August 12, 2019 (12:01 pm)

An entire grove of lemons to make lemonade – and more 2019 OC Fair fun facts


COSTA MESA (Aug. 12, 2019) – The camels are heading home to their dairy, the stilt walkers are back to their normal heights and the blue ribbons have all been handed out. That means that the 129th annual OC Fair is a wrap.

By the time the clock struck midnight last night, the Fair had welcomed 1,393,482 guests, including 40,042 who entered free between noon and 3 p.m. on Opening Day and 59,069 children who received free admission on Kids Days or were under 5 years old. Some 11,143 members of the military received free admission as did 2,071 first responders.

The total number of guests came in just under last year’s record attendance of 1,470,636. Final revenue numbers are expected to be released in October.

“We are extremely happy with the numbers for this year’s OC Fair. We had fantastic weather, several new events, a great entertainment lineup and all the Fair favorites that keep people coming back year after year,” said OC Fair Communications Director Terry Moore. “We are pleased that so many people chose to spend part of their summer at the OC Fair and that they went home with many happy memories.”

Through its community programs, the OC Fair collected 87,300 school supplies, 25.69 tons of food, 82,984 childrens books and 31,069 clothing items 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 3,363 guests with special needs for a free experience while the OC Fair Kids Club brought 1,185 children from local Title 1 programs to the Fair where they enjoyed free admission and rides, a gift card and bus service.

Fairgoers munched on so many Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on top of so many things that Ray Cammack Shows concessions used an entire truckload of the crunchy treats. They also used more than 9 tons of sugar to make cotton candy, candied apples, funnel cakes and deep-fried desserts. Enzo’s Pizza tossed 4 tons of pizza dough and Ten Pound Buns dished up more than 7,200 pounds of their sourdough bread with toppings.

Some 15,000 ICEES and 20,000 Hot Dogs on a Stick were sold and an entire grove of lemons was used to make Squeezers lemonade.

In the Culinary Arts building, more than 1,200 fairgoers ate their way through the Culinary Crawl. There were 29,000 olive oil samples handed out and more than 125 culinary stage demonstrations.

This year the OC Fair held its first-ever Out at the Fair Day and welcomed hundreds of LGBTQ guests and friends to a day of family-friendly events and classic Fair fun.

Also new was the Love is in the Fair Contest which was won by Leslie Leong and Michael Nguyen who were married at the Fair on Aug. 10 in front of their friends, clowns, entertainers, fairgoers and farm animals, including Best Ox, Patches.

The Brew Hee Haw craft beer celebration was expanded and moved to The Hangar and a new Viva El Mariachi festival was held in Pacific Amphitheatre featuring Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, Ana Barbara and more.

The OC Fair does have an artistic side, and a quarter of an acre was devoted to the Visual Arts Gallery where 72 hours of demonstrations were held while 4 tons of clay was used to make pottery over at Muddy’s Studio. And at the Home Arts Craft Table, some 73,000 yards of yarn was used to teach guests to make 4,000 pom poms.

There were more than 1,600 entries in the culinary arts competitions, including pies, cakes, jams and breads, and $12,490 was paid out in winnings. Garden and floral entries totaled 5,830 this year and winners were paid $13,615.

The annual Jr. Livestock Auction featured the sale of 257 animals, bringing in a total of $279,476 for the 4-H and FFA students who raised the animals as agriculture educations projects.

And Centennial Farm welcomed a calf and 10 piglets who were born during the Fair.

Heroes Hall, OC Fair & Event Center’s veterans museum, welcomed 16,328 Fair guests who created 3,670 postcards for veterans while 2,125 children enjoyed a special scavenger hunt. Another 1,600 kids had fun at the Thursday Kids Day scavenger hunts in the Explorium tent where 3,600 balloons were popped at Pitch Burst and 920 people chomped their way through eating contests.

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