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Homegrown Fun is a scaled-back, pandemic-friendly event presented by the San Diego County Fair that features all the classics like fair food, a Ferris wheel and racing pigs.

Fairgoers and seasonal visitors can rejoice since the San Diego County Fair will return as a scaled-down event after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to be canceled last year.

Every summer, the fair attracts tens of thousands of people, brings hundreds of jobs and boosts San Diego’s tourism and economy so it was devastating when the pandemic put it in pause in 2020. This year, however, changes have been made to bring the summer hot spot back under some modifications.

On Tuesday, vendors were hard at work at the fairgrounds getting everything into place for Friday’s opening. Ashley Colburn, the fair’s marketing coordinator, said the event is meant to give crowds a taste.

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“The San Diego County Fair has on average of about 60,000 people per day but at Homegrown Fun, we would not have more than 13,000,” Colburn says.

Homegrown Fun, which is presented by the San Diego County Fair, will still feel like the annual summer event despite its smaller size. Fan favorites like the Ferris wheel, shopping and rides will be a part of this year’s event. And visitors can still get a taste of decadent, fried goodness in classic fair foods since nearly 40 concession stands will be posted up at the site.

Food vendor Dominic Palmieri said it’s been 15 months of built-up anticipation.

“We knew we weren’t going to have a second chance to make a first impression,” Palmieri said. “We remodeled, got a lot of our stands ready to go.”

Swine master Zach Johnson is returning to the fair for its 23rd year and is happy to be back. He said it’s been difficult trying to ride out the pandemic and adds that he knows vendors who didn’t last.

“To have all the fairs shut down, I mean, we did not have a big race out for 16 months and it was tough,” Johnson says.

Homegrown Fun will run from Friday through July 4 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Tickets are available for $10 and must be purchased in advance online.

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