethearts, "Game On! Chili Cook Off," and Gold Medal Flour Scratch Bakers Cookie Challenge
Returning Favorite Contests: The Great American Spam Championship, Yarn Block, Help a Child Smile benefitting the Palomar Hospital Child Abuse Program, Quilt of Valor Quilt Block, Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship, and Antiques
Design in Wood
This competition and exhibit is put on in collaboration with the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association. Woodworkers from all over the world compete for honors each year. Exquisite furniture, instruments, carvings, clocks, children's toys and much more can be found in this exhibit located on the north side of the Fair's Mission Tower Building. Many pieces are for sale directly from the crafter and many pieces are museum-quality. Special features include an 18th Century Children's Chair Shop. Volunteer woodworkers build children's chairs using traditional tools and donate them to various children's charities. Demonstrations are also put on by violin makers, wood carvers and turners and other masters of their craft. Daily docent tours for the public are offered. Check the program for listings.
This exhibit is located on the 1st floor of the east grandstand (clubhouse side). The exhibition included 2-D and 3-D work by some of the area's best artists. The public is invited to tour the exhibit and vote for the daily People's Choice award. Demonstrations by various art guilds and associations happen outdoors in front of the exhibit in the area known as the Turf Club Courtyard every day. Some special events include:
Plein Air Painting Contest, Thursday, June 20: Artists bring their canvases and painting supplies and are given 4 hours to paint a scene at the Fair. All paintings are returned to the Turf Club courtyard for judging and viewing by the public from 4:15 pm to 6:00 pm that day.
Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival, June 29 - 30 on the East Tarmac (east of the Grandstand stage) 10 am to 5pm: Chalk artists will be painting on their asphalt canvases both days and kids are invited to try their hand at their own sidewalk chalk creations.
Small Image Contest, Thursday June 13: The trick to this contest is all artwork must not exceed 7" in any direction making it a unique challenge! Participation gets you free admission to the Fair that day.
Paul Ecke Jr. Flower & Garden Show
Landscaping, floral design, specimen blooms, and plants. More than 50 exhibits of everything from complete gardens to container gardens to educational displays.
Local experts from the San Diego Rose Society, Asian Arts, the Del Mar Rose Society, the San Diego County Dahlia Society, the San Diego Epiphyllum Society, and the San Diego Bonsai Society will be on hand on select days to share their knowledge. The San Diego Horticultural Society (SDHS) and the San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG) will provide a "Horticulturist of the Day" to answer your questions. The garden information booth located in O'Brien Hall is staffed each day by Master Gardener Volunteers and California Rare Fruit Growers.
Flower Show Stage Talks: Hear experts in the field of horticulture as they share their secrets for greener plants, bigger flowers and tastier vegetables. Also learn valuable information on water-wise gardening, drought tolerant plants and saving and collecting rainwater.
Exhibition of Photography
A display of photographs in black-and-white and color, and a display of electronic art. Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, photographers will share their knowledge about photography in a series of Photography Talks. Each of these classes takes place in the Veranda Café, located near the entrance to the photography exhibition on the second floor, east Grandstand. Among the topics will be using digital cameras, Photoshop tips and tricks, retouching, travel photography and more.
Gems, Minerals & Jewelry
A display of fine gems, minerals and fossils from all over the world, and finely crafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry. Every day, docents will give guided tours of the exhibit, and knowledgeable mineral and gem collectors will share their knowledge.
Creative Youth and Best of K-6 Schools
A display of San Diego County children's art, writing, collections, crafts and educational projects. One-day contests for kids in art, crafts and cooking give young Fairgoers the chance to earn blue ribbons. Please click the link for more information.
A display of San Diego County junior high, high school and community college student projects.
Many varieties of livestock, both large and small. Please see the Animals page of this website for details on what kinds of animals will be here and when.