• June 27, 2017 (4:47 pm)

    OC Fair Kids Club joins slate of community give-back programs

    A new program will help as many as 1,000 children visit the 2017 OC Fair – children who otherwise might not have the means to attend. Students from Title 1 and other programs will receive a free bus trip to the Fair, carnival ride coupons and a gift card as participants in the OC Fair Kids Club.

    Most Wednesdays and Thursdays during the 23-day Fair, busses will arrive before the Fair opens and children will get the opportunity to enjoy special activity stations at Centennial Farm. They will also learn about Heroes Hall veterans museum, which will be open during the Fair for the first time this year.

    Organizations had the opportunity to apply to participate in OC Fair Kids Club, a program that is fully funded by the OC Fair & Event Center to provide a chance for children in underserved communities to enjoy the Fair.

    “When I was meeting with a nonprofit manager earlier this year, I heard that families served by the organization couldn’t afford to come to the Fair and I knew I wanted to do something to change that,” said OC Fair & Event Center CEO Kathy Kramer. “In this first year we will help 1,000 children experience the Fair and we want to keep expanding OC Fair Kids Club annually. These community programs are so important.”

    OC Fair Kids Club is the third community give-back program aimed at making the Fair more accessible and more charitable. OCFEC was honored earlier this year by the Western Fairs Association for its Friends of the Fair and We Care Wednesday initiatives.

    Friends of the Fair

    The Friends of the Fair program provides a free, private fair experience each summer for guests with special needs. The event is held in the morning before the fair officially opens and participants enjoy carnival rides, interactive experiences with first responders and visits to livestock areas. On July 20, more than 8,000 people are expected to participate in the program that was launched in 1989.

    Without the usual number of visitors on site, Friends of the Fair guests with wheelchairs and other assistance devices can more easily enjoy the attractions. Event attendance is limited so visitors can also enjoy the experience at their own pace, in a calmer environment.

    Thanks to a partnership with Ray Cammack Shows, Friends of the Fair guests have fun on midway rides that might otherwise be difficult for them to enjoy. Employees of the carnival company arrive early to operate the rides and assist participants.

    During their visit, guests tour Centennial Farm to learn about fruits and vegetables and see the resident farm animals. They also explore the competitive livestock area and petting zoo. Local police and fire departments and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department have partnered with the fair to showcase their ground and air vehicles and allow guests to take pictures from the driver’s seat.

    We Care Wednesday

    On We Care Wednesdays, guests receive free fair admission and one complimentary carnival ride when they bring donations for partnering nonprofit organizations. The donations support a different nonprofit every Wednesday between noon and 3 p.m. during the run of the Fair.

    July 19 – donations of five nonperishable food items per guest benefit Second Harvest Food Bank and the OC Food Bank. 
    July 26 – donations of three new or gently used children’s books per guest go to Think Together. 
    Aug. 2 – donations of five clothing items per guest benefit Goodwill Orange County. 
    Aug. 9 – donations of school supplies valued at $5 or more (receipt required) per guest go to Share Our Selves.

    In 2016, the We Care Wednesday program provided 28 tons of food to the Second Harvest Food Bank, more than 56,000 new and used books to Share Our Selves, some 37,000 pounds of clothing to Goodwill Orange County and more than 150,000 school supplies to Think Together to assist low-income children.

    The popular We Care Wednesday program was launched in 1999 and attracts more than 20,000 Fairgoers each week. Every three years nonprofit organizations have the opportunity to apply to become a We Care Wednesday partner.


  • June 21, 2017 (4:45 pm)

    Featured artist to create paper garden at 2017 OC Fair

    Kiel Johnson is on a mission: build the world’s largest garden out of construction paper during the 2017 OC Fair.

    But he doesn’t want to do it alone. Johnson needs the help of Fairgoers.

    “I want this to be a collaborative project where people come in and add pieces to it to make a beautiful thing,” Johnson said.

    As a featured artist at this year’s OC Fair, Johnson’s exhibit, Garden Variety: A Collaborative Paper Garden, will be on display in the Visual Arts Gallery throughout the run of the Fair, July 14 – Aug. 13.

    A full-time artist based out of Los Angeles, Johnson started his artistic journey about a decade ago and uses everything from metal and plastic to cardboard.

    From Dubai to Orange Coast College, Johnson has spread his artistic vision around the world. He’s created everything from a life-like cardboard airplane to a laser made out of plywood, pine, plastic tubing and a bicycle wheel.

    “I just want to have a creative life,” Johnson said. “I really love being a Johnny Appleseed and working with the community.”

    His garden project had a trial run during Imaginology at OC Fair & Event Center in April, where some pieces were created, but Johnson is aiming even bigger for the Fair’s exhibit.

    Johnson will lay a foundation by creating the base of the garden, a couple of wooden trees, and a veggie cart. He wants the garden to look like it’s on a rooftop in Brooklyn, but Avatar-style. He will include a couple of his own pieces, like a plane and a yacht that he made for two separate projects, to add to the beautiful chaos.

    Once the basics are in place, it will be up to OC Fairgoers to create flowers, cars, and anything else their heart desires using only construction paper, scissors and glue.

    “I know some people will want to take their creations home, and I will set aside a few days toward the end of the Fair to pick up their stuff,” Johnson said. “But I want to encourage people to leave their stuff behind so that everyone can see what a beautiful piece of art everyone helped make.”

    Using your imagination for the creations is also encouraged.

    “There are templates there if you really need them, but I want to emphasize that there are no rules,” Johnson said.

    The garden will be open all 23 days of the Fair. Fairgoers can come in and create pieces even when Johnson is not present.

    Johnson began creating pieces for the garden project on June 12. Follow his progress on Instagram @kieljohnson.

    The 2017 OC Fair is July 14 through Aug. 13 and will offer 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits and more. The Fair is open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to midnight, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to midnight. 
    2017 OC Fair promo photos: bit.ly/2OCFair17photos

    Press credential requests: bit.ly/ocfairpress

  • June 16, 2017 (4:44 pm)

    Master chocolatier serves up French treats and culinary masterpieces at 2017 OC Fair

    The 2017 OC Fair won’t just be a fried food frenzy. Award-winning pastry chef and master chocolatier Stephané Tréand will showcase his talents in the OC Promenade during the Fair’s run from July 14 through Aug. 13.

    Tréand, a Tustin resident, is the owner of The Pastry School and St. Pâtisserie Chocolat in Costa Mesa. His next adventure will be a booth at the 2017 OC Fair.

    From chocolate to croissants, macarons to meringues, Tréand will have a large variety of French treats at his booth. The big item will be a macaron gelato sandwich, which is a first for the OC Fair. He will also have a chocolate orange tarte to represent Orange County and the OC Fair.

    Tréand’s demonstrations will feature tartlets, chocolate bonbons, truffles, caramels, macarons, cookies, marshmallows, profiteroles and more.

    On Sunday, July 30, he’ll be on the Main Stage creating a highly technical sugar art sculpture right before your eyes! Keeping with the OC Fair’s Farm Fresh Fun theme, Tréand will use the power of a fire torch to glue large pieces of the sugar together to create one magnificent piece of art.

    “My piece has to be unique for the Fair,” Tréand said. “I don’t recycle ideas.”

    Tréand will also hold cookie decorating classes for kids and teens on July 27 and August 6. Although the cookies will be baked a head of time, it will be up to the kids to create their designs using the variety of colors of royal icing, edible pearls and more.

    “They won’t have to follow a recipe or anything, they will have total freedom to be creative,” Tréand said. “The creative freedom allows kids to create something they can feel proud of, so I think it will be really great for them.”

    Originally from Paris, Tréand got his start as an apprentice at a local pastry shop in Northern France, all while taking pastry courses one week per month in Vincennes, Paris. Tréand opened his first patisserie tearoom, Pâtisserie Tréand, in Brignoles in Provence in 1989. A few years later, he decided to share his passion of pastries with others and became a teacher at the CFA of St. Maximin.

    Tréand’s knack for sweets isn’t the only special thing about him. In 2004, he won the coveted Meilleur Ouvrier de France (M.O.F.), which is the most prestigious award given by the President of France to a professional in a certain trade.

    Tréand led a stage demo at the 2016 OC Fair and was a huge success. This year he’ll have his own booth in OC Promenade.

    “People are very curious about the art of patisseries here,” Tréand said. “I’m looking forward to educating people and making people aware of working from scratch, artistry and French pastries.”


  • June 15, 2017 (5:03 pm)

    La Habra culinary team wins Cooking Up Change contest

    Congratulations to the La Habra culinary team for winning the Cooking Up Change challenge!

    The contest, sponsored by Kid Healthy, was held on June 12 and featured a total of seven teams. 

    Centennial Farm hosted a workshop for Orange County’s Cooking Up Change students early in the season. Kid Healthy is one of the programs Centennial Farm’s supervisor Evy Young and Culinary Arts supervisor Pam Wnuck have supported because they promote agriculture, nutrition, culinary initiatives and healthy eating.

    Read more about the competition on OC Register

  • May 31, 2017 (4:42 pm)

    Bookworms can earn free carnival rides at the 2017 OC Fair

    There’s a lot of fun to be had at the 2017 OC Fair. We’ll have tons of games, entertainment and delicious treats. But don’t worry, parents – there will be amazing learning opportunities too.

    One such opportunity is the Read & Ride program. Perfect for bookworms – or kids who need a little extra motivation to pick up a book – the program is simple: read two books and get three free carnival rides!

    How to participate in Read & Ride:

    1. Read two books.
    2. Write a brief summary (approximately 25 words) of each book.
    3. Bring the completed form to Centennial Farm’s information booth.
    4. Ride three carnival rides!

    The Read & Ride program is open to children ages 5 to 11. Five-year-olds may draw pictures instead of writing a summary. Completed forms must be signed by a parent or teacher, and children must be present to redeem the form for ride tickets. Only one form per child per day; a maximum of two forms may be submitted during the run of the 2017 OC Fair.

    Get the official Read & Ride form, and start reading!


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