Inflation creates high prices for food at San Diego County Fair

The cost of gas and groceries have gone up, and a trip to the county fair is no exception. Many vendors say they had to raise prices in order to make a profit.

DEL MAR, Calif. — Some San Diegans were surprised to see the sticker shock of higher food, games and ride tickets at the San Diego County Fair.

“It is just too damn much. The tickets were high, I mean it was almost $100 just to get in the gate,” said fair attendee Anita Reserva.

What do your favorite fair foods cost?

The cheapest hot dog is $10 at the fair, a whole supreme pizza costs $50. The famous fair Australian Battered Potatoes range from $12.50 to $14.50.

“We’ve had to raise our prices because our products are so hard to purchase,” said Australian Battered Potatoes owner Carmel Dyer.

Australian Battered Potatoes

Dyer says the cost of oil and batter has doubled to make her popular battered potatoes if she can even get the products in time with supply chain delays. She says the price is also high in Australia when she ships product back to her home country.

“Also labor issues, you know they’ve got a hard time trying to get drivers do you know even get the products made,” Dyer said.

For many vendors trying to make a living after not having a fair in Del Mar for two years, Dyer says the record inflation couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“We are trying to keep it down, but if we have the same prices we had back in 2019, we wouldn’t be able to survive. There would be no point in being here,” Dyer said.

The Fruit Caboose Concessions has also had to raise prices at the fair. They sell 48 items on their ice cream menu ranging from $8 to $16.

“We are trying our hardest, but with the price of employees going up and the challenge of not being able to find them, you have to pay competitively to get them here,” said Fruit Caboose Concession owner Ryann Newman.

She says the skyrocketing price of gasoline has increased her bottom line.

“It is all trickle down you know with gas for me. I spend thousands of dollars to bring four trucks and trailers from Northern California to down here,” Newman said.

Newman says fair goers may think vendors are making a killing off the high food prices, but for every ten dollars she makes, she takes home two dollars.

“Sales tax is 10% right off the top, and at the end of the day, what I take home from a product is very little,” Newman said.

Expensive fried foods aren’t stopping some fair goers from paying the high price.

“We haven’t had any pushback and people have been super positive, some buying two and three of our pricier items.

Anita Reserva is shocked her sister Burma Malkey, in town from Utah paid double digits for a funnel cake.

“Price was $13 are you serious? We are going to eat the whole thing,” Malkey said.

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