The sound of screams and the smell of greasy food and sugar filled the air this week at Kimball Park in National City.
It was all part of the city’s annual festival days event, which marked the 65th year, held over several days and culminating with a 21-minute fireworks show on the Fourth of July.
The event is hosted by the city of National City and the Lion’s Club with vendor Christiansen Amusements.
National City Mayor Ron Morrison was at the fair Monday manning the city’s booth, which ran from June 29 through Wednesday.
Activities included adult rides such as Kamikaze, Gravitron and the Zipper, but also a Ferris wheel, bumper cars and carousel for little ones.
National City resident Marlyn Torres attended the festivities for the first time this year with her daughter and three boys on Monday.
“I was brought by a friend,” she said. “We bought a bracelet so they can ride as many rides as they want.”
Because it’s the city’s 125th anniversary, Sycuan sponsored Wednesday’s fireworks, which Morrison said brings in the largest crowd each year.
It’s South Bay’s only inland fireworks display.
“We always have a real fun time,” Morrison said. “On the Fourth it gets packed.”
Morrison said the fireworks last year brought an estimated 30,000 people to the park.
National City was the original county fair, which began in 1880, before the now dubbed San Diego County Fair, according to Morrison.
“You see the families eating out here every night,” Morrison said. “They come here to be with the community.”
Morrison said that while some of the revenue goes to the city, the majority of it goes back into the community.
National City Lion’s Club President Brian Clapper said the organization has been involved for the last 60 years and is in charge of food booths, which vendors rent to use.
“We encourage non-profits to sell an item,” he said. “We ask that everyone sell something different. It’s 100 percent for the community.”
A total of 25 Lion’s Club members volunteered to work the event this year.
It was 35 years ago that the city and Lion’s Club partnered with Christiansen Amusements, which provides the entertainment.
The festival also has side events such as karaoke and a talent show. The annual Miss National City pageant was held Saturday.
“I’d estimate that about 50,000 will have come through here at the end of six days,” Clapper said.
Three National City residents who have been to the festival before stopped by to grab burgers and fries Monday.
The trio said the event is a local and less expensive option to the San Diego County Fair.
National City resident Richard Sherman said he’s brought his boys, Kenneth, 10, and William, 8, to the festival for the last few years.
“It’s fun,” Sherman said. “And it’s local. We live right up the street.”
Jesse Mendez, 23, brought his daughters Marley, 3, and Jessy, 5, to the fair for the second year.
Mendez and Jessy rode the super slide.
“This is a very family-oriented event,” he said. “And it gets the energy out of them.”