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The Del Mar Fairgroundswhich hosts the county’s annual fair and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Clubunites local communities in an arena that attracts worldwide attention. The stunning beauties who were crowned Fairest of the Fair and the smoldering good looks of Tommy Hernandez as Don Diego symbolized the hospitality of the San Diego County Fair, whose historic roots began humbly in the genteel port town of National City, just 10 miles north of the Mexican border. That 1880 inaugural autumn fair, initiated by developer Frank A. Kimball, showcased citrus, agriculture, and horses. Today the 22nd District Agricultural Association hosts the summer fair, which features international superstars, flower shows, livestock contests, exhibits, sports events, carnival rides, and its famed fast food, together with the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s racing meet, which has helped make the city of Del Mar a star-studded world-class destination with a colorful history.
About the Author
Authors Diane Y. Welch, history columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune, and her husband B. Paul Welch, a fiction writer, have delved into archives of the 22nd District Agricultural Association and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club to cull many rare and never-before-seen vintage photographs for this evocative window into the Del Mar Fairgrounds’ celebrated past.
Table of Contents
A Fair Is Born 9
Don Diego and the Fairest of the Fair 23
The Del Mar Turf Club 45
Exhibits, Entertainment, and Events 65
Armed Forces 87
The National Horse Show 99
Today's Fairgrounds 109