The OC Fair opens this Friday, July 14!

The OC Fair & Event Center is bursting with Farm Fresh Fun – and it’s free admission and parking for the first three hours on Opening Day from noon to 3 p.m. July 14.

The midway is bustling with set-up activity, exhibits are being spiffed up, competition judging is under way and the Fairgrounds have been transformed into the summer’s best party.

Here are some highlights:

New OC Fair rides

The OC Fair is adding three new rides this year and one new funhouse, making the carnival bigger and more exciting than ever before!

The new La Grande Wheel XL is so big that it was transported on 22 semi-trailer trucks to get to the Fairgrounds. It is 130 feet tall, weighs 616,000 pounds and features a half-million LED lights. The 36 cabins are climate-controlled and hold six to eight people. It takes the Ferris wheel about three and a half minutes to make a full circle and can carry about 2,000 passengers an hour.

La Grande Wheel XL cost $6 million to build and is one of the largest traveling observation wheels in the western hemisphere. This giant new Ferris wheel was manufactured in Europe and is known as the Mercedes Benz of carnival wheels.

But two is better than one! For the first time ever, OC Fair will feature two giant Ferris wheels to whisk riders high into the sky for a panoramic view. La Grande Wheel XL will be joined by the Big Wheel. Standing more than 108 feet tall, the Big Wheel features the newest technology for a smooth ride. It’s equipped with LED lights and 24 open-air gondolas.

Also making its debut at the OC Fair is Endeavor – an open-air ride in which passengers are suspended in their seats and experience 3G acceleration. Riders will feel the sensation of flying 60 feet through the air at 25 miles per hour.

A new funhouse, Rockin’ Rodeo, will be coming, too, with zany twists and turns around every corner.

These are all from Ray Cammack Shows, and join returning favorites such as Big Top Swinger, Cliff Hanger, Cyclone, Insanity, Mach 1, Speed, Wild River and more.
View a full list of carnival rides.

Opening weekend entertainment

Friday: Comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias kicks off the Fair in Pacific Amphitheatre at 8:15 p.m. Tickets start at $45. The David Bowie tribute band Space Oddity is performing in The Hangar at 8:30 p.m. and tickets start at $17.50. It’s X-treme Freestyle Mo-X in the Action Sports Arena at 8 p.m. with tickets starting at $17.50.

Saturday: Lynyrd Skynyrd and OC’s own Jeramiah Red perform in Pacific Amphitheatre at 7:30 p.m. and tickets start at $37.50. In The Hangar, the Pink Floyd tribute band Which One’s Pink? takes the stage at 8:30 and tickets start at $17.50. It’s Speedway Fair Derby in the Action Sports Arena at 8 pm; tickets start at $17.50.

Sunday: The Happy Together Tour starts at 8 p.m. in Pacific Amphitheatre with tickets starting at $22.50. Blue Oyster Cult takes the stage in The Hangar at 8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20. In the Action Sports Arena, it’s SummerFist 10 at 6 p.m. and tickets start at $15.

All tickets include OC Fair admission. Get your last-minute seats at Ticketmaster.

Fun for everyone

OC Brew Hee Haw brings the best in craft beer to the Fair and fans can sample more than 80 brews. Saturday the taps are flowing from noon to 4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are $65 at the door, if available, and $55 in advance at ocbrewheehaw.com and include Fair admission.

If you prefer wine, visit The Courtyard for wine tastings, vino by the glass and assorted nibbles.

There is plenty for children, too. Check out the Kids Can Cook show at Centennial Farm and while you’re there, catch milking demonstrations, look for new baby animals and visit the honey-tasting bar.

Returning favorites for the whole family include the Peking Acrobats, Russell Brothers Family Circus, All-Alaskan Racing Pigs and kids’eating competitions every evening in the Explorium. Don’t miss Crafters Village, Carnival of Products and Parade of Products – tons of special shopping deals for Fairgoers.

OC Fair deals

Super Pass – Enjoy all 23 days of the Fair for the best price! Super Passes are $35 for general admission and $28 for seniors and youth ages 6-12. New this year: Super Pass holders who come to all 23 days of the 2017 OC Fair will win the Perfect Attendance Award and receive a free 2018 Super Pass.

Veterans and active-duty military personnel – Admission is always free with ID and their guests can purchase up to six half-price tickets.

Read and Ride – Kids ages 5-11 can read two books to earn three free carnival rides. Download book report forms at bit.ly/ocfairread and redeem them at the Centennial Farm information booth.

Seniors Day – Those 60 and older get in for $5 every Friday.

$2 rides and $2 games – On Fridays noon-4 p.m. rides and games are just $2 in the main carnival and the kiddie carnival.

Best Deal Ever – On Saturdays and Sundays, Fairgoers can take advantage of this promotion featuring half-price admission and carnival rides for half the usual number of tickets.

OC Fair Express – Take an OCTA bus from one of nine locations direct to the Fair and receive a coupon for $3 general admission, one coupon per person. Bus fare is $2 each way on Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.-midnight. For more information and locations, visit ocfairexpress.com.

Free offsite parking on weekends – Park in the Experian structure at 475 Anton Blvd. (near the Bristol exit off the 405 Freeway), in Costa Mesa and catch a free shuttle to the Fair 10 a.m.-1 a.m.

View a full list of deals and promotions.