Our Story

OC Fair & Event Center is about more than cows and corn dogs

Shortly after Orange County was founded in 1889, the Orange County Community Fair Corporation was formed. This group put on a small fair in 1890 that included a horse race and a few exhibits in Santa Ana. In 1894, another group, the Orange County Fair Association, Inc., took over.

The first Orange County Fairs were primarily livestock exhibitions and horse races. At the turn of the century, a “carnival of products” was added and the Fair became an annual event. The Fair was held in Santa Ana until after World War I when it was moved to Huntington Beach for two years and then back to temporary grounds on East Fruit Street in Santa Ana.

In 1916, the Fair was taken over by the newly organized Orange County Farm Bureau. The first OC Fair Board was elected in 1925 and the Fair relocated to Anaheim, across the street from the Orange County Hospital. In 1925, a rodeo and carnival were added to the Fair.

After World War II, the state formed the 32nd District Agricultural Association and made it responsible for the Fair. The state then purchased land occupied by the Santa Ana Army Air Base and some of it was earmarked for a new fairground. The Fair was first held at the new site in 1949 and it soon was designated as the permanent Fairgrounds. In 1953, the City of Costa Mesa was incorporated and the fairgrounds became part of the new city.

The OC Fair has grown from a small, five-day celebration to a 23-day festival that is one of Orange County’s most eagerly awaited annual events.

YEAR THEME ATTENDANCE
2017 “Farm Fresh Fun”  
2016 “Get Your Fair Face On!” 1,344,996
2015 “One Big Party” 1,301,445
2014 “Summer Starts Here” 1,337,167
2013 “Come & Get It” 1,374,579
2012 “Home Sweet Home” 1,357,335
2011 “Let’s Eat!” 1,400,280
2010 “The Beat Goes On” 1,154,969
2009 “Think. Big. “ 1,072,018
2008 “Say Cheese” 1,062,673
2007 “Cowabunga! – The Year of Herefords, Surfers & Sand” 1,090,653
2006 “Flower Power – Year of the Garden” 924,315

Your support of the OC Fair provides year-round educational opportunities through Centennial Farm, Heroes Hall and Imaginology and helps fund our community give-back programs. Thank you!