DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) - Vendors from the Del Mar Fairgrounds reopened in the parking lot hoping to make enough money through drive-thru orders to stay afloat.
Tucked just behind the security office at the Solana Gate, you'll find signs for drive-thru fair food.
Roxy's Restaurant, California Corn Dog Company and the Kettle Corn stand are staples at the fairgrounds. The pandemic shut down all of the fair's large scale events, events that would help vendors pay the bills.
So owner of the Kettle Corn stand Oliver Feldhausen reopened April 24th in the Green Lot for orders to soften the financial blow.
"He was so pumped and happy with all the response he got, he invited us to come and join him," Shahram Naimi, owner of Roxy's Restaurant said.
Naimi and Owner of California Corn Dog Company Rick Kasinak opened May 8th.
Each Friday and Saturday they're open from noon to 6p.m.
They're serving dozens compared to the thousands each day at the fair, but they say it's better than nothing.
"You know it's kinda touch and go but these weekends are definitely helping," Feldhausen said. He said he's thankful for the fair supporting them during this time and the power of social media.
"Every week we are seeing some of our regulars trickle in and as word continues to spread we're seeing more and more," he said.
They're also spreading kindness. Each vendor is offering a discount to military personnel and first responders.
Some customers are donating food to first responders and healthcare workers.
Feldhausen said they've made deliveries to two fire houses, nurses and ER personnel. He said they were happy to deliver free of charge.
Each owner has decades of experience at the fair.
"This would have been my 50th fair, " Kasinak said.
Kasinak is third generation fair vendor. His grandfather opened his first stand in 1920 at the Minnesota State Fair. His father opened his first stand in 1969 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Naimi came to the U.S. from Iran when he was 17 and started working in the restaurant business at 18-years-old. He opened Roxy's Restaurant in Encinitas with his brother in 1978. They sold the business a few years ago and slowed down, focusing more on their business at the fairgrounds.
All of them hope next year everything will be back to normal.
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