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Sets new attendance record
By Christian Vega
DEL MAR, CA - Rattlesnake season in full swing, students are on vacation, and the sun is always shining. Summer has officially begun in San Diego County which means its time for the San Diego County Fair. The SDCF is San Diego,s largest event and 6th largest fair in the nation, according to MCW's Top 50 Fair list.
The fair began setup in April with banners hung from the clock tower at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Concessions and midway rides started arriving on the fairgrounds the first week of June. While RCS was tearing down in San Bernardino, their Zipper and Hydro Slide arrived on the grounds. Jim Bishop began setting up his Tango and Evolution while his Sky Flyer was playing another show. Bruce Perelman was setting up the loading platform for the Hard Rock while Michael Wood,s crew was cleaning the Magnum before setup.
The San Diego County Fair is an independent midway with some of the best rides from Southern California and throughout the country.
Absent from this year,s fair was Bill Hensley of Flight To Mars, Inc. of Sterling, Colorado due to his selling of two pieces, the Wisdom Storm to Joyce Hutchins of Joyrides LLC and his Mondial Fighter to Wade Shows. Arriving for the first time at the San Diego County Fair from Dallas, Texas was Nick Pelino,s Showtime Rides, bringing a Viper. The Viper, manufactured by Sterling, Colorado-based Wisdom Industries, was a redesign of the Grover Watkins Cobra. Improvements made for the Viper include simultaneous loading, over the shoulder harnesses and LED lighting.
Another ride manufactured by Wisdom and a redesign of a classic, was The Storm. The ride is essentially a redesigned Watkins Tempest and Hustler with notable modifications such as simultaneous loading, shoulder harnesses, and more speed. As mentioned before, The Storm was owned by Flight To Mars before it was purchased by Joyrides in 2008. The Storm, built in 1999, has gone through a couple of refurbishments, such as repainting the doghouse and loading deck in 2006. It received another refurbishment in 2009 when Hutchins had the queue re-routed and a Tivoli Orbiter doghouse with Marvel Comics super "Storm" painted on the exterior, replacing the original doghouse. The checker-painted loading platform was reverted back to its chrome surface.
The two rides mentioned above were not the only rides that went through facelifts in the offseason. Both Michael Wood,s Techno Power and Bruce Perelman,s Windsurf received new backdrops and LED lighting.
One other notable ride receiving attention was Helm And Sons Amusements, Zierer Wave Swinger. Prior to 2009, the Wave Swinger was brought in by Fontana, CA - based Davis Enterprises. Helm began providing a Wave Swinger last year.
What makes Helm,s Wave Swinger unique is the fact that its previous owner was none other than the King Of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. That,s right, Helm,s Wave Swinger was the same Wave Swinger at Neverland Ranch owned by Michael Jackson. As the ride was in operation, only Michael Jackson,s music could be heard playing from the ride,s loudspeakers. Riding the Wave Swinger with "Beat It" playing on the loudspeakers, thousands of fairgoers had their chance to experience a bit of Jackson's magic.
A popular attraction at the fair, "Star Trek Live", played on the Infield near Kiddie Land. This twenty minute show gave guests the experience of being a rookie at the so called "Starfleet Academy". The show, produced by Mad Science, provided special effects as well as audience interaction with the cast members while being intertwined with the events of the 2009 film "Star Trek", directed by J.J. Abrams. Unlike "Al,s Brain" at the 2009 Orange County Fair, "Star Trek Live" did not use 3-D effects but instead was armed with audience interactivity and effects such as fog, lasers, and strobes.
The main exhibit hall featured demonstrations put on by professional chefs keeping with the fair,s theme, "Taste The Fun".
Fair food has reputation of being unhealthy and no one does more to continue this reputations than Chicken Charlie,s. Owned by Charlie Boghosian, the San Diego based operation is a fair favorite. We asked Chicken Charlie to how he comes up with his delicacies.
"I try to come up with about two to three things every year but in order to get to that I have to fry so much. We have these fry fests at my house instead of barbeques and I just invite a bunch of friends, family, and neighbors over and everyone brings something and at the end of the day there,s always a couple of things that are horrible and a couple of things that are great. It's just basically between family and friends and we take all the ones that worked throughout the previous five months and figure out which ones were the best. We cook them all and have all the guests vote on it and usually the top two come on the menu that year", said Chicken Charlie
Chicken Charlie,s newest concoction, a deep-fried Klondike bar was a hit this year with about 12,000 bars sold according to the fair,s website. Deep fried ice cream? How does he do that?
"I decided put the ice cream in a -25 degree freezer and make the oil a little hotter so we got extra hot, extra cold coming together and amazingly, it made the batter crispy on the outside real fast and the coldness of the ice cream started to melt but it didn,t melt completely so when you go to eat it, you,ve got the soft and cold on the inside and the crispy and the hot on the outside. And when you add chocolate to that little thing, it,s a bite of heaven."
Indeed, the deep-fried Klondike bar was a bite of heaven. Imagine a hot fluffy flap jack wrapped around a Klondike bar as it melts in your mouth with the warm crispiness of the batter.
The 2010 San Diego County Fair ran from June 11th until July 5th with a record breaking 1,338,500 attendees, the highest attendance ever achieved in the fair,s history.