Albert H. Fulcher | Editor
More than 54,000 people attended the first full day of the San Diego County Fair on June 1 and brought thousands to the Paddock for the ninth annual Out at the Fair (OATF) event, now the principal “Out” event in San Diego County and getting larger each year. People filled the Paddock all day and through the evening as the Paddock stage entertained the crowd with comedy, music, drag shows, Dunk a Hunk, children’s events and a lot of audience participation. Although OATF is an LGBTQ+ event, many people attending the Fair stepped into the Paddock area to enjoy the day full of fun events.
InAchord, GIRLboy and Effie Passero provided a well-rounded day of musical entertainment for this year’s event with choral excellence, the pop/hip/hop sounds of GIRLboy and a phenomenal performance by Passero who had everyone on the edge, especially with her own take on the rock classic “House of the Rising Sun.”
The Glam Show brought the best of drag from around the country, but it was San Diego’s hometown girls and guys that stole the show. Land Plenty brought the house down as she sashayed her way on the stage performing before starting as the evening’s host along with Alexander Rodriquez, taking over for The Guncles, Pauly and Monks who entertained the crowd throughout the day.
The San Diego Kings Club brought some local favorites with numbers from “Grease,” and more. The Family Jewels started with a tribute to the theme of the fair, “Oz-some” donning some spicy looks for Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Neither of these groups ever disappoint and they all took advantage of the large crowd to perform for. The only thing missing, was they left everyone wanting more.
Unusually held at the first full day of the opening of the Fair, it gave everyone a great opportunity to not only enjoy the OATF event, but also the eccentric commodities of the Fair. From deep fried Oreos, gourmet candied apples and a plethora of unique and delicious dishes, there had to be something there for anyone who visited, and following that with the thrill of the rides, it was a great day at the Fair which runs through July 4.
There were many children at OATF this year and it was ready for them giving special times for children’s events and prizes for all. The non-binary OATF mascot Dabby, spent the day taking photos with children of all ages.
Our hosts for the day and the night also created a fun day, getting the audience involved in dance competitions, lip syncing for your life, quick answer trivia questions, all the while sending showers of souvenirs from the stage. They did so much more than just filling the gap between performances, being great entertainers throughout the day.
William Zakrajshek, Out at the Fair founder said that this year event was its largest turnout to date and expanded across all Out at the Fair activities.
“This year we changed the set-up of OATF by creating umbrellaed non-profit tables allowing better flow throughout the Paddock,” Zakrajshek said. “This also allowed for better viewing of the full Paddock set up and helped with the interaction between fair goers and non-profit booths. For the first time a rainbow flag and transgender flag were raised at the information booth inside the main gate of the San Diego County Fair.”
Zakrajshek said the 2019 entertainment lineup kept OATF attendees captivated from start to finish which included InAchord, GIRLboy, Christy from Little Women: LA, American Idol’s Effie Passero, the OATF Glam Show, and Rich’s After Dark featuring platinum recording artist DEV. DEV’s high energy pop set and a DJ battle between DJ K-Swift and DJ John Joseph left the Paddock Stage dancing until Fair closing with our largest 9 p.m. crowd yet.
“New Popular OATF activities this year were the OATF Super Smash Brothers Tournament in 17 Hands ‘Mom’s Basement,’ OATF LGBTQ+ Comedy Hour sponsored by Hillcrest Comedy in the Turf Club, special OATF host Mariam T in The Wicked Wahine Rooftop Speakeasy and our LGBTQ+ Art Area at the Paddock Tavern,” Zakrajshek said. “This year we introduced the Dabby pin and adult Dabby T-Shirts. Both were huge successes and are available in the OATF Merch Store in-app with new flat rate shipping. With how popular the grey adult Dabby T-shirt was this month we will be adding a darker color adult Dabby shirt!
“The group decision of moving OATF from the second weekend in June to the first weekend to not compete with LA Pride anymore was a great choice,” he continued. “We can bring the community together, the first weekend in June and kick off Pride month together at OATF.”
— Albert Fulcher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.