Community Programs


OC Fair & Event Center is a community asset all year long

OC Fair & Event Center provides engaging year-round educational opportunities and serves the community through give-back programs and free events.

Education

Imaginology:  Each April, OC Fair & Event Center transforms into Imaginology, a free three-day S.T.E.A.M. education extravaganza focusing on hands-on learning and fun. More than 80,000 children, teens, families and school groups dig into science, technology, engineering, art and math. Imaginology provides unique experiences for attendees to build, create, play, observe and interact through activities that help them see the possibilities of a future in S.T.E.A.M. fields. Youth competitions give students the chance to be recognized for their unique talent and accomplishments. This free event is presented by OC Fair & Event Center and supported by community partners.

Heroes Hall: Open year-round, Heroes Hall veterans museum and education center is dedicated to telling the stories of the men and women who have served in the U.S. military. Free exhibitions feature diverse points of view and help fulfill the requirements of high school history curriculum. School trips and community groups are welcome and can be scheduled by emailing heroeshall@ocfair.com. Docent-led tours offer additional insights and depth to the rotating exhibitions. The Heroes Hall Virtual Museum provides the opportunity for veterans and their families to record and preserve on video accounts of service and valor along with written accounts, photographs and other memorabilia. Throughout the year, free special events, such as Salute to Veterans on Veterans Day and Voices:  Veterans Storytelling Project, are featured at Heroes Hall.

Centennial Farm: Our three-acre working farm offers unique opportunities for families, classes, groups and individuals to learn about agriculture first-hand. Who would have guessed that there is a real farm in the middle of Costa Mesa? Crops are cultivated year-round and farm animals provide a living classroom – they are our animal educators and might become some of your favorite teachers. Free Jr. Farmer Tours, Discovery Days, Kids Days and The Ranch after-school program teach children where their food comes from. Kids and adults take Centennial Farm gardening classes to learn everything from how to grow tomatoes to how to create a terrarium. Visitors can enjoy the farm all year long free of charge. Centennial Farm is also available for educational group meetings and events.

Table of Dignity: The agricultural workers memorial, Table of Dignity, is dedicated to the legacy of the thousands of agriculture workers who helped to build Orange County. This public art installation pays tribute to those who labored to provide sustenance and economic growth to the area. The memorial is located near Centennial Farm and is open year-round, providing a peaceful place for visitors to pause and reflect.

High School Inc.: OCFEC works with High School Inc. to provide job training and hands-on experience for local high school students through programs on the Fairgrounds and with our partners. Students receive classroom training and then get the opportunity to put new skills to work while gaining crucial experience in the food service industry through paying jobs. With the support of the High School Inc. program, Santa Ana high school students get the training and confidence to move into the workforce.

Community programs

Emergency response and large animal evacuation site: OC Fair & Event Center does its part to serve the community during times of crisis. During the COVID pandemic, the fairgrounds was a testing super site run by the County of Orange and its partnership with 360 Clinic. Emergency food distribution through the Power of One Foundation fed thousands who drove through the fairgrounds parking lot to collect donated boxes of fresh food. OCFEC also housed trailers that were to be used to help vulnerable people through the City of Costa Mesa, if needed. The fairgrounds is also designated as an evacuation center to house and care for horses and livestock that need to be removed from a disaster area.

We Care Wednesday: Each Wednesday during the annual OC Fair, local nonprofit partners benefit from food drives, clothing drives, book drives and school supply drives. Fairgoers who make a donation receive free entry, benefiting the community and delighting guests.

Friends of the Fair: One morning during the run of the Fair, the gates are opened early to create a special experience for guests with challenges and disabilities. This community give-back event is free and designed to provide a low-key slice of Fair fun to amazing guests.

OC Fair Kids Club: Partnering with Orange County agencies that help underserved children, the OC Fair launched a venture that allows children in select programs to attend the Fair at no charge. OC Fair Kids Club also supplies free transportation, carnival rides and other extras so these youngsters can enjoy an unforgettable day at the Fair.

Jr. Livestock Auction:  Each year thousands of dollars are awarded to local 4H and FFA members who raise animals for the auction. Their work to feed, care for and train the animals to be shown is an educational experience that offers real-world lessons in agriculture. The community offers tremendous support as is shown by the dozens who attend the auction to purchase the animals.

Read and Ride: Children ages 5 to 11 receive three free carnival rides if they read two books and fill out the online form. In partnership with Ray Cammack Shows, Read and Ride supplies a fun incentive to get kids to explore the magic of books – even during the summer.

Free admission for vets: Active-duty military and veterans always receive free OC Fair admission and are eligible to purchase half-price general admission tickets so friends and family can experience the Fair with them. It is our way of saying thank you!

Volunteer opportunities: OC Fair & Event Center invites the community to get involved in giving back and we offer volunteer programs at Centennial Farm, Heroes Hall and Imaginology. Volunteers help us educate and serve and we are thankful that they lend their time and expertise, allowing us to further our mission.

Community Impact Report

We invite you to view our annual Community Impact Report. We continue to add new initiatives, expand existing efforts and explore innovative ways to make a difference.

True impact happens at the human level, one person at a time. When an organization’s mission, goals and actions all coalesce, and we are able to extend that impact, we start to create real change in our communities.

We invite you to continue on this journey with us as we grow our give-back programs. Suggest new ways we can serve, become a partner, or simply join us at the Fair – support of our events fund these important local programs.

Please visit us soon and help us celebrate Orange County’s communities, interests, agriculture and heritage all year long. Thank you for your continued support.