Although the fairgrounds is owned by the State of California and run by the 22nd District Agricultural Association, all of its operations are entirely self-funded. The facility relies on event revenues to operate and does not receive any assistance from the State of California’s general fund. With the postponement or cancellation of all events over the past several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the 2020 San Diego County Fair, the Del Mar Fairgrounds’ revenue streams have been severely depleted.
The Del Mar Fairgrounds and its Board of Directors have requested $20 million from the State of California for critical emergency funding support. They are also actively pursuing funding options on the city, county, and federal levels.
In addition to being an entertainment mecca during the San Diego County Fair, the horse racing season, and 300+ annual events, the fairgrounds also plays an integral role in emergency response for the region. During the wildfires of 2017, 2014, 2007, and 2003, the Fairgrounds served as an emergency evacuation site for large animals, providing safe shelter to thousands of animals during the community’s great times of need. As an example, during the 2007 fires, the fairgrounds provided a safe haven to 2,300+ horses and livestock as well as 2,000+ human evacuees.
Until it is safe to host events again, the Del Mar Fairgrounds does not have the ability to create the necessary revenue it needs to survive. Community support is crucial during this challenging time in order to preserve the fairgrounds for future generations. saveyourfairgrounds.com
Fireworks: Photo by Fred Greaves. Kids on ride: Photo by Dave Gatley