• Friday, June 15, 2018 (8:43 am)

    OC Fair food is crazier, more inventive than ever

    It’s a once-a-year experience, something that can only happen at the Fair – a food frenzy beyond compare. The midway magicians in mini kitchens are cooking up inventions like donut-shaped spaghetti, caramel-drizzled fries and ice cream floats made for mermaids.

    All this and more will be served up when the OC Fair opens July 13 and runs through Aug. 12.

    A sampling of new food items for 2018

    Peanut butter, jelly and Siracha funnel cake – Dutchmen’s Funnel Cakes

    Deep-fried cheese curds, mac & cheese bites, shrimp & cheese jammers, and more – New stand! Who Fried the Cheese?

    Deep-fried filet mignon on a stick – Chicken Charlie’s

    Spaghetti donut formed with pasta and topped with pesto, alfredo, carbonara or marinara – Pignotti’s

    The OC Crunch Cinnamon Roll featuring caramel, cinnamon crunch cereal and frosting – D&D Country Fair Cinnamon Buns

    Lasagna nachos with pasta chips and pesto, veggies, cheese, marinara and meats – Pignotti’s

    Pine and Swine sourdough bread with butter, garlic, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, pineapple and ham – Ten Pound Buns

    Caramel Crack Fries featuring French fries tossed in butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar then drizzled with salted caramel sauce and topped with whipping cream and sprinkles – Biggy’s

    Chili chamoy candy apple coated with sweet and spicy chili and tamarind flavors – Brander’s Candyland

    Unicorn cotton candy donut with sparkling strawberry glitter glaze, rainbow candy, bubble gum cotton candy – Texas Donuts

    Boba flavors include passion fruit, Thai, oolong, mango, jasmine and lychee – New stand! Holy Cao’s Boba Tea

    Shrimp/chicken Ramen burritos, deep-fried pineapple on a stick – Chicken Charlie’s

    Unicorn, Orange Dream and Mermaid Floats featuring cotton candy and rainbow toppings – Candy Factory

    Big Skillet Cookie, an oversize chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup – Totally Baked Cookie Joint

    Toppings bar for cinnamon buns including cherry pie filling, Mini M & M’s, salted caramel and maple bacon frosting – JP’s Old West Cinnamon Rolls

    Poke and sushi bowls, orange chicken burritos – Eddie’s Asian-Inspired Cuisine

    Returning favorites

    BBQ chicken, grilled corn, tri-tip, burgers, hot dogs, tacos, turkey legs, Hawaiian chicken bowls, grilled vegetables, corn dogs, ice cream, shaved ice, smoothies, shakes, fruit bowls, waffles, crepes, flavored lemonade, spicy cheese curd burgers, beef tallow fries, buffalo chips and cheese curd chips and more.

    Vendors include: Tasti Burgers, Tasti Chips, Pink’s Hot Dogs, Biggy’s, Juicy’s, Noel’s Mexican, Corn Star, Apollo’s Greek, Carmelot, Pepe’s Mariscos, Crutchee’s Ice Cream, Enzo’s Pizza, Fresh Frys, Fried Affair, Hussong’s Cantina, Hot Dog on a Stick, Planet Popcorn, Mucho Crazy Nachos, Mustards Café, Old West Cinnamon Rolls, Texas Donuts, Vinny’s Pizza and more.

    Don’t forget: $3 Taste of Fair Food on Thursdays! 

    Get a sampling of food and treats for only $3 each every Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. Fun-sized samples include funnel cake, tri-tip, lemonade, cinnamon rolls, tacos, gelato, cotton candy and more.


    Posted in: FoodOC Fair

  • Monday, June 4, 2018 (1:00 pm)

    80 experts judge more than 360 entries in the annual Homebrew Competition

    The heat is on for the 2018 OC Fair competitions!

    Judging for the 31st annual Homebrew Competition was held May 19-20, and with 367 entries and 500 bottles of homebrew entered, the judges had plenty of beers, mead and ciders to sample. Under the guidance of the competition organizers and the Barley Bandits, all of the judges are Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) certified and are able to earn experience points.

    “All beer tasting competitions and contests should be backed by a certification program in order to allow for standardized rules and structures,” said Ashley Ramos, one of the organizers of the competition and an OC Fair employee. “The BJCP gives as a resource to find educated, professional judges to judge our competition.”

    The 80 returning and new judges use the BJCP Style Guidelines to evaluate 34 types of beer; however, there were not as many types of beer six years ago.

    “People started homebrewing because there wasn’t a lot of variety at the store,” said Bryan Dietz, a returning judge. “Homebrew has paved the way for craft beers.”

    Each competitor brings in three bottles of beer and is given an anonymous code, and a group of four to five judges drinks the same beer. Judges use a beer fault list (provided by BJCP) to judge 21 characteristics, including aroma and estery. They also determine if the beer tastes sulfury, or like rotten eggs or burning matches, which would signify that the beer is infected by yeast health or yeast autolysis. These characteristics determine if the beer moves on in the competition or is cut short. The beers that move on in the competition are entered into the Best of Show round and are put back in the fridge for reconsideration.

    “Judging homebrewed beers is a lot like judging a dog show. I may like the dog, but does the dog fit the set definitions that could make it a winner?” Dietz said.

    The judging events also include stewards that clear and serve beers, and refill bread baskets for palette cleansing, as well as perform several other duties.

    “There are many parts to homebrewing, like cooking,” Dietz said. “The goal is to get the perfect combination of flavors to make the best recipe.”

    Since becoming one of the main organizers of the OC Fair Homebrew Competition a decade ago, Spencer Coleman has seen several changes in the homebrew industry.

    “The beers have gotten much better since the increase of educational recourses that are available to brewers,” Coleman said. “The whole beer industry has changed, and there are more breweries since the pre prohibition era.”

    There are plenty of aspects that homebrew competitors are competing for. Besides an award, competitors can also win tickets to this year’s OC Brew Hee Haw, held July 14-15 this year. Winners are awarded first place, second place, third place, or an honorable mention.

    Winners will be announced on Friday, July 13. Check ocfair.com/competitions for winners.


    Posted in: Competitions

  • Saturday, May 5, 2018 (6:16 pm)

    OC Fair & Event Center Master Site Plan update

    At its April meeting, the OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors reviewed a draft master site plan concept from CH Johnson Consulting and heard input from the public. At the conclusion of the meeting the board voted to table the matter until May, choosing to slow the process to allow for further study and input.

    Next steps include the board continuing the dialog with representatives from the fairgrounds’ equestrian center about future plans for horse facilities and how to more closely integrate equestrian uses into the property. The board will also review cost projections and financing options, delve into assessments of existing buildings, determine additional uses of the fairgrounds for educational purposes and consider the potential use of green technologies.

    The board discussed taking time to work through the best plan and future options, rather than moving forward with the current plan as presented. When further plans and direction have been communicated by the board, meetings will be slated for the full board and the public.

    Links to related documents:

    Master Site Plan draft concept April 2018

    Master Site Plan cost estimate*

    Equestrian Center cost estimate*

    Northeast corner plan detail

    * A note about cost estimates from the Master Site Plan consulting team: “A rough order of magnitude cost assessment is an assessment based on generalized area take offs and anticipated construction costs for similar facilities. It establishes the anticipated cost for demolition, site preparation, new construction and site improvements including utility and infrastructure upgrades. It should be noted that none of these facilities are engineered, therefore cost can vary. Therefore it should be considered a generalized order of magnitude. In addition to the base cost, the methodology assumes a design-bid-build, single-prime contractor delivery method, and includes the costs associated with overhead, profit, general conditions, as well as a design contingency that is consistent with industry practices for this level of project definition.”

    For more information, and to comment on the Master Site Plan using our online form, please visit the Master Site Plan page.


    Posted in: Master Site Plan

  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018 (5:35 pm)

    First students graduate from Hatch Culinary Lab

    Armed with knife skills learned at a new cutting-edge cooking academy, the first students graduated the free culinary education program housed in our commercial kitchen on the.

    The new education program is a partnership between OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC), CulinaryLab Cooking School, Anaheim’s Innovative Mentorship Experience program (AIME) and Spectra, the Fair’s master concessionaire.

    This community program will provide up to 50 students with training in everything from cookery basics and making healthy meals to safety and sanitation. The spring session will started Feb. 28 with the first 20 students from Kennedy, Savanna and Western high schools working for eight weeks. A summer internship program and fall certification series will follow, culminating in an event to feed the local homeless community.

    The team from CulinaryLab in Tustin is donating staff and time to the program and has created new curriculum tailored to provide students with the basics on how food works, healthy cooking skills and simple recipes they can practice at home with minimal cost and prep time. The goal is to excite students about cooking and food service and empower them to be confident individuals ready to secure career positions.

    The OCFEC commercial kitchen has been revamped from a solely commercial facility to a fully-equipped teaching kitchen with additional cooking stations, appliances, storage, tables and cookware. The approx. 6,500 sq. ft. facility is operated by Spectra and manager Juan Quintero says the company will also donate kitchen labor, such as dishwashers, to support the program.


    Posted in: Community Programs, OC Fair & Event Center

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018 (5:06 pm)

    OC performers needed for national anthem during the 2018 OC Fair

    The OC Fair is seeking Orange County residents or students to sing the national anthem on select City Days during the flag ceremony at the 2018 OC Fair. Performers must be able to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” a capella. 

    City Days are dedicated days during the Fair intended to honor and celebrate all the cities in Orange County. We are looking for performers from each of O.C.’s 34 cities.

    If you are interested in performing, please email khastings@ocfair.com by Friday, May 11, with your city of residence, the school in which you are currently enrolled (if applicable) and a video clip of you singing the national anthem. This video can be of a live performance at a local venue/event, or it can be from your home, but a video is required.

    If you are chosen to perform, you will need to be available on a weekday in July or August from noon to 1 p.m. We will contact you with the specific date.

    Please note: The national anthem performances are separate from the application to perform as part of the Community Entertainment program on one of the Fair stages. The application deadline to be considered for the Community Entertainment program has passed.


    Posted in: Entertainment