SD County Fair returns with full midway after deal reached

Susan S. Johnson

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The San Diego County Fair will return this summer with rides, games, and food after an agreement was reached Monday between fair organizers and vendors.

The 22nd District Agricultural Association, which operates the Del Mar Fairgrounds and San Diego County Fair, is being sued by Talley Amusements, one of two companies that bid on a multi-million-dollar, five-year contract to operate the Fair’s midway.

Talley Amusements claimed the 22nd DAA rigged the scoring on bids and ended up awarding another company — Ray Cammack Shows (RCS) — the contract.

On April 5, Judge Kenneth Medel issued an injunction blocking the contract awarded to RCS, saying that there was evidence of favoritism and fraud. The fairgrounds said without a midway, there could be no fair. Medel said, however, that the court was committed to seeing the fair go on.

After lengthy discussions over the weekend in front of San Diego Superior Court Judge F. Ronald Frazier, an agreement was reached between 22nd DAA, RCS, and Tally Amusements to allow a full midway.

Under the terms of the resolution, the fairgrounds will put on an independent midway that will allow different companies with rides, not just one. They will continue discussions over the layout plan over the next week. Talley and RCS will nearly have an equal share of the midway, with other independent operators allowed about 15 percent, said attorney John Moot, who represents Talley.

Moot said the arrangement should benefit fairgoers.

“They’re going to have two to the best carnival operators in the country competing head to head to whose going to be the best of the show,” said Moot, senior counsel at downtown firm Freeman, Mathis and Gary. “The taxpayer, the fairgoers are really the big winners in all this.”

The fairgrounds and Talley Amusements have also agreed to stop ongoing litigation until after the fair concludes for the season.

“The 22nd DAA is pleased to have reached this agreement and looks forward to hosting the much-anticipated return of the San Diego County Fair, where “Heroes Re-Unite” June 8 through July 4.”

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