Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the San Diego County Fair with my brother and his girlfriend. For this event, I decided to forgo the sash and crown. With the heat and crowds, I did not want to risk it.
The beginning was overwhelming. The traffic took almost an hour just to get in the car line for parking. Thankfully, I had bought our parking pass ahead of time. I wish for disabled parking the Fairgrounds would make it free. As the other parking in the dirt lot is not wheelchair friendly. Not to mention dangerous to wheel around the multitudes of vehicles crammed and shoving each other to find parking.
Or even better, hoping we can get a better trolley system that will go out to Del Mar, so I wouldn’t have to rely on others to get there!
The security checkpoint was interesting. They had metal detectors for both bags and people. The security personnel allowed me to pass the metal detectors. However, my backpack did not pass the inspection. For those that don’t know me, I rely on catheters and ostomy to the bathroom independently. So, I rely on tools such as scissors and hand tools to help. I told them it was for medical purposes, but it was still a little embarrassing for them to take my stuff out to examine. I wish they had a private viewing area for when they need to remove people’s items. Especially when it's private medical stuff.
Once we survived the fair, we moved around. There was so much food! I felt like we could spend the entire day just trying out the food. I tried the footlong corn dog first. It was HUGE!
My brother had the Dole Whip. Mmm. So smooth and creamy.
We next hit up the games and rides. My brother and his girlfriend did the fun crazy rides. Unfortunately, the rides are not as wheelchair friendly as Disneyland or Universal. Additionally, over half the ride operators did not speak English. I was worried that with the language barrier, I would not be able to ask about any safety regulations or accessibility issues.
I passed on the rides and went straight for the colorful carnival game booths. The games were fun and entertaining. I purchased the necessary game tickets. Wowzers were they pricey! Save up if you want to play enough games there.
Thankfully, what they lacked in accessibility for the rides, they made up for in the games. The game booth operators were nice enough to move booth chairs when needed to participate. My brother and I competed at the water gun game I booth. I not only beat him the first time, but I also defeated him in the second round. Gaining a prize for myself, an adorable slushie squish mallow.
Another item I would like to address is the bathrooms. The Del Mar Fairgrounds had wheelchair-
accessible bathrooms! This was great. I didn’t have to see if I had to fit in a gross portable one like most fairs. The staff was really nice and friendly. One of them made sure to let me know when the ADA stall opened up and held it open for me.
We then tried more food! Mm. Deep-fried Oreos. They also had a Kool-Aid drink in a Baby Bottle shaped container. The Oreo was nice and gooey. It melted in my mouth as I chewed.
After we finished round two of the food, it was time for round two of the games! The other games were great to participate in. I won a beautiful Betta named Bilbo. The game operator was nice enough to let me have extra tries due to my difficulty tossing the small ping pong balls.
As crazy or pricey as the fair can be, it’s nice to know that there are still activities those with disabilities can participate in. The water gun booth was moveable, the operators gave you extra tries if you have bad hand dexterity, and the booths were low enough to reach over them to play. I would of participated in the carnival games all day long if I could afford it.
Sadly, the day did eventually had to end. One last round of food. My last treat was a cool and refreshing banana milkshake. It was amazing! The staff was nice enough to get me a cup with a handle due to my hand dexterity issues. Guess you can drink and drive! ☺
Overall, I enjoyed myself at the fair and spending time with my brother and his girlfriend. We ate good food, played fun games, they did rides, and we got to check out the Super Hero Exhibit. The exhibit had a lot of cool pop culture statues from Superman to Ironman to Dr. Who Telephone Booth.
Was there stuff that still needs improvement as far as accessibility issues? You bet. The game operators were sympathetic enough to let me have multiple tries when a game booth proved difficult for accessibility. However, the Fairgrounds themselves need to be empathetic enough to the situation to understand the need to change the whole physical booth itself. We want empathy and not sympathy.
But that’s why getting out there and posting on social media is important. It makes viewers see and realizes the topics that need to be addressed and fixed. The more we can open people’s eyes the more we can make changes.