Category Archives: Community programs

  • 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

  • Friday, February 28, 2020 (11:49 am)

    New OC Fair & Event Center Community Engagement Program approved

    The OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors voted Feb. 27 to approve a new Community Engagement Program aimed at helping local community groups, nonprofits and government agencies by supporting projects and events this year.

    A Community Engagement Program was proposed by CEO Michele Richards as a way to include employees and the board in decisions on how OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC) supports local efforts that are in alignment with the agency’s mission and that meet specific criteria. OCFEC’s mission is “Celebration of Orange County’s communities, interests, agriculture and heritage.”

    As part of OCFEC’s 2020 budget, a $150,000 Community Engagement Fund was set aside and a committee of two board members was created to work with a 10-member employee panel to determine which requests will be approved and funded.

    “The idea of this Community Engagement Program is extremely important to me. I want a fully transparent process in place and I believe it is in the best interest of the organization and public for our employees to be involved in this decision-making,” said Richards. “We want these funds to help further our mission and to lift up the people and the organizations out there doing such good work in our communities.”

    The Community Engagement Fund is one of several ways that OCFEC provides support to local philanthropic groups and other organizations.

    The Community Meeting Space Program allows groups to use meeting rooms for free or at a discount and the Community Event Rental Waiver program offers free or discounted use of facilities for events and larger meetings. Facilities must not be booked for other uses and particular criteria must be met. Staffing and equipment rental or usage costs are not included in the fee waiver and are subject to charges.

    Organizations interested in applying for any of OCFEC’s community programs can soon fill out an application online at

  • Monday, June 3, 2019 (11:54 am)

    OC Fair helps Anaheim Packing House celebrate 100 years

    From The Anaheim Blog

    The iconic Anaheim Packing House in downtown’s Center City is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with a jam-packed citrus themed event on Saturday, June 1.

    You’ll find live entertainment, tours and giveaways, as well as citrus-themed food and drinks, pop-ups, vendors and more.

    The fun kicks off at 11 a.m. with a citrus and avocado gardening class. Live entertainment follows and includes a variety of bands from rockabilly to swing throughout the afternoon and evening.

    Citrus-themed vendors and pop-ups by Sunkist and OC Fair will be on hand at the adjacent Farmers Park along Anaheim Boulevard. That’s where you’ll find a community art project, citrus cocktail garden and a nighttime showing of a Packing House documentary.

    Throughout the day, restaurants in the Packing House will be offering citrus-themed menu items.

    The fun wraps up at 10 p.m. with additional events throughout the year for the centennial celebration.

    Later this year, the Packing House and Farmers Park will host the World Taste event on Sept. 25 and the Anaheim Night Market on Dec. 14. Stay tuned for details.

    For more, visit