PB pickles, and how to get into the San Diego County Fair for free

deep-fried peanut-butter-filled pickle

Deep-fried peanut-butter-filled pickle at the San Diego County Fair, slightly busted open to show the PB. It actually tasted kinda good. (Photo by Kelley Carlson)

Deep-fried. Peanut-butter-filled. Pickle.

Guess what time it is? Oh yes, it’s San Diego County Fair time, starting Friday, June 5 and running through Sunday, July 5, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Before we go any farther, let me just say that the above-mentioned DFPBFP wasn’t as bad as it sounds. I could have done without the deep-fried part, really, but the actual peanut-butter-pickle combo was — kind of tasty.

That’s when I remembered: A long time ago, the newspaper’s Food section ran a write-in contest for readers’ secret favorite weird food combos. By far, the most popular entries were — dill pickle and peanut butter sandwiches. (We had two winners, if memory serves. I think one was someone who enjoyed liverwurst and grape jelly sandwiches. The other was a woman who liked to drink tomato juice and buttermilk. Those will probably show up at next year’s fair. Deep-fried. You have been warned.)

Anyway, this is my way of leading into telling you that food is one way you can get into the fair for free. (The other way is crafts.) The fair runs a number of one-day contests where all you have to do is bring in your entry and you get in free. (Not to be confused with the traditional jam, jelly, pickle, pie, cake competitions, entries for which closed May 8.)

You’ll need to print and fill out forms to go with your entries (see below). Deliver entries between opening time (which varies each day) and 12:45 p.m. on the day of each contest to the Home & Hobby area on the second floor, west end of the Grandstand. Judging starts at 1 p.m. Your entry and entry contest form will admit you to the Fair free.

Find details on the contests — and the entry and/or recipe forms — at:


There are also plenty of one-day contests for kids. Details and the all-important entry forms and recipe forms are here:


Food-related contests for kids are Chocolate Creations (June 7) , Spam Kid Chef of the Year (June 21), Fancy Popcorn (June 17), Healthy Trail Mix (June 20) and Fancy Sandwich (July 3).

Kids can’t cook? Try contests for Sock Puppet (June 12), Stuffed Animal Dress Up (June 13), Friendship or Loom Bracelets (June 19), Origami (June 24), Landscape Drawing (Your Neighborhood Park) (June 26), Comic Drawing (July 1), Paper Airplanes (July 2).

Kids have no talents whatsoever? (Oh, just kidding.) Try Donate a Book Day on June 27. Just bring a gently used children’s book to be donated to various nonprofits.

Contests for adults are The Great American SPAM Championship (June 6); Yarn Blocks (June 10); Help A Child Smile (June 12); Pie Boss Baking Contest (June 13); Quilt of Valor Quilt Block (June 17); PIN-Spiration Craft Contest (June 19); Homemade Cheese Contest (June 20); Jer’s Chocolate Dessert Derby (June 21); The Curious Fork Salsa Contest (June 23); Antique Contest (June 25); Chili Cook-Off Contest (June 27); Brett’s BBQ Sauce Contest (July 1); Gold Medal Flour Cookie Contest (July 4).

Most of these contests offer a top prize of $25, except the Spam and Gold Medal ones, which offer more serious coin. So check ’em out! Even if you don’t win, you still get into the Fair for free. That sounds like a winner to me!

(c) copyright 2015 Laura Groch


One thought on “PB pickles, and how to get into the San Diego County Fair for free

  1. ***the above-mentioned DFPBFP wasn’t as bad as it sounds.***

    This is hardly a ringing endorsement. 🙂 Fair food is weird.


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