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2015 county fair theme to highlight Balboa Park, 1915 exposition

Poster depicts theme for the 2015 San Diego County Fair: the Balboa Park exposition of 1915.
Poster depicts theme for the 2015 San Diego County Fair: the Balboa Park exposition of 1915.

By Joe Tash

The 2015 San Diego County Fair will celebrate Balboa Park, a San Diego icon, and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, which was held in the park.

Officials with the 22nd District Agricultural Association — which runs the state-owned Del Mar fairgrounds — were joined by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Wednesday, Sept. 24, to announce the theme for next year’s San Diego County Fair, which will run from June 5 through July 5.

The theme will be “A Fair to Remember,” and will highlight Balboa Park, world’s fairs, and specifically, the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

Each year, fairground officials designate a theme for the county fair, which attracts some 1.4 million visitors during its annual run.  Exhibits, activities and signs are tied to the theme.  This year’s theme was “The Fab Fair,” celebrating the music of the Beatles and the culture of the British Invasion of the 1960s.

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Near officials at Wednesday’s news conference was a reproduction of a poster from the 1930 San Diego County Fair, which was held at Balboa Park.

Along with exhibits and events at next summer’s San Diego County Fair, the partnership between the 22nd DAA and the city of San Diego could include events held in Balboa Park before and during the fair, officials said.

Few specifics about the activities that might arise from the partnership were available Wednesday, as officials said next year’s county fair is still in the planning stages.

“This is going to be new territory that we’re developing,” said Fred Schenk, president of the 22nd DAA board of directors. “We’re excited about the opportunity.  The details will be forthcoming.”

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Faulconer said 22nd DAA officials approached his office about a month ago to discuss the proposed theme for next year’s fair.  He said the partnership offered an opportunity to promote Balboa Park and a slate of activities being planned for the centennial of the Panama-California Exposition.

“We’re proud of Balboa Park, we’re proud of the centennial.  This is a great match with the fair,” Faulconer said.

“They want to help,” he added of the 22nd DAA.  “They want to make it a special event for the centennial.”

Faulconer said the city will be releasing a schedule of events to celebrate the 2015 centennial in October.

In March, a committee charged with planning the centennial celebration disbanded after failing to get the effort off the ground.  Newly elected Mayor Faulconer pledged a fresh start in planning centennial events.

The 2015 edition of the San Diego County Fair will open on a Friday afternoon, extending the fair’s run by a half-day from the 24 days it operated this year.


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