Playing at the Del Mar Fair

The Del Mar Fair is a giant county fair that serves San Diego County. It’s a big social event that combines theme park, stock show, beer garden, and party all in one neat package. Added bonus: the Del Mar Racetrack, a turf track for thoroughbreds, cuts through the fairgrounds. At least, it’s a bonus if you’re into horses.

I remember standing on that gangway with mom when I was younger and asking where all the horses were. I don’t remember what she said, but she probably laughed at me a little and remembered me telling her she was mean for breaking our horse. How was I supposed to know that you don’t literally break horses? But I digress.

Del Mar means ‘from the sea’ in Spanish, so there’s a lot of nautically themed artwork and buildings hiding around.

On that note, I think littering would be cut down in many areas if they just put giant, brightly-painted pelicans on their trashcans:

On one side, it’s really attention-getting. On the other, you’re throwing trash into the bird’s gullet, which is kind of a mixed message. Hey, it’s better than the message this vendor was sending:

Only in the US would something like this have a line of 30 people in front of it…

The other half isn’t much into rides (or into heart attacks), so we decided to explore the agricultural part of the fair. Funnily enough, we found my grandparents’ old neighbors from the local camel dairy.

At this point, Gil and Nancy were training for a trek into the desert to prove they could drink camel’s milk as a nutritional supplement to a limited diet. They’re a very high-energy, devoted couple, and are very fun to talk to. For more information for interested parties, visit their website here.

We also found the Nature Conservancy, who was displaying several of their pet projects, including these little sharks.

Yes, the shark was going for that guy’s thumb. Why, you ask? Because he must have been related to the rattlesnake brothers. He was trying to get the shark’s attention by wiggling his hand in the water when the attendant wasn’t looking. The shark obliged by quickly rising up after the hand and trying to jump out of the water when the bait was removed. Honestly, there’s got to be somewhere we can go where common sense exists. We just haven’t found it yet.

The conservancy has many other projects as well, including partnering with some of the birding organizations. They had several hawks and falcons on display, including this one, which I think was a Swainson’s hawk. He didn’t really like the camera on him, though I can’t blame him for that.

We also found several people who advocated beekeeping, home-grown tilapia, and a goldminer’s association that was really fun to chat with. It just goes to show that a fair isn’t all about the rides, I suppose. It’s about the opportunity to get together and appreciate the diversity of the place you live.

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