2011, This event was the brainstorm idea after noticing a lack of the LGBTQ community's presence at the San Diego County Fair. It started by a simple Facebook status check in saying "Join us tomorrow for the 1st ever Unofficial Gay Days - Check-in to show your support." by William Zakrajshek (DJ WILL Z) & Caleb Wilkins. With a few Facebook check-ins showing up that day it was a very successful first event.
June 17th, 2012
2012, after the first year being a success with having LGBT community check in on FB, we decided to extend and make this an annual event. In Mid April, 2012 we extended a face book event invitation to our "2nd Annual unOfficial Gay Days" event. By the end of May 2012, we successfully already had more than 135 people accept the invitation to attend the event. The word spread about this event and took a huge jump when the Del Mar Fairgrounds found out about the event and the successful turnout of participants. Del Mar Fairgrounds invited us to meet them at the fair the day of the event and handed participants pins as a form of a celebration.
July 2nd, 2013
2013, after the first couple of successful turnouts of our "unofficial Gay Days" the Del Mar Fairgrounds started working with us to come up with ways to help make our event even more successful. Our 3rd annual goal was to help show case our community by working directly with nonprofits and providing them a booth in the pavilion to showcase their causes. This third year, with the help of the Fair we were able to organize Adam Lambert as a main stage performer! It was exciting to have our first year of LGBTQ Businesses/Talent involved with the event too. The Coors Light Rock On Stage had local band RunHoney perform during the day. During the night we paired up with Rich's San Diego who sponsored the "After Dark" entertainment with our local DJ's, DJ Will Z and DJ Dirty Kurty.
June 14th, 2014
2014, The "Unofficial Gay Days" became Out at the Fair, making the day official on the 2nd Saturday of June annually. For the first time, a partnership was created with San Diego Pride, the largest LGBT organization in the county. Out at the Fair also allowed us to showcase more local talent by having two stages dedicated to LGBTQ talent, the Paddock Day Stage had entertainment from 12 pm - 8 pm and Coor's Lite Rock On & Rich's Stage After Dark stage. Our non-profit area of the event grew this year as well, with more non-profits than ever before signing up to showcase what they do for our community. Out at the Fair also opened up our first ever Shuttle sponsored by Flicks. The shuttle ran from The LGBT Center in Hillcrest to Out at the Fair in Del Mar. This year was our first official year of having Out at the Fair t-shirts & tank tops. The color for our 4th year was blue and will change yearly until the whole rainbow has been completed. Out At The Fair was a huge success, bringing to the Fair additional attendees that might otherwise not have attended. It garnered positive press and established the San Diego County Fair as a gay-friendly event among the LGBTQ general and business community. Western Fairs Association announced its achievement awards recipients, and Out at the Fair received first place under the New Community Outreach Program in the Mega Fair category.
2015, The 5th Annual event was our largest turn out yet with a record breaking attendance for the day of 70,000. Out at the Fair became an official San Diego County Fair event with a rainbow ribbon cutting ceremony with Todd Gloria on the Paddock Stage. The Fair's Community Outreach team heavily promoted Out At The Fair as part of the Fair's offerings through street fairs and various other community events, Gay & Lesbian Chamber mixers, as well as poster and flyer distribution at local gay and gay-friendly businesses. Out at the Fair also allowed us to showcase more local talent by having two stages dedicated to LGBTQ talent: the Paddock Day Stage had entertainment from 12pm - 8 pm and Coor's Lite Rock On & Rich's Stage After Dark stage had entertainment from 3 pm to 11pm. Our non-profit area of the event grew this year as well, with more non-profits than ever before signing up to showcase what they do for our community. Out at the Fair also expanded our Flicks shuttle services after a successful first year. The shuttle ran from The LGBTQ Center in Hillcrest to Out at the Fair in Del Mar. This year was our first official year of having Out at the Fair t-shirts, tank tops and pins. The colors for our 5th year were blue and purple. With our 5th year, we expanded our day of events by adding an attraction called "Diva Drop". The fabulous Bianca St. James hosted the event and made the daring bungee jump. This added attraction was a huge success and will be expanding for our 6th annual event.
"Out At The Fair has become one
of the highlights of Summer in San Diego."
- Speaker Toni Atkins -
June 12th, 2015
June 11th, 2016
In 2016, Out at the Fair became an LGBTQ Festival, featured in Fair press conferences, media morning on opening day, and receives extensive media coverage. This year the non-profit booths moved to the Paddock, for increased exposure. With the success of DIVA Drop the attraction was expanded to 3 jump times through out the day and now includes a host for each daring plunge. At the entrance of the Paddock there was a new attraction called “Dunk A Hunk” raising money for the Fair’s 501(c). In addition to coordinating a full day of talent for the Coor’s & Paddock stage, The Dreamgirls, featuring Chad Michaels, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is part of the 6pm entertainment, to a record setting success. This year's Grandstand performers included the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus and Caryl Rae Jepsen. With our goal of serving the community two multi-stall gender-neutral restrooms are offered and received overall acceptance with Fair attendees. In December 2016, IAFE awards Out at the Fair a first place in the Overall Mobile Campaign category, for its app and mobile website. During the same time WFA awards Out at the Fair a second place in the Inspiring Collaborations category, for its work with local LGBTQ non-profit organizations.
In 2017, our 7th annual event at the San Diego County Fair was on June 10, 2017. This year we expanded programing into 17 Hands Restaurant with LGBTQ+ artist area & history walk by Lambda Archive and included a “Family Fun Hour” into the Paddock Stage at 3pm with games for ages 2 - 13. Flags in the Paddock area includes: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, GenderQueer/Questioning, Asexual, and Pansexual. For our daring community members, “Eat a Gay Bug” had a booth in the Paddock area. Our opening ceremony was blessed by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence of San Diego & this year’s ridden by cut by Kathie Moehlig from TransFamily Support Services. Out at the Fair was packed with entertainment including DJ TAJ, Kitty Brucknell (X Factor UK), gay icon Pepper MaShay, Delta Work, Jaidynn Fierce, Vicky Vox, & San Diego’s favorite The Family Jewels.
For the first time on July 30, 2017 Out at the Fair expanded outside of San Diego to the California State Fair in Sacrament, CA. By creating a strong working partnership with the Sacramento LGBT Community Center our first group photo between the iconic golden bears drew 122 guests. State Fair Board member Jess Durfee greeted the group before the photo and welcomed Out at the Fair to the CA State Fair. Before the 8 p.m. Melissa Etheridge concert, State Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman and State Senator Toni Atkins, members of the California LGBT Legislative Caucus, welcomed attendees and recognized the day as first OATF as the CSF, to the cheer of thousands in the crowd.
On Sept 16, 2017 Out at the Fair expanded for the first time outside of California to the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque, NM. Working with community partners Albuquerque Pride & Effex Night Club our group photo was a great success. Out at the Fair social media reached 200k, media coverage in San Diego and in Albuquerque, NM on Channel 13 News, shows the need for LGBTQ+ events, and the NM State Fair is officially planning to bring OATF back in 2018.
During the 2017 in November at the International Associate of Fairs & Expositions conference OATF won Outstanding Promotional Event IAFE: First Place.