SAN DIEGO — While we haven't enjoyed a full-scale San Diego County Fair since 2019, this year's could possibly be scaled back for a different reason.
A judge has blocked fair organizers from using the company it hired to provide the fair's rides and games, ruling that the selection process was essentially rigged.
"It definitely would be a bummer," said Ben Arrazola, father to a 4-year-old boy, Liam. "We hope to be able to go and have a good time!"
"It would be less exciting...less things to do," said San Diegan, Sarah Johnston.
"I feel like it wouldn't be as fun and family friendly," agreed her friend, Naomi Duprey. "That's what I think of when I think of the fair: rides and games, bringing your family, bringing your kids and having a really fun day out."
The San Diego judge in this case issued an injunction blocking the fair district's contract with RCS, meaning that fair organizers now have little time to find a new company to provide those central attractions.
A competing company, Talley Amusements, had charged that the fair district essentially tailor-made the contract qualifications to favor RCS over other competitors.
In his ruling, the judge wrote "there is at least the appearance of favoritism which is contrary to public policy," adding that the evidence supports an inference of 'favoritism,' 'fraud' and 'corruption,' but also added that "no such definitive findings are made herein."
For its part, fair organizers say that they've received the injunction and are working to determine what this will mean for the upcoming fair.
They issued this statement:
"We are very concerned by some of the contentions upon which the court's ruling is apparently based, which have not been proven. With fewer than ten weeks before the start of the fair, the 22nd DAA is committed to doing everything it can to save this beloved summer ritual that is enjoyed by 1.5 million San Diegans and Californians."
Fair officials also said that they are considering all options, and hope to make a decision as to how to proceed in the coming days.
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