WHO WE ARE
The 22nd District Agricultural Association manages and operates the Del Mar Fairgrounds on behalf of the State of California, and is governed by a nine-member board appointed by the governor. Fairgrounds operations are primarily funded by revenues generated by hosting events, the largest being the annual San Diego County Fair.
Making Memories Since 1936
Agriculture – the growth and farming of food, flowers & fiber – is what originally brought San Diegans together for the annual fair. By holding competitions to see who grew the sweetest citrus, who baked the tastiest pie, and who had the fastest horse, the San Diego County Fair was born in 1880.
Just after the turn of the century, in an effort to promote and encourage local farming and industry, the California legislature formally organized agricultural associations throughout the state, and the 22nd District Agricultural Association (22nd DAA) was established in San Diego.
In 1936, the 22nd DAA purchased the property at the mouth of the San Dieguito River, now known as the Del Mar Fairgrounds, to host the annual county fair. That first year, more than 50,000 guests attended the San Diego County Fair’s 10-day event. One year later the Del Mar Turf Club began leasing the racetrack for its annual live throughbred horse race meet, with the famous blue-eyed crooner Bing Crosby welcoming guests through the turnstiles.
Generations of San Diegans have made the annual fair and race meet part of their summer tradition. Today, the Del Mar Fairgrounds hosts a large variety of events across three distinct properties:
- Del Mar Fairgrounds • main campus and home to the administrative offices
- Surf & Turf Recreational Facilities & RV Park • just east of the Fairgrounds, across Jimmy Durante Blvd.
- Del Mar Horsepark Equestrian Center • located at Via de la Valle and El Camino Real
Events hosted at the Fairgrounds fall into two categories:
- Events produced by the 22nd DAA, the largest being the annual San Diego County Fair.
- Events and activities produced by third-party promoters, which range from concerts and festivals, trade shows and consumer expos, equestrian competitions and animal shows, sporting events, fundraisers and personal celebrations. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is the largest tenant of the 22nd DAA, leasing on-site office space and operating two seasons of live thoroughbred horse racing.