Deals & Events
By Darlene HornMay 27, 2014
Photo by: Darlene Horn
Sync your calendars up to this season’s hottest events. From costumed beer festivals to chili cook-offs, there are fun things to do, eat and drink from now until Labor Day.
May 31- Bacon & BarrelsStarting last year in Santa Barbara, this festival comes to San Diego’s Embarcadero Marina South with the promise of plenty of bacon dishes and barrel-aged spirits. We’re already hearing whispers of pork belly waffles and bacon-wrapped duck skin from two local spots. Expect about 70 vendors to serve food, wine and beer. If last year’s event at Los Olivos is any indication of this year’s inaugural event, it should be a sellout.Cost: $30 for non-drinkers, $75 general admission, $95 early admission.1 Marina Park Way
June 13-15 – San Diego Greek FestivalCelebrate and learn about Greek culture at St. Spyridon Greek Othodox Church in San Diego. With 45 years under its belt, the festival boasts approximately 1,500 people tasting Greek wines and beers and delicacies like souvlaki and other baked goods. You’ll have a chance to work off the food while dancing to live bands and learning some moves from various Greek dancing performances.Details: Free admission on Friday, $3 on Saturday and Sunday.3655 Park Blvd.
June 7-July 6 – San Diego County FairKicking off the official start to the summer festival season is the San Diego County Fair. This year’s theme has the Del Mar Fairgrounds hearkening back to the 1960s British Invasion, so expect tributes to The Beatles throughout the fair. But more importantly, it’s about the food. Previous years have unveiled deep-fried cereal and Krispy Kreme sloppy joes. This year aims to live up to the previous infamy.Cost: $14 for adults, $8 for seniors 62 and older and children 6-12.2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
June 14 – The Toast of the Coast Wine Competition and FestivalThis festival within the San Diego County Fair will feature the best wines in California and Baja California. Two different sessions – one starting at noon and a second at 4 PM – will include samples from Baja chefs like Javier Plascencia, Flor Franco and La Guerrerense.Cost: $58 (includes fair admission), $45 (without fair admission). Individual tasting tickets are $5 each. The best deal is $85 for a Winemakers’ Tasting ticket that includes general admission, fair admission and five food pairings with five of the top wines.2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
June 20-22 – San Diego International Beer FestivalHome brewers and beer aficionados will be in paradise at this event held within the county fair. More than 180 breweries and 400 beers from around the world will be featured. While drinking takes up a large chunk of this event, there will also be demos on home brewing and beer education from Stone Brewing’s Bill Sysak.Cost: $58 includes fair and festival admission and unlimited 1 oz. beer samples; $100 for VIP admission includes access to the lounge, early entry and souvenir glass.2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
June 28 – Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cook-off FestivalFor the past 35 years and running, the streets of Ocean Beach are taken over by amateur and professional competitors vying for one of three awards: Hottest Chili, Judges’ Award and the grand prize, People’s Choice. Other attractions include a beachside beer garden and spirits, food vendors, and community mural art project.Cost: Admission to the festival is free. $20 includes a taste of all the chilies or $1 per individual taste.4800-5000 block of Newport Ave.
July 5 – Big Bite Bacon FestAnother food-centric activity at the San Diego County Fair revolves around all-things pork. It was a popular festival last year and this year’s tickets are already going fast. A lunch and dinner session will feature creative dishes from local restaurants. Sushi, moonshine and jam – all featuring bacon – are just a few items scheduled to be served.Cost: $55 for general admission includes entry into the event, unlimited samples, 10 beer samples and fair entry; $75 for VIP admission includes all of the above plus access to the lounge with private bar and private tasting station.2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
July 16 – San Diego Sausage FestReturning for its second year at Hotel Solamar is Sausage Fest, where the city’s chefs enter their sausage creations to public vote for this year’s Sausage King. Last year’s event crowned Coronado Brewing Company’s chef Kasey Chapman for his Thai curry link made with the brewery’s Orange Ave Wit. Competitors are still being lined up for this year.Cost: $10 includes a sample of all sausages, $20 for a 1-liter stein of Lost Abbey beer.435 6th Ave.
July 26 – Heroes Brew Craft Beer FestivalIt’s only during comic-con you’ll find a beer festival with an emphasis on comics and pop culture. The streets are filled to the brim with costumed folk but North Embarcadero Park will be featuring unlimited tastings from several breweries including Green Flash, Iron Fist, Hillcrest Brewing Co. and White Labs. To complete the comic-con experience, one costumed attendee will be awarded best Original Caped Crusader prize. Buy your tickets early, last year’s event was a sellout.Cost: $39 general admission and $44 VIP with access to specialty brews before May 31. Increases to $45 for general admission, $55 VIP.400 Kettner Blvd.
Aug 23-24 – San Diego Spirits FestivalRing out the end of summer at the 6th Annual Spirits Festival at the Port Pavilion on the Broadway Pier. Tickets to the two-day festival include unlimited tastings of spirits and food samples. The event is also part industry mingling, a chance to check out new market launches and a place to hone your bartending skills.Cost: $55 for Saturday and $50 for Sunday until May 31, $95 and $85 respectively until the day of the event.1000 N. Harbor Dr.