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FAIR-Tastic Foods Competition

a competition to drool over

We have a delicious competition guaranteed to get your taste buds buzzing!

We asked our food concessionaires to enter culinary creations in three distinct categories, each with two classes: SWEET & SAVORY.

  • THEME: We’re going retro this summer! What does that mean for food? Think of those nostalgic dishes of your youth — were they made with Velveeta, Funyuns or Jell-O? Maybe they were served in a casserole dish, crock pot or Pyrex bowl. Or maybe they include a retro candy, cereal or drink; such as Pop Rocks, Lucky Charms or Tang.
  • WOW: In the words of Bonnie Raitt, “Let’s give them something to talk about!” We’ve all drooled over some awe-inspiring menu item we’ve seen on Instagram, TikTok or Facebook, amiright? These foods are often colorful, creative, ethnically-inspired, or over-the top in some crazy way.
  • NEW: What's new? It's the #1 question we get asked before the Fair. (During the Fair, it's "Where's the bathroom?") Of course we love the traditional corn dogs, turkey legs and ice cream — who doesn't?! But let us introduce you to some first-time food at our Fair.
A panel of judges — led by award-winning food critic, Food Network judge, and owner of San Diego Magazine, Troy Johnson — will crown the winning entries on-site this year at the San Diego County Fair. Check out the finalists now and check back for more updates!

Event is hosted by Rick Morton of nationally syndicated radio show “HEYMORTON”—heard in San Diego on Z90.3 FM every weekday morning from 5–10AM. Rick boasts, ”I haven’t missed the fair in over a decade married into a family of Fair Fanatics!” You can find him on Instagram @HeyMorton

introducing our fair-tastic SEMI-FINALISTS!

STRAWBERRY DREAM

Theme — Sweet

Boba King

A nod to the '60s creation — Pop Tarts! Delectable strawberry fruit syrup, expertly blended with non-dairy creamer and ice, is poured over a bed of tantalizing strawberry bursting boba. All adorned with a delightful strawberry crunch topping and a sweet strawberry Pop-Tart!

DISCO POP SHAKE

Theme — Sweet

TJs Ice Cream

You'll get Disco Fever when classic grape soda and vanilla ice cream, swirled with whipped cream and dancing grape Pop Rocks hit your tongue! Rimmed with Pop Rocks and adorned with Disco ball swirly straw souvenir!

DREAMSICLE PUDDING TRIFLE

Theme — Sweet

Farmer in the Del

Layered house made vanilla cheesecake, local fresh orange mousse & salted graham cracker crust. Topped with sugared orange, whipped cream & dreamsicle ice cream pop.

MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH

Theme — Savory

Cheesy Chef

This French creation gained popularity in the U.S. in the 1960s when Disneyland started serving it at the Blue Bayou restaurant. Delicious ham, Swiss, turkey and cheddar between 3 slices of bread deep-fried to perfection. Topped with powdered sugar and served with pancake syrup dipping sauce.

SPAM FRIES

Theme — Savory

Boba King

SPAM creatively sliced into fry-like shapes and deep fried, resulting in a delectable culinary creation. This unique dish is artfully presented within its original can, accompanied by a trio of mouth watering sauces, sweet Thai chili, spicy mayo, and teriyaki sauce.

CHICKEN POT PIE

Theme — Savory

In Your Face Pies

Comfort food at its finest, served just like Mom used to make. With a flakey, buttery crust and a creamy chicken core.

CREAM PUFF

Wow — Sweet

Funnel Cake by Chicken Charlie

A new take on a classic favorite — fresh whipped cream sandwiched between two small funnel cakes.

CARAMEL APPLE CINNAMON ROLL SUNDAE

Wow — Sweet

Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls

A piping hot, fresh baked cinnamon roll, topped with a layer of carmelized Fuji apple's, hand scooped vanilla ice cream whipped cream, gourmet caramel sauce, and locally grown California walnuts.

50/50 BROWNIE PARFAIT

Wow — Sweet

Mom's Bakeshoppe

This brownie parfait features layers of Mom's 50/50 Brownie bites and Bavarian cream, topped with whip cream, chocolate chips and a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie sending the decadent dessert over the top!

BLOOMING AWESOME

Wow — Savory

Fresh Fry

A giant blooming onion, mixed with fresh fries and topped with chili and cheese.

THE CALI DOG

Wow — Savory

Pink's Hot Dogs

A 1/4 pound spicy sausage topped with french fries, guacamole, sour cream, and hot Cheeto crumbles.

CAVIAR FUNNEL CAKE

Wow — Savory

Funnel Cake by Chicken Charlie

Freshly fried funnel cake with house made whipped cream, topped with Caviar — bringing sweet and salty together like never before!

CAP'N CRUNCH BERRY CHICKEN SANDWICH

New — Sweet

Biggy's

Double-battered extra-crispy fried chicken dipped in a honey raspberry glaze and topped with crushed Cap'n Crunch Berry cereal. Served on a toasted buttered brioche bun encrusted with extra Cap'n Crunch cereal.

LE CROOKIE

New — Sweet

Mom's Bakeshoppe

You read it right...CROOKIE! We take a flakey, buttery croissant, fill and top it off with our made-from-scratch cookie dough, then we bake it to ooey gooey chocolate perfection. Two great tastes that go great together!

COOKIES AND CREAM FUNNEL CAKE

New — Sweet

Fried Food Factory

Our Delicious funnel cake drizzled with powdered sugar and topped with crushed OREO cookies and whipped cream. If you want to go BIG, get your Funnel Cake "a la mode"—topped with a scoop of Cookies and Cream ice cream!

HOT PEACH CRISPY CHICKEN SANDWICH

New — Savory

Farmer in the Del

Golden fried chicken, hot honey drizzle, juicy local peaches, bleu cheese slaw, candied pecans on a buttered brioche bun!

SECRET SAUCE BRISKET & NACHO CHEESE

New — Savory

Australian Battered Potatoes

The Down-Under's favorite potato cakes topped with nacho cheese sauce, brisket, and secret sauce!

HOT HONEY FUNNEL CAKE CHICKEN SANDWICH

New — Savory

Chicken Charlie's

Our Fresh hand dipped chicken breast deep-fried with secret spices, nestled between two small funnel cakes and drizzled with hot honey.

CANDIED BACON-WRAPPED PORK BELLY BITES

New — Savory

Bacon A Fair

Slow-smoked, bite-sized portions of pork belly wrapped in thick cut bacon, then skillet fried and glazed with a delicious brown sugar crust. Each bite will elevate you to the ultimate in bacon satisfaction!

MONDO BEEF BIRRIA CHEESEBURGER

New — Savory

Tasti Burgers

A soft brioche bun with chipotle mayo, pico de gallo, and cabbage slaw, 1/3 pound fresh beef patty, shredded beef Birria, consommé, Hatch green chili cheese sauce, and pickled red onions. Inspired fresh ingredients meet a Tasti tradition of quality fresh beef.

FRIED GREEN TOMATO BURGER

New — Savory

Blue & White All American Classics

Battered and deep-fried tomato on a 1/4 pound hamburger with chipotle sauce, lettuce and cheese.

BEIGNETS

New — Sweet

Breads of the World

A warm, golden pillow of dough, delicately fried to a crispy perfection on the outside while remaining soft and fluffy inside. Each bite releases a burst of sweetness, as the powdered sugar dusting melts on your tongue, creating a symphony of flavors that dance across your palate, transporting you to the charming streets of New Orleans with every delicious bite!

DOLE PINEAPPLE PARADISE BUTTER CAKE SUNDAE

New — Sweet

Crutchee's Cream

A sunny blend of super sweet and tastefully tart! Delicious butter cake is topped with Dole Pineapple soft serve and vanilla soft serve swirl, surrounded by fresh-cut strawberries, Ghirardelli caramel, coconut, and of course — topped with whipped cream and a cherry on top! Aloha!

freeze-dried fruit rollup

New — Sweet

Sugar Puff Candy

Sour Gummy Worms wrapped in a Fruit Rollup and stuffed with Cotton Candy.

NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN TOTS

New — Savory

Biggy's

Buttery, garlicky crispy fried tots topped with Biggys famous Nashville Chicken. This fusion of fair foods raises the level of tots to gourmet! Finished with some extra crispy brined dill pickles to tame some of the Nashville heat, this garlicky and spicy combo will forever change how you love Tater Tots.

WOOD-FIRED MARGARITA FLATBREAD

New — Savory

Breads of the World

A thin, crispy crust crafted from the finest dough and kissed by the flames of a wood-fired oven. The irresistible aroma of charred crust mingling with fragrant basil and melted mozzarella makes each slice a masterpiece of flavor, with tangy tomato sauce adding a burst of freshness that perfectly complements the creamy richness of the cheese.

fUNNEL CAKE DOG

New — Savory

Funnel Cake by Chicken Charlie's

A giant Hot Dog, surrounded by light, crisp Funnel Cake and topped with Maple syrup and powder sugar.

al pastor tacos

New — Savory

Flaco's Tacos

This infamous Al Pastor rotisserie has made it's way to San Diego County Fair! Wood-firing hundreds of pounds of Al Pastor daily, these street tacos smell almost as good as they taste!

LOADED CHEESE STICK

Wow — Savory

Ricky's California Corn Dog

Battered and melted cheese on a stick, sliced open and stuffed with chili, shredded cheese, diced onions, cheese curds and topped with a jalapno popper.

MAUI CHICKEN

Wow — Savory

Chicken Charlie's

Grilled terriaki chicken bites served over a mound of buttery sticky rice over fresh, sweet pineapple chunks—served up in a beautiful half-pineapple bowl.

MAPLE BACON SMOOTHIE

Wow — Sweet

Bacon A Fair

Frozen yogurt smoothie blended with bacon, maple syrup, whipped cream, a little bit of milk and topped with crumbled bacon. Finished off with crispy bacon garnish and served ice cold to satisfy both your sweet and savory taste buds!

THE BARBALICIOUS FLOAT

Wow — Sweet

Candy Factory

Think PINK! This Bubble Gum Soda Float is topped with whip cream, sprinkles and strawberry cotton candy, then garnished with a pink and white lolly pop. For the Ken fans we make this in BLUE as well with a Craft Blue Ocean Water Craft Soda and a blue lolly pop!

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED STRAWBERRY WAFFLE BOWL SUNDAY

Wow — Sweet

Crutchee's Cream

Tastes of summer in a waffle bowl! A delicious waffle bowl filled with vanilla soft serve ice cream and surrounded by fresh-cut strawberries and topped with hot fudge! Garnished with a chocolate-dipped strawberry on the side and finished off with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a cherry on top!

SURFIN' USA PARTY SHAKE

Wow — Sweet

Fruit Caboose

Totally far-out frozen lemonade blended with sweet homemade vanilla soft-serve with a graham cracker rimmed souvenir mug and finished off with a cherry on top!

MANGO MAYHEM

Wow — Sweet

Boba King

Creamy mango slushee with mango popping boba, topped with whip cream, gummy peach rings and a Mango Cherry Big Stick Popsicle.

THE ENDLESS SUMMER SPLIT

Theme — Sweet

Crutchee's Cream

Today's version of an old-fashioned banana split! A banana boat loaded with 1.) vanilla soft serve, topped with ooey-gooey hot fudge and OREO crumbles, plus a chocolate-dipped OREO on the side, 2.) Dole Pineapple soft serve topped with coconut with a colorful umbrella on top, and 3.) vanilla soft serve with fresh-cut strawberries and a chocolate-dipped
strawberry on the side!

FRENCH TOAST STICK SUNDAE

Theme — Sweet

Old Tyme Ice Cream

A playful twist on a classic and a whimsical nod to retro diners. Golden, crispy French toast sticks serve as the perfect vessel for a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream, drizzled with warm maple syrup and whipped cream. It's a delightful fusion of breakfast and dessert that will transport you back to the nostalgic charm of the 1950s diner era.
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