Record-breaking attendance and sales at the San Diego County Fair 2023

1,000,000 people during a record-breaking San Diego County fair in 2023, fueling fun and economy alike, while innovating guest experiences.

In 2023, the San Diego County Fair took top honors in many major categories, including total attendance, paid attendance, food sales, concert ticket sales, and playground revenue.

This summer saw a staggering total of 997,720 people flock to the fairgrounds. Stretching over 22 days, the fair ran from June 7 to Tuesday following Independence Day.

Per the organizers’ statement, this year’s fair placed a significant emphasis on enhancing the visitor experience, choosing to focus on quality over sheer volume.

Expanding the Food Choices

The fair significantly expanded its food and entertainment offerings to cater to a diverse range of tastes. Furthermore, several measures were introduced to minimize the inconvenience to nearby communities, such as managing crowd sizes, curbing long queues for food and games, and addressing parking and traffic issues.

To streamline the fair experience, strategies like phasing out cash for tickets and parking, redistributing rides more effectively, promoting off-site parking, and enhancing shaded rest areas were implemented.

Concert timings were more efficiently organized, and the number of complimentary tickets was restricted, particularly during the fair’s final weekend.

A Plethora of Exhibits

Attendees were treated to various agricultural exhibits, products, captivating performances, multi-genre music, and adrenaline-pumping rides.

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In a spotlight moment, local artists were allowed to grace the stage. The most popular shows hailed from Los Tigres del Norte, Nelly, and Kevin Hart.

The fair also hosted crowd favorites such as the Toast of the Coast wine festival, the Asian & Pacific Islander Festival, Out at the Fair, the Gospel music festival, and the sold-out International Craft Beer Festival.

Creating Economic Opportunities

Besides being a fun-filled extravaganza, the fair was an economic powerhouse. A 2019 San Diego State University study revealed that the fair contributed $236 million in direct sales.

Furthermore, the fair employed over 1,000 temporary workers, excluding those working at trade booths, restaurants, and contractors.

This year, in partnership with San Diego County Parks and Recreation and California State Parks, the fair exhibited themed displays featuring diverse “lands,” underscoring the diverse ecosystems and outdoor activities in San Diego County.

Visitors had the chance to attend “Rangers and Reptiles,” a presentation in which rangers displayed snakes, lizards, and turtles and delved into their diet, habitat, and adaptation to the region’s various ecosystems.

San Diego County Fair Highlights

The fair saw participation from 17 San Diego County communities in the banner program. Other key San Diego statistics during the fair include:

  • The fair spanned 22 days
  • 43 rides and games of chance were featured
  • In total, there were 70 rides and games
  • The fair introduced 98 new shows
  • Local participation included 108 booths and concessionaires
  • 212 local performers entertained the crowd
  • 359 youths aged 9 to 18 participated in the livestock auction
  • 486 animals were part of the livestock auction
  • 18,882 performers provided a total of 732.5 hours of entertainment
  • Over 1,000 employees were hired by the fair.
  • 5,717 participants took part in the SiembraCosechaCome program
  • An estimated 6,400 stuffed animals were earmarked for distribution to local children’s hospitals through the Care ‘N’ Share program
  • The Los Tigres del Norte concert saw an attendance of 7,520, making it the most popular concert
  • A total of 9,187 blue ribbons were awarded during the competitive exhibits
  • Over 12,000 complimentary tickets were given to local nonprofits
  • 18,279 children aged 12 and under were admitted free on Fridays
  • The hottest new ride of the year, the Joker 360, boasted 36,296 riders
  • Chicken Charlie sold 40,000 chicken potstickers with Cheetos Flamin’ Hot
  • The Toyota Concert Series drew a total audience of 57,956
  • The Crazy Mouse ride attracted 83,416 riders through July 3
  • The Sky Ride baskets carried 89,537 people through July 3
  • Mom’s Bakeshoppe sold 160,282 chocolate chip cookies by 8:30 p.m. on July 4
  • A total of $482,739 was raised from selling 228 animals to 90 buyers during the Livestock Auction
  • “Chicken Charlie” Boghosian paid a record-breaking $27,867 for the top-selling carcass, a significant increase of $59,000 over 2022
  • 997,720 individuals visited the 2023 San Diego County Fair.