• Thursday, November 15, 2018 (4:03 pm)

    2019 OC Fair theme announced: ‘Acres of Fun’

    COSTA MESA (Nov. 15, 2018) – The 2019 OC Fair theme celebrates the county’s agricultural roots and invites fairgoers to enjoy “Acres of Fun.” The theme was announced today for the 2019 OC Fair which will run July 12-Aug. 11.

    This is the third year of a three-year initiative to focus OC Fair themes on agriculture. The 2017 theme was “Farm Fresh Fun,” a nod to agriculture products. “Free Your Inner Farmer,” the 2018 theme, saluted all the people involved in raising and enjoying the fruits of agriculture. The 2019 Fair theme focuses on land and the environment.

    “We are very excited to show our guests how to have ‘Acres of Fun’ this summer at the OC Fair,” said Kathy Kramer, OC Fair & Event Center CEO. “We love showcasing agriculture and educating the public about our rich heritage – it’s our mission and our passion. I look forward to having a great Fair that helps fund our community give-back programs and provides terrific family fun.”

    The official theme was presented today to the OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors. Michele Richards, VP of Business Development, shared the concept and artwork at the board meeting.

    The OC Fair staff is working with concessionaires to offer new value-priced menu options in 2019 in addition to the $3 Taste of the Fair specials.

    Other popular discounts and promotions will be back, including the opening day Free Till Three deal, the Read and Ride program for children and We Care Wednesdays offering free admission and a carnival ride to fairgoers who bring donations for local nonprofits. There will also be seniors days, kids days and discount days for carnival ride wristbands. Admission for veterans, members of the military and children age five and younger is always free. A full list of deals and discounts will be posted on ocfair.com.

    The Fair will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to midnight and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays July 12-Aug. 11, 2019.

    The 2018 OC Fair attracted 1,470,636 guests, breaking the previous record set in 2011. The Fair also broke the single-day attendance record when 86,334 fairgoers arrived on Saturday, July 28. This year, some 1,500 seasonal employees worked at the Fair and a similar number will be hired in 2019. Employment opportunities are posted at ocfair.com/jobs.

    OC Fair Super Passes, which provide admission to all 23 days of the Fair, are slated to go on sale Nov. 23 at the lowest prices that will be offered, $30 for general admission and $23 for youth and seniors. Prices will increase on March 1 and again on June 1. Super Passes come with two-for-one discounts on select shows at Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena along with discounts on food and an offer to purchase additional Fair tickets for only $10. The passes are sold at ocfair.com/superpass.

    Announcements for Fair entertainment have begun and tickets go on sale starting Dec. 1 for Pacific Amphitheatre concerts, Action Sports Arena shows and acts coming to The Hangar. For more information, visit pacamp.com.

    Concessionaires are now cooking up new concoctions to reveal at the 2019 OC Fair; details to come.

  • Monday, August 13, 2018 (11:34 am)

    2018 OC Fair breaks records and gives back to the community

    COSTA MESA (Aug. 13, 2018) – The 128th OC Fair welcomed a record 1,470,636 guests who enjoyed 35 sold-out shows, ate hundreds of thousands of chocolate chip cookies and freed their inner farmers by greeting 11 new piglets at Centennial Farm.
    “2018 was a banner year for the OC Fair in so many ways,” said OC Fair & Event Center CEO Kathy Kramer. “We want to thank the community for coming out in record-breaking numbers to enjoy the best celebration of the summer. We’re proud that 87% of guests surveyed said they increased their knowledge of agriculture and gave us a 4.62 overall enjoyment rating (out of 5).”
    Through its community programs, the OC Fair collected 11,055 children’s books, 10,769 items of clothing, 8,849 cans of food and 8,229 school supplies for local charities through the We Care Wednesday program during which guests received free admission with their donation.
    The Friends of the Fair program welcomed 4,501 guests with special needs for a free VIP experience while the OC Fair Kids Club brought 1,150 children from local Title 1 programs to the Fair for a special experience that included free admission and rides, a gift card and bus service.
    The final audited attendance figures show an increase of increase 10% from the 2017 number of 1,334,753. Final revenue numbers will be released in October.
    “The annual Fair funds our community give-back programs, agriculture education and supports Centennial Farm and Heroes Hall, so a great year for the Fair pays dividends all year long,” said Kramer.
    This year the OC Fair offered more discounts and promotions than ever before to help make the event more accessible. New in 2018 was Overalls Day and 3,140 fairgoers received free admission on Thursdays when they wore the denim classics. And a new carnival wristband deal was added to Sundays.
    The most popular one-time promotion was the opening day “Free Till 3” admission and parking deal and 38,091 guests arrived early on July 13 to get the party started. Half-price early-bird weekend admission attracted 73,091 fairgoers. Some 16,610 veterans and active members of the military received free admission during the run of the fair and their family members purchased 22,647 discounted tickets.
    On Thursdays, 25,158 children received free admission for Kids Day and more than 13,000 free carnival rides were provided to children who participated in the Read and Ride program.
    The previous attendance record for the 23-day event was set in 2011 when 1,400,280 fairgoers turned out for the “Let’s Eat” theme and watched sold-out concerts by Bob Dylan, Selena Gomez, Blake Shelton, Weezer, Chicago and more in Pacific Amphitheatre.
    The 2018 OC Fair also broke the previous single-day attendance record when 86,334 fairgoers arrived on Saturday, July 28. That turnout bested the record of 84,986 guests who visited the Fair on July 21, 2001, to see the Orange Crush Demolition Derby debut, the “I Love Lucy” 50th-anniversary exhibit and to ride La Grande Wheel and the Euroslide for the first time at the OC Fair.
    The OC Fair is currently the second-largest Fair in California by attendance, behind only the San Diego County Fair which runs three days longer. Nationally, the OC Fair ranks seventh by attendance.
    Here are some more wrap-up numbers:
    Survey – Results of the 10-day patron survey showed that 48% rated food as their favorite part of the Fair. Of those surveyed, 25% were first-time fairgoers and 48% are OC residents.
    Super Pass – 15,518 guests went for the season’s best deal and received free admission to all 23 days of the Fair and express entry lines along with deals on shows and concerts.
    OC Fair Express – The bus service that picks up from nine different OCTA locations on Saturdays and Sundays brought 79,684 guests straight to the Fair. 
    RCS carnival midway concessions – Sold 1,000 pounds of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, 2,000 pounds of bacon-wrapped pork belly, one orchard of lemons, 5,000 chicken wings and 750 gallons of BBQ sauce.
    Cathy’s Cookies – Baked 300,000 chocolate chip cookies.
    Chicken Charlie’s – Fried 3,000 pounds of filet mignon, went through a truckload of vegetable oil, two pallets of cookie dough and an actual truckload of chicken.
    Bacon-A-Fair – Guests purchased some 400,000 pieces of bacon in all forms.
    Chuckwagon BBQ –Cooked 9,700 ears of corn, 3,112 cups of corn, 21,000 beef brisket sandwiches, 7,784 blooming onions, 11,000 pounds of pork ribs and 12,000 pounds of waffle fries.
    Noel’s – Sold 20,834 tacos.
    Juicy’s – Served 119,950 onion rings. 
    Australian Battered Potatoes – Sold 7,000 pounds of potatoes and 140 pounds of bacon.
    Ten Pound Buns – Cooked up 6,500 pounds of Ten Pound Buns.
    Hot Dog on Stick – Served 17,200 hot dogs on sticks.
    Pacific Amphitheatre – The Toyota Summer Concert Series at Pacific Amphitheatre hosted 34 shows, including four pre-Fair shows and there are seven post-Fair shows coming up. There were nine sold-out shows including Trevor Noah, Steve Martin and Martin Short, Psychedelic Furs/X/The Fixx, Earth, Wind & Fire, Brett Eldredge, Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss, Rebelution (two concerts), Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton and Stray Cats.
    Action Sports Arena – There was a spectacle every night in Action Sports Arena, plus five matinees, totaling 28 adrenaline-pumping shows. The Daredevils & Wheels motorcycle stunt show was new this year. There were 13 sold-out events including Speedway, Broncs & Bulls rodeo, five monster truck shows and all six demolition derbies during which 45 cars and trucks and 12 motorhomes were smashed.
    The Hangar – Tribute bands, classic rock bands and mariachi acts brought the fans to The Hangar where there were 12 sold-out shows in 2018: Rumours, Dead Man’s Party, Firefall with Poco, Elton the Early Years, Queen Nation, Hotel California, Journey Unauthorized, Zeppelin Live, Ozomatli, I Am King, Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez and Devotional/Hollywood Erasure.
    Community entertainment – There were 524 community entertainers performing throughout the day on five different stages and across the fairgrounds. 
    Rides and games – La Grande Wheel XL was the No. 1 ride and Bank A Ball was the top game. Ray Cammack Shows reports that nearly 2.5 million fairgoers enjoyed the rides this year.
    Exhibits and competitions
    My Fair Selfie – OC Fair’s first-ever pop-up palace of photo fun was open for 18 days and featured 11 backdrops made for photography. The limited-run exhibit was visited by 36,003 guests.
    Bounty of the County – Three large-scale murals honoring local agriculture enterprises were created by artist John Cerney and installed at the main Fair entry gates.
    Outstanding in their Fields – Life-size portraits of 29 people who play a role in California agriculture were placed throughout the fairgrounds and their video stories played for guests who scanned them with an app.
    Heroes Hall – Open for its second OC Fair, Heroes Hall welcomed 19,375 visitors and 11,450 of them experienced the new Bravemind exhibit’s VR technology. Taps was performed every evening of the Fair, five times by bugle and 18 times on the harmonica.
    Competitions – Overall, there were 5,554 exhibitors with a total of 14,530 entries. The OC Fair presented a total of 1,189 first-place ribbons. There were 4,866 entries in the Garden & Floral competition. There were more than 1,300 tomatoes entered and more than 2,000 cut flower entries. At this year’s Junior Livestock Auction, 312 animals were sold for a total of $301,854.
    Explorium – During the daily eating contests, 23 Fair food vendors donated food for the 1,035 contest participants. Frank Thurston performed 66 magic shows and 5,616 water balloons helped keep little fairgoers cool. There were 210 entries in the kids’ art competitions.
    Arts – Two tons of clay was used in Muddy’s Pottery Studio during demonstrations and 1,104 hours of volunteer time were logged. In visual arts, there were 6,194 competition entries and 4,465 were in the photography category. 
    The OC Fair Fun Run – Celebrated its 10th anniversary with 2,923 registered runners.
    The 2018 OC Fair was held July 13-Aug. 12 at OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, and offered 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits and more. OC Fair & Event Center is also home to Centennial Farm and Heroes Hall – both open to the public year-round.

  • Friday, July 6, 2018 (6:01 pm)

    VIDEO: Find out how to free your inner farmer at this year’s OC Fair

    OC Fair & Event Center CEO Kathy Kramer made an appearance on Laguna Woods TV to share all the great stuff that we’re cooking up for the best party of the summer – and some of it isn’t even served on a stick!

    Fairgoers won’t want to miss My Fair Selfie, a pop-up palace of photo fun – a dozen backdrops built for Instagram; the Toyota Summer Concert Series in Pacific Amphitheatre; all the competitions and exhibits; the animals; rides, games and food, food, food – much of it actually is available on on a stick!


  • Thursday, July 5, 2018 (2:12 pm)

    Agriculture comes to OC Fair in a BIG way, thanks to artist John Cerney

    Towering over guests at 16 feet tall, three gigantic murals celebrating three incredible farms will be hard to miss at each OC Fair entrance this year. Hand-painted by artist John Cerney and dubbed “Bounty of the County,” the murals focus on Orange County’s agricultural roots and truly speak to this year’s OC Fair theme, “Free Your Inner Farmer.”

    The murals will introduce fairgoers to:

    Tanaka Farms – Blue Gate (off Fair Drive)
    Installed on Tuesday, May 29, the Tanaka Farms mural depicts Glenn Tanaka and his son, Kenny, with a special appearance by Kenny’s son, Landon, 2. Located in Irvine, Tanaka Farms is an authentic working farm established in 1940, featuring 30 acres of fruit and vegetables. For more information and tour details, visit tanakafarms.com.


    Neff Ranch – Green Gate (north of Pacific Amphitheatre)
    Cerney is in the process of hand-painting this second of three murals. Installation is planned for mid-June. Originally established in Yorba Linda, Neff Ranch is one of the county’s last orange growers, with a 20-acre orchard featuring 4,000 Valencia orange trees. Plus, in 2003, Neff Ranch took over a Hass avocado farm in Tustin. For more information, visit neffranch.com.

    5 Bar Beef – Yellow Gate (north of the Midway)
    The last of the installations, 5 Bar Beef’s mural will feature the very last cattle rancher in Orange County, Frank Fitzpatrick. This real-life cowboy has brought grass-fed beef to Southern California since 1979, and can be found at the farmers markets at Laguna Hills Mall on Fridays and Irvine’s Mariner’s Church on Saturdays. For more information, or to purchase beef online, visit 5barbeef.com.

    About John Cerney

    Anyone who has driven through Salinas, Calif., might recognize the larger-than-life farmers along Highway 68. Originally erected in 1995, the figures are the first in a long series by Cerney. The Salinas native has projects from California to the Midwest, including a 32-foot-wide race car in Monterey, a 16-foot-tall George Harrison in Benton, Illinois, and two different “Welcome to Roswell” alien scenes in New Mexico off Highway 285, one of which features a flying saucer with solar-powered LED lights.

    This is the first time Cerney’s work has been featured in OC, though one of his murals can be found in Santa Monica. Since every project is so different, it can take anywhere from a week to several to complete each mural.

    “I love painting and I’m totally committed to every (mural) I do,” Cerney said. “But I love that I’m hitting a new market in Orange County.”

    More about John Cerney: johncerneymurals.com


    Posted in: Exhibits, OC Fair, Centennial Farm

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