• Tuesday, January 31, 2023 (11:46 am)

    OC Fair Board approves first phase of master site plan

    COSTA MESA – The OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors has approved the first phase of a master site plan that will improve the fairgrounds and position it for the future.

    Phase 1 includes the expansion of the OC Fair & Event Center administration building at an estimated cost of $25 million. This will add 15,659 feet of space and will make room for employees who will be displaced by future master site plan projects.

    In addition to work space, there will be meeting rooms, archive and storage areas, restrooms and additional security measures in the expanded building. The project is scheduled to begin this year and to be completed by the end of 2024.

    Future master site plan projects include a new Century Barn at Centennial Farm, an agriculture education center, expanded exhibit buildings, new public restroom facilities, Pacific Amphitheatre facility improvements, Action Sports Arena upgrades and an agriplex that will provide a place for livestock shows and educational space.

    “I am proud of the work that the staff and Board have put into this plan and I know it is a great path forward for OC Fair & Event Center,” said OC Fair & Event Center CEO Michele Richards. “We are on solid financial ground and the master site plan projects will bring the property new opportunities to serve the community, generate family fun and fulfill our mission.”

    Work on the eight-phase master site plan is expected to continue through 2032 and the Board will review and approve each project in sequence. The estimated total cost of all master site plan phases is $229 million.

    The Board approved the first phase of the master site plan at its Jan. 26 meeting by unanimous vote.

    View the master site plan PowerPoint presentation here, under Facility reports.

  • Tuesday, January 24, 2023 (4:32 pm)

    OC Fair & Event Center wins 14 industry awards

    OC Fair & Event Center earned 14 Achievement Awards from the Western Fairs Association, including eight first-place honors.
    The annual program recognizes innovation and excellence among fairs and festivals in the Western U.S.
    OC Fair & Event Center also received four second-place awards, one third-place and an honorable mention.
    Five of the first-place awards were in the photography categories. The top animal photo (above) was also selected as an overall winner and the best entertainment photo (below) also received an award of excellence. Other top photo winners were in the exhibits, community outreach and people at the Fair categories
    First-place honors also went to the OC Fair’s new miniature donkey competition, a television ad for the Fair, and the Heroes Hall speaker series that was part of the Fighting for the Right to Fight exhibit.
    Second-place photo awards were received in the carnival and food categories. The OC Fair’s overall marketing campaign and logo also won second-place honors and the Fair’s commemorative poster received a third-place award. An honorable mention was given to a special event logo for the culinary program at the Fair.
    The Western Fairs Association presented the awards for 2022 achievements its annual conference last week in Reno.

  • Friday, December 23, 2022 (10:09 am)

    What’s going on at the OC Fairgrounds in January

    The New Year is off to a fun and festive start at OC Fair & Event Center – come join us!

    Centennial Farm Garden Class: Pruning Fruit Trees -The Basics, Jan. 14

    Learn the best time to prune stone-fruit trees, citrus trees and avocado trees in Southern California. Isabel Barkman will cover the basics of pruning and why the pruning season here is different than the rest of the country and will also prepare attendees for the hands-on fruit pruning workshop in January.

    When: Saturday, January 14, 2023, 10 a.m.-noon; RSVP online by Jan. 11, 2023.

    Where: OC Fair & Event Center – Centennial Farm

    How much: $6 fee covers materials and any handouts. There will be NO refunds for cancellations made within 48 hours of a class. For cancellations made prior, only class fee will be refunded (not booking fees). Free parking.

    More info: Sign up at ocfair.com/gardenclasses

    JAMZ Palms & Pyramids, Jan. 14

    Come. Play. Perform. Inspire. This JAMZ-packed cheer and dance event has tons of awards up for grabs. Get your bid to The Pinnacle! JAMZ Palms & Pyramids sets up dance and cheer athletes to go all out and qualify for nationals.

    When: Saturday, Jan. 14, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.Where: OC Fair & Event Center – The Hangar, Anaheim Building and OC PromenadeHow much: $20 general admission, $10 kids admission (Ages 6-15), free for children 5 and younger. Parking is $12.

    More info: Visit jamz.com/palms-and-pyramids

    Jurassic Quest, Jan. 14-16

    Jurassic Quest is the world’s largest, most popular dino event with unique and exciting experiences for the whole family. Observe our herd of life-size animatronic dinosaurs including Apatosaurus, Spinosaurus, T-Rex and an incredible 50-foot long Megalodon. Interact with our trainers, baby dinos and watch a live raptor show. Explore our dinosaur rides, giant fossil dig, inflatables, fossil science exhibit, “Triceratots” soft play area and more.

    When: Jan. 14-16; Saturday, Jan. 14, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 15, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Monday, Jan. 16, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

    Where: OC Fair & Event Center – Costa Mesa Building, Huntington Beach Building and Santa Ana Pavilion

    How much: $22 general admission for all ages, free for children 2 and younger, $19 seniors (65+).Parking is $12.

    More info: Get tickets at tickets.jurassicquest.com/costamesaca2023/events

    Centennial Farm Garden Class: Rose Care, Jan. 21

    Interested in growing roses or taking care of the ones you already have? Learn about how to properly care for them in this class taught by a Master Gardener. The purpose of the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program is to extend research-based, scientifically accurate information to the public about home horticulture and pest management. Master Gardeners perform volunteer services sharing the information they have learned to the public. For information about the Master Gardener program, visit https://mgorange.ucanr.edu/

    When: Saturday, January 21, 2023, 10 a.m.-noon; RSVP online by Jan. 18, 2023.Where: OC Fair & Event Center – Centennial FarmHow much: $6 fee covers materials and any handouts. There will be no refunds for cancellations made within 48 hours of a class. For cancellations made prior, only class fee will be refunded (not booking fees). Free parking.

    More info: Sign up at ocfair.com/gardenclasses

    OC Fair Board of Directors Meeting, Jan. 26

    When: Thursday, January 26, 9:30 a.m.

    Where: OC Fair & Event Center – Administration Building or virtually on Zoom

    More info: Visit ocfair.com/public-information/public-meetings/

    UVSA Tet Festival, Jan. 27-29

    The Tết Festival (Hội Tết Sinh Viên) of Southern California is recognized as the largest Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival in the area. The aim of Tết Festival is to create an avenue for everyone to have a better understanding of the Vietnamese culture in many ways: vibrant arrays of traditional food, traditional performance and entertainment, and cultural exhibitions.

    When: Friday, Jan. 27, 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 28, 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 29, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

    Valid only on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 11 a.m. – 12pm. Free entrance for visitors who wear traditional outfits (no religious outfits), military and scout uniforms, no costumes.

    Where: OC Fair & Event Center – Lot I

    How much: $8 general admission tickets available online; free for children 2 and younger. Parking is $12.

    More info: Visit tetfestival.org

    SoCal World Guitar Show, Jan. 28-29

    This is an international buy-sell-trade event for guitars, amplifiers and other musical gear. Vendors and buyers from across the country and around the world come to buy, sell and trade with each other and public attendees. Event attendees may bring all the musical gear they can carry to sell, trade or have appraised.

    When: Saturday, Jan. 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 29, 10 a.m-4 p.m.

    Where: OC Fair & Event Center – The Hangar

    How much: $20 general admission; free for children 11 and younger. Parking is $12.

    More info: Visit amigoguitarshows.com/socalwinter/

    Ongoing at OC Fair & Event Center

    Farmers Market every Thursday

    Shop local at this OC Farm Bureau-certified farmers market featuring produce, fresh flowers, fish, hummus, honey, hot sauce and more. Some vendors also sell hot food for lunch such as tamales and tacos/burritos.

    Hours: Thursdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

    Where on the fairgrounds: Outdoors in Lot D

    How much: Free admission and parking; let parking attendant know you are going to the Farmers Market.

    More info: Visit ocfarmbureau.org

    Centennial Farm open daily

    Visit our three-acre working farm, which features seasonal crops, farm animals and knowledgeable staff.

    Hours: Monday-Friday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (see calendar for closures)

    Where on the fairgrounds: Centennial Farm is on the south side of our property

    How much: Free admission and parking

    More info: Visit ocfair.com/centennialfarm

    Heroes Hall Museum open Wed.-Sun.

    Visit our museum to view the latest exhibits and learn about local veterans.

    Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (see calendar for closures)

    Where on the fairgrounds: Heroes Hall is next to Centennial Farm

    How much: Free admission and parking

    More info: Visit ocfair.com/heroeshall

    Exhibit: ‘Armed Only With A Camera’ through Sept. 2023

    The World War II Photography of Stanley Troutman is now on display at Heroes Hall. Troutman served his country by photographing the war in the South Pacific Theater including the devastated cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (see calendar for closures)

    Where on the fairgrounds: Heroes Hall is next to Centennial Farm

    How much: Free admission and parking

    More info: Visit ocfair.com/heroeshall

    Looking ahead to February

    SoCal Swordfight, Feb. 17-19

    SoCal Swordfight is the largest historical European martial arts event in the United States attracting competitors, attendees and instructors from around the world. The event features 15 tournaments across multiple weapon sets and divisions, more than 80 hours of classes and lectures on the use of a variety of historical and modern weapons and self-defense techniques, first aid/CPR/AED and Active Shooter Response Certification, antique weapons and much more.

    When: Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

    Where: OC Fair & Event Center – Costa Mesa Building and Santa Ana Pavilion

    How much:$20 – Single-Day Spectator Pass

    $40 – Full-Weekend Spectator Pass

    $150 – Full-Event Registration and Access to Classes

    Additional cost for: Tournament participation, certification courses and celebrity courses. Free for children 12 and younger

    Parking is $12.

    More info: Visit socalswordfight.com/

    Gem Faire, Feb 24-26

    Fine jewelry, precious and semi-precious gemstones, millions of beads, crystals, gold and silver, minerals and much more at manufacturer’s prices. Nearly 200 exhibitors from around the world. Jewelry repair, cleaning & ring sizing while you shop.

    When: Friday, Feb. 24, noon-6 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 25, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, Feb 26. 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (No admittance after 4 p.m. Sunday)

    Where: OC Fair & Event Center – Costa Mesa Building and Santa Ana Pavilion

    How much: $7 general admission; free for kids age 11 and younger. Parking is $12.

    More information: Visit gemfaire.com or email info@gemfaire.com

    Make it and Take it – Gifts from the Kitchen, Feb. 25

    This class will bring you up to date on the latest canning recommendations, teach you how to process your food safely and explain the reasons behind it. You will learn what equipment is needed and proper storage methods. A simple recipe will be taught and prepared in class for participants to take home.

    When: Saturday, February 25, 2023, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; RSVP online by Feb. 23, 2023.

    Where: OC Fair & Event Center – Centennial Farm

    How much: $35 class fee covers ingredients, handouts and two half-pint canning jars with lids and rings. Knives will be provided, but you may bring your own if preferred. Aprons are highly recommended. Tied-back hair and close-toed shoes are required. There will be no refunds for cancellations made within 48 hours of a class. For cancellations made prior, only class fee will be refunded, not booking fees. Free parking.

    More info: Sign up at ocfair.com/gardenclasses

    46th Annual OC Home & Garden Show, Feb. 25-26

    Featuring home improvement products and services; garden supplies and displays with new water saving garden products, hourly DIY workshops and prizes.

    When: Saturday, Feb. 25, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

    Where: OC Fair & Event Center – Los Alamitos Building, Anaheim Building

    How much: Admission is free, parking is $12.

    More info: Visit www.thebesthomeshow.com


  • Friday, December 16, 2022 (11:47 am)

    OC Fair Board revises committee assignments

    At its December 2022 meeting, the OC Fair Board of Directors revised its committee membership.

    Leadership Committee
    • Chair Pham, Vice Chair Kovacevich 
    This committee provides executive support to the Board and acts on behalf of the full Board during emergency situations.
    • Consult with CEO
    • Develop Board meeting agendas
    • Address Board issues
    • Conduct annual safety/security meeting
    • Initiate strategic planning
    • Complete the strategic planning process and provide ongoing monitoring

    Financial Monitoring and Audit Committee
    • Vice Chair Kovacevich and Director Bagneris
    This committee monitors the organization’s financial position and ensures financial controls are in place.
    • Monthly financial oversight
    • Annual budget review
    • Annual audit process
    • Participate in the scoring process for key RFPs, including for carnival services

    Facilities Committee
    • Director Ruiz and Director La Belle
    This committee reviews buildings and grounds related projects and issues and recommends site planning direction
    • Construction projects
    • Capital expenditures
    • Master site planning

    Governance Committee
    • Director Cervantes and Director Rubalcava-Garcia
    This committee ensures compliance with all Board policies and regulatory requirements
    • Policy updates
    • Bagley-Keene open meeting compliance
    • Annual form 700 reporting
    • Annual required Board training

    Community Affairs Committee
    • Chair Pham, Director Bagneris 
    This committee oversees the Board’s relationship with the community
    • Diversity, equity and inclusion
    • Community engagement
    • Relationships with local, county and state officials

    Entertainment and Business Development Committee 
    • Director Rubalcava-Garcia, Director Cervantes
    This committee, in coordination with staff, evaluates opportunities at all District entertainment venues and pursues business development opportunities
    • Pacific Amphitheatre programming enhancement opportunities
    • Hangar and Action Sports Arena programming enhancement opportunities
    • Development of year-round and fairtime business opportunities
    • Utilizing Board contacts and relationships for sponsorship and new event sales opportunities

  • Thursday, December 15, 2022 (4:02 pm)

    Dates announced for 2023 OC Fair; ‘Happy Together’ is chosen as the theme

    COSTA MESA (Dec. 15, 2022) – Today the OC Fair announced that “Happy Together” will be the theme of the 2023 event that will run July14-Aug. 13, highlighting community inclusion.

    Advance ticket purchase will again be required with limited capacity for summer’s best party, which will be open Wednesday through Sunday.

    Admission tickets will go on sale online in early 2023 and will be restricted to 45,000 admissions available per day. This is the third year the Fair has imposed a limited-capacity model and days are again expected to sell out.

    A new offering, the OC Fair Every Day Passport, will also be on sale in early 2023 and will allow guests to visit the Fair any day of its 23-day run without advance tickets required. The price will be $60 for all and sales will be limited to 10,000 passports.

    “There is no better way to celebrate summer than to be ‘Happy Together’ at the OC Fair,” said Michele Richards, OC Fair CEO. “We’ve been working all year to once again bring the community together for all the special fun and goodness the OC Fair offers – food, rides, animals, entertainment, shopping, exhibits and more. We can’t wait for opening day on July 14!”

    Ticket prices will slightly increase this year with general admission prices going up by $1 for the first time since 2014 to $13 general admission on weekdays (Wednesday, Thursday) and $15 on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Weekend admission prices were raised by $2 in 2017. Tickets for seniors 60+ and kids 6-13 are $9 all days, a $2 increase, also the first since 2014. OC Fair will again absorb the online admission ticket transaction fees since advance purchase is required. Admission tickets will not be available for sale at OC Fair entry gates. Parking will be $12, a $2 increase year-round.

    New hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

    Tickets are now available for purchase for the first OC Fair concerts announced for Pacific Amphitheatre and The Hangar. Live music performances include Dwight Yoakam and Asleep at the Wheel, Bee Gees Gold with ABBA LA and Queen Nation.

    Returning OC Fair favorites include magician Frank Thurston, Brew Hee Haw craft beer festival, monster trucks, demolition derbies, All-Alaskan pig races and, of course, zany fair food.

    The Junior Livestock Auction will be back in person on July 22 and the traditional OC Fair competitions will begin accepting entries in February.

    Also on display during the Fair at Heroes Hall will be Armed Only with a Camera: World War II Photography of Stanley Troutman. The SAAAB Story exhibit continues on the second floor educating visitors on the history of the Santa Ana Army Air Base. Admission is free with Fair entry.

    The OC Fair is looking for local people to participate in the annual 2023 event. Community entertainment (unpaid) applications will be accepted beginning Jan. 9 at https://ocfair.com/oc-fair/be-a-part-of-the-fair/community-entertainment/ Applications for vendors and concessionaires are now open at https://ocfair.com/oc-fair/be-a-part-of-the-fair/vendors/ Sponsorship and marketing information is available at https://ocfair.com/oc-fair/sponsors/

    The 2022 OC Fair had attendance of 1,055,173 with 11 sold-out days. The Fair returned to an in-person event in 2021 after going virtual in 2020.

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