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Rabbits and Roses Get Top Billing This Year


Last year it was Eggbert the Egg, and the year before that it was brawny cattle dubbed Biff and Boris. This year, Rosalie Rabbit has been earmarked as the official mascot of the 110th annual Del Mar Fair.

Specifically, California rabbits--the white variety with black markings on the paws and tips of the ears--and roses will be the theme of the fair, which opens June 15 and runs through July 4. Everything from floral and gem exhibits to children's games will emphasize the theme, said Del Mar Fair spokeswoman Diane Scholfield.

"Each year we highlight a certain aspect of agriculture," Scholfield said. "We wanted to show off small animals, such as the rabbit, and the roses were included to bring out the fact that San Diego County is a real leader in terms of floraculture."

Besides the rabbits and roses motif, fair planners have already chosen many of the musical acts expected to pack the grandstand stadium. The lineup so far includes the Charlie Daniels Band, Expose, Willie Nelson, Donnie Osmond, and the Oakridge Boys, who will end the fair on the Fourth of July.

Something new in this year's fair will be the location of the hobby show and the metal and woodwork displays, Scholfield said. The displays will be in huge tents on the infield of the race track, instead of the Durante building, which will be under construction during the fair's run, she said.

In addition to such Fun Zone favorites as the Ferris wheel and the roller coaster, thrill seekers will appreciate the return of the Dark River boat ride and Crazy Dance, the cars that whirl on a spinning floor.

Scholfield said that planners try to add new amusements each year, but the key to a successful fair lies in the familiar. This year is no exception.

"We find people, especially those who have lived here a long time, like to go through a reminiscing process with their children," Scholfield said. "People really enjoy that they can come to the fair every year and the food stands and the carnival games are in the same places."

A familiar fair feature that officials want to avoid this year is the traffic crunch, said Scholfield. Organizers plan to expand outlying parking and provide shuttle service on weekends and July 4.

For six years, excellent weather and big-name entertainment have contributed to record crowds that even fair organizers hadn't anticipated, Scholfield said. More than 1 million people attended last year's fair, making the Del Mar Fair the 16th-largest fair in North America, she said.

Admission to this year's fair is $6 for adults, $3 for persons age 62 and older, and $1 for children ages 6 to 12. Children younger than 6 are admitted free.

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