OC Fair & Event Center 2017 in review

COSTA MESA (Dec. 20, 2017) – It has been a great year for OC Fair & Event Center – fantastic events, new educational assets, financial success and the fabulous 2017 OC Fair celebrating “Farm Fresh Fun.”

“We have had an amazing year all around,” said Kathy Kramer, OC Fair & Event Center CEO. “Our strong financial performance allows us to give back to the community in many ways. There’s nothing more gratifying than providing for the community while being financially healthy. I’m proud of the team here and of our partnerships that help make OC Fair & Event Center a community asset all year long.”

Here are the top 10 highlights of 2017 at OC Fair & Event Center (in chronological order):

1. Honored for community programs: OC Fair & Event center won the prestigious Merrill Award from the Western Fairs Association recognizing the organization’s community give-back programs including We Care Wednesdays and Friends of the Fair. The Friends of the Fair program provides a free, private fair experience each summer for guests with special needs. On We Care Wednesdays, fairgoers receive free fair admission and a complimentary carnival ride in exchange for bringing donations for partner nonprofit organizations.

2. Heroes Hall debut: After four years of planning and construction, OC Fair & Event Center officially opened its new permanent veterans museum and education center, Heroes Hall, on Feb. 15. The museum celebrates the legacy of Orange County veterans in year-round tributes to their stories as told through rotating exhibitions, permanent exhibits and unique educational experiences.

3. Imaginology: More than 36,000 guests enjoyed Imaginology, the free event featuring hands-on learning and fun focusing on STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The event is held each April and is the largest community give-back event underwritten by OC Fair & Event Center.

4. Pacific Symphony concerts: A new agreement with Pacific Symphony brought the orchestra’s summer concert series to Pacific Amphitheatre for the first time. Concerts included “Symphonic Springsteen” and the symphony performing with both Kenny Loggins and the B-52s.

5. OC Fair Kids Club launched: A new program helped almost 1,000 children visit the 2017 OC Fair – children who otherwise might not have the means to attend. Through OC Fair Kids Club, students from Title 1 and other programs received a free bus trip and entrance to the Fair, carnival ride coupons and a gift card, giving them a special Fair experience.

6. Farm Fresh Fun: The 2017 OC Fair featured full-contact jousting, a California olive oil competition and e-gaming for the first time. It was a record year for concert sellouts and top shows included Michael McDonald/Boz Scaggs and Gabriel Iglesias. Attendance was 1,334,753 and revenue hit $34.5 million. A highlight was a birthday party for piglets born during the Fair. Fun fact: Centennial Farm pigs are the stars of our pig cam all year long at ocfair.com/pigcam.

7. Table of Dignity: On Aug. 25, OC Fair & Event Center unveiled Table of Dignity, the agricultural workers memorial. The public art piece commemorates the contributions of workers to the growth and prosperity agriculture and of Orange County.

8. Red Barn Dinner: Centennial Farm hosted another in a series of Red Barn Dinners, this time featuring a fire-and-ash menu. The events are aimed at promoting farm-to-table cuisine, fresh food and local agriculture.

9. Veterans Day celebration: More than 5,000 people attended Salute to Veterans on Nov. 11, an annual community event hosted at OC Fair & Event Center and Heroes Hall. Attendees donated a record 9.7 tons of food to Disabled American Veterans and enjoyed free food and entertainment and learned about services for veterans.

10. Year-end finances: The agency is ending the year on a positive financial note, estimating $45,787,306 in total revenue, up $1,702,251 from 2016. The 2017 OC Fair itself brought in $34.5 million in revenue, an increase of nearly $800,000 over 2016.

OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa is home to the annual OC Fair. Year-round attractions include Centennial Farm, Table of Dignity, Heroes Hall and Pacific Amphitheatre. Imaginology, a free three-day family event focusing on S.T.E.A.M.-related activities, will take place April 13-15, 2018. Throughout the year events ranging from recreation shows to cultural festivals are held at the fairgrounds. For more information, visit ocfair.com.

Support of OC Fair & Event Center provides year-round educational opportunities and helps fund community give-back programs.

OC Fair photos and video are available for media use at flickr.com/photos/ocfaircm/albums.