Tagged San Diego County Fair

ICYMI: Media Night at the SD County Fair

Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos by Romina Rossel

The San Diego County Fair may be long gone and the Del Mar Racetrack season has since swiftly moved onto the SD social scene. Even though I’m an SF resident now, it doesn’t mean I didn’t make the pilgrimage to attend my favorite media event in San Diego: Media Night at the SD County Fair.

While this story is suuuuper late, this photo essay by my beautiful and amazingly talented sister from another mister, Romina Rossel, makes it totally worth the wait. From the food shots and farm animal cuddle sessions, to the action shots from the entertainment, my girl Romina was so spot on with these images.

Enjoy the show.

Corn grilled in its husk. The best fair snack ever.
Chicken kabobs were grilled at Chicken Charlie’s
The tequila lady. We always make best friends with the tequila lady.
The Sriracha Corn Dog was definitely one of the best bites of the night.
Chili cheese corn dogs from Pink’s.


It’s never too late to start thinking about the Scare Zone at the Fairgrounds.
This is what my nightmares are made of.
Making friends with the barbershop quartet.
It wouldn’t be the fair without some farm animals.
Thank you, Romina!

Thank you Romina for these amazing shots. Check out her site if you’re in the San Diego area and need some new portraits!

Hope you all enjoyed the SD Fair this season. Until next year!

New and Notable Food at the SD Fair 2014

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

It’s that time of year again! The San Diego County Fair (or rather the Del Mar Fair to us locals) is coming to town. If you’re the type to skip the rides and carnival games and head straight to the food vendors like me, you’ll want to know about our favorite tastes of the fair this year. Here’s a salivating list things you can’t miss this year at the SD Fair!


Chicken Charlie’s Triple Decker Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger…whoa.

This wouldn’t be a proper fair food list without a Chicken Charlie’s mention. New to the menu this year is his Triple Decker Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger. Three beef patties and three slices of American cheese are sandwiched between two plump Krispy Kreme donuts. It doesn’t sound like it would make any sense to your taste buds but holy cow, it was pretty dang good.

Order the Deep Fried Cookie Dough from Chicken Charlie’s to satisfy your sweet tooth

If that’s not enough, Chicken Charlie is also offering Deep Fried Chicken Skin with a chipotle dipping sauce, as well as Deep Fried Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Pair that with a rich Stout beer and call it a day.

The man, the legend: Chicken Charlie

Grantburger’s new Chile Relleno Pretzel Burger

You need to try Grantburger’s new Chile Relleno Pretzel Burger!

Grantburger has always been my favorite stop at the fair. While burgers may seem unassuming at your county fair, Grantburger is always hitting it out of the park with their soft buns and fresh ingredients. New this year is the Chile Relleno Pretzel Burger. A chorizo patty, beef patty, avocado and chile relleno is stuffed in between a super soft pretzel bun. SO GOOD.

Honorable mention: Tasti Chips

Happy 40th to Tasti Chips!

You might want to do yourself a favor and head over to Tasti Chips right next door to Grantburger and pick up an order of thin and crispy potatoes drenched in your favorite sauce, like my favorite, the jalapeño cheddar. They’re celebrating their 40th anniversary this year so make sure to say hello.

Bacon A-Fair’s Bacon-wrapped Jack Daniel’s Churros

Bacon A-Fair was my favorite last year at the 2013 SD Fair with its deep fried, cheesy bacon bomb and wild boar kabob. This year, they’re offering a Bacon-Wrapped Jack Daniel’s infused Churro. The smokiness of the bacon paired with the rich churro will definitely be a hit this year.

Salty, smoky and sweet…Bacon A-Fair’s Bacon-Wrapped Jack Daniel’s Churro

The San Diego County Fair runs June 7-July 6 this year and you won’t want to miss this season. Round up your friends, prepare your belly for a gargantuan amount of food, and order things that are bigger than your head! For more information, visit www.sdfair.com.

Juicy’s Cowabunga corn dog could feed a whole family — or one super hungry lady like me. See you at the fair!

A day at the OC Fair with Hall & Oates, Butterfly Gardens, Fair Food, and More

Written by and photos courtesy of Nadia Ibanez

As a local San Diegan, I’d say I’m pretty well-versed when it comes to the annual county fair. As a child, my buddies and I would rides until we got sick to our stomach and as an adult, we take full advantage of the fried food, craft beer offerings, and live music. However, despite my 29 years, I’ve never visited the Orange County aka the OC Fair.

The Ferris Wheel at the OC Fair

Without even stepping foot inside the fairgrounds, I knew I’d find the standard fair food and rides, but this time around, I really wanted to find out what differentiates the OC Fair from others. After an entire afternoon of walking around, I found a load of attractions that definitely sets this fair apart from the rest.

Checking out all of the slithery creatures at the Reptile Zoo

Like all fairs, most attractions are kid-centric, but as a young adult, I could still enjoy the sights. For instance, kids could take advantage of a Reptile Zoo and butterfly feeding attraction. Kids and adults alike could touch snakes and feed butterflies, all while learning about the characteristics of each species.

Spend some time inside the butterfly attraction and you’re sure to make some new friends

One of my favorite finds at the OC Fair was The Bubble Rollers. Kids can climb into an inflatable ball and roll and play while floating in a pool, without getting wet. I didn’t see any adults getting into the rollers, but I’m already planning on contacting this company for my next event!

The Bubble Rollers at the OC Fair

The team at Wander Magazine is all about partaking in demolition derbies. (Check out our stories here and here.) Visit the Action Sports Arena for the typical demo derby, along with a motor home demo derby, bull riding, or monster truck shows. You might find that these shows and derbies coincide with other events going on inside the fair, so plan accordingly.

Hall & Oates and the OC Fair

One of the best ways to kill time in between letting food settle before jumping on rides is listening to live music. The Hangar stage is home to nightly live music with the likes of popular cover bands, mariachi bands, local acts, and much more. The Pacific Amphitheater is also housed within the fair walls and had an impressive concert calendar with acts like The Flaming Lips, Styx, and more.

On this given night, we were invited to check out Daryl Hall & John Oates. The show was fantastic and there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. (Trust me, I walked around various parts of the venue and the stage was clear as day.) As a child of the 80s, I’ve revisited music from this era and have to say that Hall & Oates definitely put on a great show, touching on new music and older hits like “Rich Girl”, “Private Eyes” and “Your Kiss is on My List”. Having an open amphitheater near the fair is definitely ideal because you could hear the music inside and outside the fair, allowing all visitors to hear a bit of the concert if they wanted.

Overall, I didn’t feel like the OC Fair was just for kids and teens looking to play games and mingle with friends. The beautifully decorated and festive fairgrounds had attractions for people of all ages. I’ll definitely be making another visit next fair season. The OC Fair runs until August 11, so you should definitely drop by if you’re in the area this weekend. The OC Fair & Event Center is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, please visit ocfair.com.

Wander Magazine gets Second Place in the Demo Derby at the SD Fair

Painting my ride for the afternoon

Written by Nadia Ibanez

For as long as I can remember, the Demo Derby at the San Diego Fair was always a must-see when the fair rolled into town. As a child, my family and I went to, what was first known as, the Del Mar Fair, for some deep-fried snacks and an afternoon perched above a dirt lot full of drivers smashing their beat-up cars into each other. In college, my friends and I would go to the fair to check out the latest food craze, craft beer in hand, and drop by the Del Mar Arena to root on our favorite driver.

Lining up to start the derby

Who could have guessed that as an adult, I’d be driving in the actual demo derby? This year, my photographer and I were invited to drive in the demo derby at the SD Fair. After driving in the media derby last year, I knew what to expect: paint your cars, put on your seat belt and helmet, and hope that you don’t get a serious whiplash that would force us to call in sick the next day. I knew I wanted to hold onto my third-place win from last year.

But the derby this year was a little different. The media demo derby at the SD Fair was filled with men dressed up in super hero outfits, professional helmets, and some serious five o’clock shadow all seeking the first-place win. Meaning, they would be the last man standing/car running after smashing and ramming into every opponent. This year, I was the only female driver, and while I was pretty honored to be the only chick brave enough to drive, I was totally terrified.

These media guys were out for blood. They wanted to hit each other so hard that their brains were rattled. They wanted to leave their opponents mangled like the hubcaps and bumpers on the dirt floor at the end of the derby.

Adam and what’s left of his car after the Demo Derby

Needless to say, I painted hearts and flowers all over my derby car and made it fairly clear once we hit the course that I wanted no part of the blood bath. Like every derby in the past, smashing ensued, cars caught on fire, dirt and mud covered us, and the crowd went wild after every hit. I’m extremely happy to say that our photographer, Adam Stuckey, put on a great show and managed to snag the second place spot – after thoroughly wrecking his car.

See you at the Demo Derby in 2014!

You absolutely HAVE to check out the Union-Tribune’s video of this year’s demo derby. (My car is number 4 and Adam is driving number 5.)

We’d like to say thank you to the team at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and San Diego County Fair, not only for the invitation to drive in the demo derby, but also for continuing to offer amazing events like this one, throughout the year. We’re already excited for the 2014 fair season! For more information, visit www.sdfair.com.

Don’t forget to check out the video below from Joe Griffin, a demo derby attendee.

Big Bite Bacon Fest hits the SD Fair


Bacon Chocolates from the Big Bite Bacon Fest

Written by Nadia Ibanez, Photos by Adam Stuckey

It’s been almost a week after the inaugural, Big Bite Bacon Fest at the San Diego County Fair and I’m still feeling bacon overload. All of that savory, salty, meaty goodness is still coming out of my pores. We took a taste of everything: bacon topped donuts, deep-fried bacon-wrapped pickles, bacon sandwiches, bacon ice cream, bacon granola, bacon everything.

We are still coming down from our bacon highs, but check out some photos of our favorite tastes from the Big Bite Bacon Fest.

By far, our favorite taste of the day came from Chef Easy aka Courtney McMillon. The Carlsbad-based chef teaches others that gourmet cooking at home doesn’t have to be difficult. Her Bacon Bourbon Ice Cream was topped with Cherries Jubilee.

Chef Easy’s Bourbon Bacon Ice Cream is topped with Cherries Jubilee. Photo courtesy of Chef Easy

The Bacon Burger from Slater’s 50/50 features their 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground pork, bacon American cheese, a sunny side-up egg, thick cut bacon, and bacon island dressing on a bacon pretzel bun.

Slater’s 50/50 Bacon Burger

We could have eaten bowls of Ocean Beach-based Suga Lab’s Bacon Granola. They craft their mixture from brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, rolled oats, and bacon.

Bacon Granola from Ocean Beach-based, Suga Lab

You can’t really have a true Bacon Fest without a Maple Bacon Donut. We especially loved Donut Bar’s version, which had a super serious Bourbon kick. Drop by their downtown location and look for the Blueberry with Meyer Lemon Glazed donut. It will seriously blow your mind.

Donut Bar’s Bourbon Maple Bacon Donut