Category Archives: Community programs

  • Monday, December 11, 2023 (5:04 pm)

    Centennial Farm awarded Let’s Eat Healthy Community Grant

    From Dairy Council of California, Dec. 11, 2023

    Through our Let’s Eat Healthy Initiative, Dairy Council of California proudly partnered with Centennial Farm to enhance its educational programming with the support of an awarded $5,000 Let’s Eat Healthy Community Grant. Centennial Farm, located at the Orange County Fair and Event Center, focuses on youth agricultural education and offers a variety of community programs, providing experiential learning to emphasize the importance of agriculture and the connection between the food system and nutrition.   

    Educating children, families and the community around where food comes from and the hard work that goes into producing and sourcing food through sustainable farming practices is a core value at Centennial Farm and Dairy Council of California. Through the process of collaboration and co-creation, Centennial Farm updated its dairy resources to enhance knowledge on the health benefits of milk and dairy foods; position milk, yogurt and cheese as daily food choices in healthy, sustainable eating patterns; and increase agricultural literacy in children and families through the following:  

    1) Docent Trainings: Approximately 52 docents received professional development highlighting the health benefits of milk and dairy foods and educational resources to support their delivery of farm field trips. The docents incorporated the training information into their tours for elementary school students, teachers and parents. 97% of classroom educators who completed the tour survey reported that their docent highlighted dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. and shared some nutritional benefits of each. 

    2) Ranch Afterschool Program: Centennial Farm piloted a week dedicated to teaching about the health benefits of milk and dairy foods in its Ranch Afterschool program, focusing on 4th and 5th grade students. During the week, two episodes of our Let’s Eat Healthy Together, a Telly Award-winning broadcast series, were shown to enhance nutrition education. Students learned about the importance of nutrients and made a nutrient-rich smoothie that was highlighted in an episode. At the conclusion of the program, 85% of students reported that they believe it is important to eat dairy foods every day. 

    3) Imaginology Weekend: Recently, the Orange County Fair and Event Center hosted its Imaginology event with a record 22,642 people in attendance, a 54% increase from the previous year. Centennial Farm was a popular stop, where farm activities included highlighting Dairy Council of California’s nutrition education resources. Our Mobile Dairy Classroom instructor, Elizabeth Miller, demonstrated how to milk a cow. Afterward, she observed how the students really enjoyed looking at Dairy Council of California’s nutrition education resources.     

    Read the entire article:


  • Wednesday, September 20, 2023 (12:03 pm)

    Plaza Pacifica Youth Diversity Art Competition

    OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC) is seeking to install artwork created by local youth on the two largest light towers in Plaza Pacifica. The theme of the artwork will focus on celebrating the rich diversity of Orange County and the surrounding region. The winning artwork will be reproduced either on a large canvas or a digital LED screen. The dimensions of the tower on which the artwork will be displayed are 154 inches by 243 inches. OCFEC will determine whether to display the artwork of one or more of the four winners on the towers.

    Contest Guidelines & Eligibility
    • Artists must be 13-17 years of age (on Dec. 31, 2023) and live in the Southern California region.
    • All artwork must be an original creation made by the artist.
    • Acceptable mediums: painting, drawing, printmaking, watercolor, collage, mixed media, digital (computer art).
    • Works should be two dimensional and relatively flat, as it will need to be scanned if accepted.
    • Photography, video, three dimensional and artificial Intelligence (AI) generated artwork is NOT allowed.
    • The dimensions of the artwork must be 13 inches wide x 20 inches high.
    • Artwork should be vibrant, colorful, bold and focus on the themes of diversity, equity, community, inclusion, togetherness, celebration and/or other similar inspirational themes.
    • Due to the family-oriented nature of OCFEC, work dealing with drug use, obscenity, defamatory statements, violence or gang activity, depictions of weapons, satanic or cult themes or other offensive or objectionable content will NOT be accepted. This is at the sole discretion of OCFEC.
    • A maximum of three entries may be submitted.
    • Deadline for submission is Dec. 31, 2023.

    Contest Timeline
    • Deadline for online submissions is midnight on Dec. 31, 2023.
    • First round of judging to be completed by Jan. 12, 2024.
    • Acceptance notifications go out by Jan. 15, 2024.
    • Accepted artwork must be dropped off on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Further instructions will be sent to finalists.
    • Winners announced on Jan. 29, 2024.

    Application Process
    Eligible artists are invited to submit their digital application materials. Please include a digital image of the artwork in a JPG format.
    Apply Today

    The top four entries, determined by a panel of judges, will each receive $500 in prize money, a 2024 OC Fair Every Day Passport, inclusion in a press release and social media as appropriate. For more information, please contact Stephen Anderson at 714-708-1718 or

    OCFEC reserves the right to alter the artwork to fit the needs of the project. OCFEC also reserves the right to not select any artists for this art project. The artists retain image rights to their artwork. Display of artwork will be for a minimum of one year and is not considered a permanent installation.

    OCFEC is committed to serving a diverse range of individuals and organizations through its programs and services and does not discriminate based on race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or any characteristic protected by law. We will provide auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures to persons with disabilities upon request.

  • Monday, May 8, 2023 (9:00 am)

    Veterans Storytelling Project is returning to Heroes Hall May 13 with four speakers

    COSTA MESA – VOICES Veterans Storytelling Project returns to Heroes Hall on Saturday, May 13, at 5 p.m. for a new installment of powerfully captivating stories from those who served our country.

    The public event is the culmination of a six-week veterans’ initiative, which provides servicemembers with a creative outlet and empowers them to share their memories of military duty and how their experiences have shaped them.

    Participants in this VOICES installment will include:

    Jersson Nieto of Baldwin Park, U.S. Army, Sergeant – 2015-2023
    Khang Phi of Anaheim, U.S. Army, Specialist – 2004-2007
    Tori Rhoades of Fullerton, U.S. Marines, Corporal – 1994-2000
    Elizabeth Rocha of Orange, U.S. Marines, Sergeant – 2015-2020

    The evening will be facilitated by Giovanni Berdejo a former sergeant who served in the U.S. Army from 2002- 2010. Berdejo is the author of “One Angry Veteran,” and he narrated his own VOICES story in 2020.

    Held at Heroes Hall at OC Fair & Event Center, VOICES is a collaboration with Arts Orange County and Tierney Center for Veteran Services, and is supported through grants from the California Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Orange County Community Foundation, Heroes Hall Veterans Foundation and the William J. Gillespie Foundation. The program began in 2015 as a way to help address issues raised in the Orange County Community Foundation 2014 report, “The State of the American Veteran: The Orange County Veterans Study,” which found that military veterans coming home to Orange County are significantly underprepared for civilian life.

    RSVP for VOICES at The event is free and open to the public. The staged reading is suggested for mature audiences.

    Heroes Hall is a permanent year-round veterans museum and education center at OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. The museum features exhibitions, performances and educational programs that celebrate the legacy of Orange County veterans and others who have served our nation. For more information, visit or call (714) 708-1500.

    Arts Orange County is a nonprofit, countywide arts council and its mission is to be the leader in building appreciation of, participation in, and support for the arts and arts education throughout Orange County. For more information, visit or call (714) 556-5160.

    Goodwill of Orange County’s Tierney Center for Veteran Services is a global approach to serving veterans and their families. The center serves all veterans in Orange County, including immediate family members and military personnel and families. For more information, visit

    OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa is home to the annual OC Fair and Imaginology. Year-round attractions include Centennial Farm, Table of Dignity, Heroes Hall and Pacific Amphitheatre. Throughout the year events ranging from recreation shows to cultural festivals are held at the fairgrounds. For more information, visit

  • Thursday, April 7, 2022 (3:05 pm)

    Imaginology is this weekend!

    Imaginology returns in person this Saturday and Sunday, April 9-10! We’ve got a packed schedule of take-home crafts, science experiments, live performances by local entertainers, youth competitions and more.

    The free two-day event gives students the chance to explore careers in the S.T.E.A.M. fields –that’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math – as well as agriculture education.

    After being canceled in 2020 and going virtual in 2021, this year the family fest returns IN PERSON with activities and entertainment for kids of all ages.

    Programming includes:

    Science exploration

    Local exhibitors like Compass Charter Schools, YMCA of Orange County and Gemology will provide hands-on experimenting. Plus, try a little physical science with activities like hula hoops, Recess Revolution’s free-play area, or Heroes Hall Museum’s Fort Blisters Boot Camp.

    Tech lessons

    The Coder School and National College Resources Foundation will be on hand to talk about the future and the history of computers. Plus, OC Fair has a fun augmented reality activity in which kids can make their own coloring page come alive!

    Engineering playtime

    From woodcarving and scroll saws to Rigamajigs and module trains, there will be plenty to put together at Imaginology. Harbor Soaring Society will host aerospace adventures, Brain Builders will show off robots and LEGOs and Imaginology’s cardboard engineering competition will be on display.

    Arts in crafts, displays and more

    Local entertainers such as dance groups, DJs and music groups will provide live entertainment at the Main Stage. There is also a plethora of hands-on crafting – many of which come with a take-home project! Plus, Imaginology’s mural competition will be on display.

    Math by way of strategy

    We can find math in just about everything (like having students count out the cash for a burger and brat!). But logic and mathematical reasoning is the way to win at chess, and the local Academic Chess chapter will host their annual Tournament of Champions on Saturday from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Registration is $30 at

    Agricultural education

    Livestock competitions and exhibits will be on display throughout Imaginology. Plus, OC Fair & Event Center’s year-round Centennial Farm will feature activities such as radish seed planting, a terrarium makeshop, oxen demos and more – and don’t miss a peek at the piglets born March 16. There will also be blacksmithing demonstrations at the Farm.

    When: Saturday and Sunday, April 9-10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
    How much: Admission is free and most activities are included. Parking is $10. Food will be available for purchase.

    For more information including a full list of exhibitors and food that will be available, visit

  • Monday, November 15, 2021 (3:31 pm)

    Be a part of the 2022 OC Fair

    Community Entertainment

    Share your talent! Whether you sing, dance or play – solo or as part of a group – the OC Fair Community Entertainment program provides the stages where you can shine.
    Applications will be accepted until Friday, March 4, at 5 p.m.

    Apply Now

    Vendor Information

    Do you sell the best food or product in the county? Become a commercial vendor or concessionaire at the 2022 OC Fair.  Applications will be accepted until Dec. 10, 2022 (returning vendors) and March 4, 2022 (new vendors).

    Apply Now

  • Thursday, June 10, 2021 (3:16 pm)

    Fair Board pays tribute to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

    During May’s OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors meeting, members representing the Community Affairs Committee paid tribute to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

    The presentation highlighted the contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to Orange County’s communities, education and heritage, and to agriculture throughout California.

    View entire presentation

  • Thursday, April 29, 2021 (9:27 am)

    Take a quick survey to help OC Fair & Event Center

    Community input is important to us. Please take this short survey to assist OC Fair & Event Center.


    The survey expires May 6. Thank you in advance for your feedback!



  • Thursday, August 27, 2020 (4:10 pm)

    New farmers market program provides more fresh produce to low-income people in OC

    A new program to provide local families and individuals receiving CalFresh benefits with additional healthy produce is starting Sept. 3 at the Costa Mesa Certified Farmers Market at OC Fair & Event Center.

    The Market Match program provides nutrition incentives to help low-income residents stretch their CalFresh shopping dollars to afford more healthy, locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. As a direct result, the program also supports small- and mid-sized local farms and boosts the local economy.

    Thanks to a grant from the Gus Schumacher Incentive Program, those receiving CalFresh EBT (electronic benefits transfer) can use their cards to get more healthy food from the the Costa Mesa Certified Farmers Market held at OC Fair & Event Center.

    Participants can swipe their card at at the Market Manager’s Booth to receive up to an additional $20 in Market Match incentives per visit through the use of tokens/scrip.

    Matching funds can be spent on eligible CalFresh items such as fresh fruits and vegetables. CalFresh Market Match signs will be posted at the farmers market to help program participants navigate the offerings.

    The Costa Mesa Certified Farmers Market takes place each Thursday at OC Fair & Event Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Pacific Amphitheatre box office in Lot D.

    The Centennial Farm Foundation was organized in 1991 to support educational programs at the farm and to solicit and disburse funds to operate Centennial Farm and other agriculturally and youth-related education programs and exhibits of OC Fair & Event Center. For more information, visit

    For more information on the Orange County Farm Bureau, visit

  • Monday, April 27, 2020 (9:52 am)

    OC Fair Board cancels 2020 Fair due to pandemic

    The OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors voted unanimously today to cancel the 2020 OC Fair, one of the most anticipated and enduring summer celebrations in Southern California for 130 years. The Board considered ongoing guidance and updated information from State and County health care and government officials about the status of the coronavirus pandemic and the improbability that mass gatherings like the OC Fair could safely and responsibly take place this summer.

    In addition to the regularly scheduled monthly meeting, the Board called a second April meeting specifically to review all options and discuss whether or not to move forward with the 2020 OC Fair. The action comes amid unprecedented community stay-at-home and social distancing orders and will protect guests, vendors and staff during the COVID-19 crisis.

    “The decision to cancel the 2020 OC Fair was not taken lightly by the Board. As Governor-appointed representatives the Board has a responsibility to provide a safe experience to the community-at-large, the hundreds of people who depend on county fairs for their livelihood, fairgoers and OC Fair staff,” said Board Chair Sandra Cervantes. “While many of our guests have expressed extreme disappointment over the idea of the 2020 Fair being canceled, we strongly believe it is the right thing to do in this current situation. However, we will keep the spirit of the OC Fair alive with virtual fair concepts such as contests, competitions, entertainment and concessions to bring the fair experience to guests through and social media.”

    The 23-day OC Fair welcomes more than 1.3 million fairgoers each year and has an estimated economic impact of $350 million annually. The Fair was canceled 1942-1947 during wartime, but otherwise has been a summer staple since 1890. Information on refunds for concert tickets and Super Passes that have already been purchased can be found at

    “We love the OC Fair as much as our guests do. And, while it’s disappointing that the Fair can’t take place this year, we fully support the Board’s decision,” said Michele Richards, OC Fair & Event Center CEO. “But please know OC Fair & Event Center will still be here to serve the community as we plan for the next OC Fair and the eventual return of our wonderful events.”

  • Wednesday, April 1, 2020 (10:02 am)

    Centennial Farm donates produce to OC Food Bank

    Centennial Farm, which is currently closed to the public, sure does miss its after-school program, class tours and visitors. 

    But in the meantime, we are doing what we can to help our community by donating produce to OC Food Bank. Our hard-working farm staff has harvested several pounds of carrots, different types of lettuce and more.

    The farm staff is also making sure the livestock at Centennial Farm continues to be fed and cared for. Most of the rest of OC Fair & Event Center staff is working from home while the fairgrounds are closed.

    As always, thank you for your support of Centennial Farm. And make sure to check in on the pigs anytime at