2017 OC Fair by the numbers

The 127th OC Fair lasted 23 days and included five clowns, five costumed “Foodie” characters and the newest mama pig at Centennial Farm had 11 piglets. Fairgoers devoured 4,900 “Unicorn” Pork Legs, and after more than 300 gamers participated in the inaugural e-sports gaming fest on Aug. 12 and 13, the 2017 OC Fair came to an end.

“The 127th annual OC Fair was a tremendous success in so many ways,” said OC Fair CEO Kathy Kramer. “We increased our overall guest enjoyment rating, scoring 4.65 of out five according to our 10-day patron survey. I am also very proud of our community give-back programs and was happy to add a new one this year, the OC Fair Kids Club, which provided 952 children from Title 1 programs with a free Fair experience.”

Exhibitors and vendors went all out for the Farm Fresh Fun theme, with 23 days of Livestock action, culinary demos and 30 sold-out performances in Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena.

“With our focus on agriculture this year, 88% of our fairgoers said they increased their knowledge of the subject during their visit. That is truly making a difference through education and that’s a key part of our mission,” said Kramer. “We are also thrilled to have, once again, put on the best party of the summer by providing great entertainment, food, shopping and Farm Fresh Fun for our guests.”

Want more numbers? Here are a few to sink your teeth into:

Guests of the 2017 OC Fair:

Attendance and revenue –2017 audited final OC Fair attendance was 1,334,753, which was on par with the 2016 audited final OC Fair attendance of 1,344,996. Gross revenue is up approximately 2% over 2016.

Survey – Results of the 10-day patron survey showed an overall enjoyment rate of 4.65 (out of 5) – up from 4.45 in 2016. Of those surveyed, 28% were first-time fairgoers and 48% are OC residents.

Freebies – More than 16,000 veterans or active-duty military enjoyed the Fair for free all season, and 24,058 of their family and friends got in for half off. 30,992 kids (ages 6-12) got in free on Thursdays during the Fair, and 75,058 kids (ages 5 and under) got in free all season. Friends of the Fair, held July 20, saw 6,457 guests. 14,698 kids participated in the Read and Ride program, receiving three free carnival rides for reading and reviewing two books.

Discounts – Out of more than 10 different admission discount opportunities, the most used was the Best Deal Ever (valid Saturdays and Sundays only, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.) with 79,593 money-saving Fairgoers.

Super Pass – 25,556 guests went for the season’s best deal, a whopping 42% increase over last year.

Donations – Fairgoers were feeling quite giving this year. 28.83 tons of food was donated to OC Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank on July 19; 94,078 children’s books were donated to Think Together on July 26; and 43,995 pounds of clothing was donated to Goodwill on Aug. 2. Some 104,000 school supplies were donated to Share Ourselves on Aug. 9.

OC Fair Express – The bus service that picks up from nine different OCTA locations on Saturdays and Sundays and delivers guests straight to the OC Fair saw weekend ridership of 87,541. Comparing last year’s Saturday/Sunday service, ridership for this year was nearly 33% higher.

Food at the 2017 OC Fair:

Bacon A Fair – 4,900 “Unicorn” Pork Legs were sold, and Fairgoers bought 20,000 pounds of bacon.

Chicken Charlie’s – 6,000 Fried Peanut Butter Meatballs were sold, 4,000 Krispy Kreme Ice Cream Chicken Sandwiches, 4,500 Funnel Cake Burritos, 15,000 Pupu Wings and 6,000 Luau Chimichangas.

Juicy’s – 40,005 turkey legs were sold.

RCS food vendors (including Biggy’s) – These folks mixed and fried over 1 ton of funnel cake batter, sold 12,000 feet of churros and 22,500 pounds of fries. They also fried an entire semi-trailer full of Oreos and sold four semi-trailers worth of cotton candy. Not to mention the truck load of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos that was used, two entire fields of corn, 2,200 pounds of fresh strawberries, 10,000 pounds of cane sugar, 7,000 pounds of ribs and 1,200 pounds of popcorn seed.

Entertainment at the 2017 OC Fair:

Pacific Amphitheatre – The Toyota Summer Concert Series at Pacific Amphitheatre hosted 28 shows, including five pre-Fair shows. Retro Futura, America’s Premier 80s Concert, featured six blast-from-the-past bands, and the Fab Four celebrated the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by playing it in its entirety. Other highlights included Kenny Rogers Final World Tour, Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton, and Jake Owen and Honey county closed out on the final night of the Fair.

Action Sports Arena – There was a show every night at Action Sports Arena, plus three matinees, totaling 26 action-packed shows. 63 vehicles were smashed in the demo derbies!

The Hangar – 16 tribute bands graced the stage, along with The Marshall Tucker Band, Blue Oyster Cult, Trevor Hall, Metalachi, two shows by Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, plus 300 gamers in the iBUYPOWER GameFest & Tournament Series.

Community entertainment – There were 674 community entertainment groups performing throughout the day on five different stages.

Rides and games – La Grande Wheel XL was the number one ride, and Bank A Ball was the No. 1 game.

Heroes Hall – 4,500 postcards written in Heroes Hall will be sent to active duty military personnel and veterans in VA hospitals. A total of 43,418 Fairgoers visited Heroes Hall and 240 videos were recorded in the Heroes Hall story booth.

Competitions – 4,219 exhibitors submitted 23,000 entries this year, which is a 20% increase in exhibitors over last year, and a 112% increase in entries over last year! Nearly $90,000 was awarded in prize money and nearly 10,000 prize ribbons were handed out. At this year’s Junior Livestock Auction, 299 animals were sold for a total of $275,533.

Visual arts – Three tons of clay was used for Muddy’s Pottery Studio – about 600 pounds of which was thrown by foot during the Foot Throwing Fridays demos. More than 300 paper flowers, vegetables and butterflies were created for the Garden Variety exhibit, and 23 40-gallon bags of sawdust was produced at the woodworking demo area.

Home arts – More than 402,000 feet of yarn was used to make pom-poms, flowers and octopuses, and on the final weekend, Fairgoers helped make 600 boat soap carvings.

Explorium – During the daily eating contests, 23 generous Fair food vendors donated food for the 945 contest participants. 69 magic shows were hosted by Frank Thurston, who celebrated his 25th year at the OC Fair. 5,472 water balloons were dropped on various heads throughout the Fair.

Smiles – 12,315 photos were snapped and shared in the Fair’s social media kiosk.

The 2017 OC Fair, held at OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, was held July 14 through Aug. 12, offering 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits and more. OC Fair & Event Center is home to the annual OC Fair and Imaginology events, as well as Centennial Farm and Heroes Hall – both open to the public year-round. For more information, visit ocfair.com.

The 2018 OC Fair will be July 13-Aug. 12.