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News 8 Throwback: Decades of fun and games at the San Diego County Fair

What are you favorite San Diego County Fair memories?
Credit: KFMB

SAN DIEGO — Since way back in 1880, San Diego has had a county fair. It’s changed names and locations over the years but has been held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds since 1936. Now known as the San Diego County Fair, our annual fair is one of the largest in the U.S.  

News 8’s archives hold many fair memories and we’ve picked a few to share as the year’s fair continues to draw in locals and visitors alike.  

What are you favorite San Diego County Fair memories? 

As the finishing touches were being put on the 1978 edition of the San Diego County Fair and Expo, News 8's Dave Cohen stopped by to see things come together. The clip includes vintage footage of the expo which started as an agricultural fair in the late 1880s. Dave also spoke to Tommy Hernandez who played "Don Diego" at the fair and reminisced about the "fairest of the fair" beauty queens over the years including Raquel (Tejada) Welch who was once a News 8 weather reporter (see more Raquel below.)  

In the summer of 1980, the Del Mar Fair/Southern California Exposition (previously and later known as the San Diego County Fair) was celebrating its 100th anniversary. News 8's Loren Nancarrow, Larry Himmel and others spent time at the fairgrounds that year to see how the celebration was going and what attractions the fair was offering. Loren introduced viewers to the new Pat O'Brien Pavilion which was built for $2 million, while Larry explored the games, animals and food attracting locals and tourists to the fair. 

What would a fair be without fair food!? In 1994, News 8's Unknown Eater got to snack on all the fun and fried goodies the Del Mar Fair (later and previously known as the San Diego County Fair) had to offer. Highlights included cheesecake on a stick dipped in chocolate, fresh pasta, and Stuffy's Philly cheese steak sandwich. 

In the summer of 2006, News 8's Steve Price previewed what was to come at the San Diego County Fair. 76 rides were open to attendees along with 110 food booths. Steve spoke with fair food frying extraordinaire Chicken Charlie whose fried avocados promised to be a hit. This clip also includes Steve previews of new fair exhibits, shows and midway games. 

Click here to see more News 8 Throwback videos.