Category Archives: Latest news about the fairgrounds

  • Thursday, March 12, 2020 (7:16 pm)

    OC Fair & Event Center closes property until further notice

    (Updated June 11, 202o) 

    Out of an abundance of caution and to help stem the spread of coronavirus, OC Fair & Event Center announces a full public closure of the facilities, including Heroes Hall Veterans Museum, Centennial Farm, Equestrian Center and the administration building lobby until further notice.

    OC Fair & Event center will continue to follow public health directives.

    The following events previously scheduled to take place at OC Fair & Event Center have been impacted: 

    • Orange County Market Place – weekends, canceled until further notice
    • Farmers Market – Thursdays, canceled until June 18
    • OC Wine Fest – June 13-14, canceled
    • BrideWorld – June 14, canceled
    • OC Market Place Taco Fest – June 20, canceled
    • Costa Mesa Speedway – June 20, canceled
    • FamFest – June 20-21, canceled
    • Pacific Symphony – July 4 & Aug. 21, canceled
    • 2020 OC Fair – July 17-Aug. 16, canceled
    • SoCal World Guitar Show – Aug. 22-23, canceled
    • Irish Festival – Sept. 5-6, canceled

    The following is a list of events originally scheduled for earlier this year that have been rescheduled for a later date: 

    • AAOC Trade Show and Conference – March 26, postponed to Sept. 10
    • Mom Made Market – March 28-29, postponed to Oct. 10-11
    • Fight Club – April 9 & June 11, postponed until Oct. 15 & Nov. 12
    • OC Marathon – May 1-3, postponed to Nov. 6-8
    • OC Night Market – May 8-10 & May 15-17, postponed to Oct. 23-25 & Oct. 30-Nov. 1 

    For a complete list of upcoming scheduled events, please visit

  • Tuesday, January 28, 2020 (4:47 pm)

    OC Fair wins 16 awards!

    OC Fair & Event Center was honored with 16 awards for innovation and excellence by the Western Fairs Association (WFA). 

    OCFEC received six first-place honors, four second-place awards and six third-place awards.

    OC Fair’s 1st place awards: 

    • New Animal Competitive Exhibit: Clean Barn Award program
    • New Idea in Maintenance: Hand-washing station pump and wagon innovation 
    • Theme Program: Acres of Fun
    • Fair Logo
    • New Innovative Use of Technology for Patrons: PrimoWind charging stations
    • New Event, Exhibit or Program: Heroes Hall exhibit “Victory from Within”

    OC Fair’s 2nd place awards:

    • Fair-time Event: “Love is in the Fair” wedding contest
    • Self-Promoted Non-Fair Event: Boo Ha Ha – A Haunted Oktobeerfest 
    • Fair Pocket Program/Schedule
    • Agriculture Programming: Agriculture-themed lounges (Avocado Pit, Orange Grove, Strawberry Patch and Beef Corral)

    OC Fair’s 3rd place awards:

    • Give it Your Best Shot, People (photography): Little girl with pink balloon in fountain (pictured above)
    • Fair-time Advertising Poster
    • Foreign Language Printed Marketing Campaign
    • Digital Marketing Campaign
    • Any Other Advertising Campaign: Promotional items
    • Non-Profits: Big Brothers Big Sisters workplace mentoring program

    Many prize categories were specific to the 2019 OC Fair and others were related to year-round events and programs. The Western Fairs Association presented the awards for 2019 achievements at its annual conference last week in Reno, NV. WFA is a nonprofit trade association serving the fair industry throughout the western United States and Canada. 

  • Thursday, September 26, 2019 (5:07 pm)

    OC Fair & Event Center wins 13 IFEA 2019 Pinnacle Awards

    The International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) recognized the most outstanding examples of quality and creativity in the festivals and events industry on Sept. 25 at the IFEA’s 64th Annual Convention with the presentation of winners of the 2019 Pinnacle Awards.

    Sponsored Haas & Wilkerson Insurance, the professional competition draws entries from some of the world’s top festivals and events. Winning entries came from organizations as diverse as the Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, OH; the OC Fair in Costa Mesa, CA; the Des Moines Arts Festival, Des Moines, IA; the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC; and the Philadelphia Flower Show.

    Awards were handed out in 69 categories and OC Fair & Event Center won 13 awards including eight gold, four silver and one bronze. The awards were for the annual OC Fair as well as year-round events on the fairgrounds. Gold winners included Best Event Within an Event, Best TV Promotion, Best Promotional Poster and Best New Event.

    Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) is The Premier Association Supporting and Enabling Festival & Event Professionals Worldwide. In partnership with global affiliates under the umbrellas of IFEA Africa, IFEA Asia, IFEA Australia, IFEA Europe, IFEA Latin America, IFEA Middle East (MENASA), and IFEA North America, the organization’s common vision is for “A Globally United Industry that Touches Lives in a Positive Way through Celebration.” The Association offers the most complete source of ideas, resources, information, education and networking for festival and event professionals worldwide.

  • Monday, January 14, 2019 (3:09 pm)

    Branding assessment project

    Help us evaluate our brands:

    • OC Fair & Event Center
    • Pacific Amphitheatre
    • Heroes Hall
    • Imaginology
    • Centennial Farm

    We have begun to evaluate out family of brands to determine current value in the marketplace and whether or not changes are warranted. We have grown and it is time to reassess.

    In addition to our OC Fair & Event Center brands, the exercise will include discussions about our property partners: equestrian center, OC Wine Society, Orange County Market Place and Spectra.

    Public participation is being sought during this process – community input is important as the fairgrounds looks toward the future.

    The advertising firm IMW of Costa Mesa has been contracted to perform the brand assessment and to offer recommendations. They began with meetings with staff groups and a workshop with the board of directors. A meeting of property partners and stakeholders has also been scheduled.

    The public is invited to participate in a branding assessment workshop – options are:

      • Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2-3 p.m. at OC Fair & Event Center OR
      • Wednesday, Jan. 30, 6-7 p.m. at OC Fair & Event Center

    The OC Fair & Event Center is located at 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. These workshops will take place in the administration building.

    Those who are unable to attend one of the public meetings will have the opportunity to participate by completing an online survey that will be posted here following the workshops.

    Please continue to check and @ocfair on social media for the latest updates on this project.

    A little about brands …

    Brands are not just logos. A brand is more than what a product does or what it might communicate. Brands are the total perception of the entity’s “persona” in the marketplace, including an implied promise to customers that the facility and service will consistently meet their expectations. Brands evoke emotions. They delight us and make us feel that they are familiar and reliable. Branding differentiates a product from its competitors and creates added value for partners.

  • Wednesday, November 28, 2018 (3:33 pm)

    Arlington Drive project wins improvement award

    News from the City of Costa Mesa:

    The city was selected to receive a 2018 Project of the Year award from the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) for the Arlington Drive Improvements Project.

    The project included roadway improvements, a new concrete multipurpose trail along the south side of Arlington Drive, a new underground storm drain system and vegetated bioswale, and roadside beautification including new landscaping and water efficient irrigation systems.

    The APWA is the professional association of public works leaders throughout the United States and Canada, with the Southern California chapter covering Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

    The rewards program recognizes public agencies for their outstanding projects and programs and shares good ideas from such projects.

    Get more news and information from Costa Mesa City Hall.

  • Wednesday, November 21, 2018 (11:27 am)

    Gov. Brown announces OC Fair Board appointments

    SACRAMENTO (Nov. 20, 2018) – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the following appointments:

    Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia, 39, of Anaheim, has been appointed to the 32nd District Agricultural Association, Orange County Fair Board of Directors. Rubalcava-Garcia has been chief operating officer at the Orange County Business Council since 2018, where she was vice president of investor relations from 2016 to 2018.

    She was associate publisher at the Southern California News Group in 2016 and held several positions at Freedom News Group from 2007 to 2016, including vice president of freedom sales operations and director of sales strategy and senior advertiser marketing and research analyst at the Orange County Register. Rubalcava-Garcia was audience insights analyst at ImpreMedia from 2006 to 2007 and held several positions at the Los Angeles Times, including market and planning research analyst from 2004 to 2006 and advertising operations lead coordinator from 1996 to 2004.

    She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of La Verne College of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Rubalcava-Garcia is a Democrat.

    Andreas Meyer, 35, of Irvine, has been appointed to the 32nd District Agricultural Association, Orange County Fair Board of Directors. Meyer has been associate general counsel at Chapman University since 2017.

    He was university counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at the University of Southern California from 2011 to 2017 and an associate at Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher from 2009 to 2011. Meyer is a member of the Orange County Bar Association, Orange County Lavender Bar Association and Equality California.

    He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Meyer is a Democrat.

    View official announcement.

  • Wednesday, March 7, 2018 (11:51 am)

    Grab the best summer job ever! We’re hiring for 1,500 seasonal positions

    There is a lot of work that goes into putting on the annual OC Fair, and hiring is now under way to fill about 1,500 seasonal positions. 

    Jobs include everything from selling carnival tickets, parking cars and building exhibits to working as an accounting clerk, mechanic or audio assistant.

    “We are looking for smiling, enthusiastic people to help our guests make wonderful memories,” said OC Fair & Event Center CEO Kathy Kramer. “We have the best summer jobs ever – and there are terrific perks. These are perfect positions for educators, students and anyone who wants to have a great time while earning a paycheck.”

    There are also a handful of year-round civil service jobs available, including a Community Engagement Director and a Heroes Hall Supervisor. Most positions that are currently open fall into the seasonal part-time category with opportunities available for department leads and specialists. 

    With only about 150 year-round employees, the OC Fair & Event Center staff works hard to gear up for the busy summer season. Most seasonal jobs have been posted at and positions are available for people 16 and older. Hiring has begun for key jobs, with other start dates staggered toward the OC Fair, July 13-Aug. 12.

    There are jobs available for those who have always wanted to be a costumed character, sign language interpreter, data analyst, auto mechanic, dispatcher, lighting technician, farm attendant or a safety and security representative. 

    Perks include free admission to the OC Fair, the option to purchase up to 20 Fair tickets for $1 each for friends and family and the opportunity to win a Fair employee scholarship.

    For more information and to apply online, visit or contact the OCFEC Human Resources Department at 714-708-1563, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


    Posted in: Latest news about the fairgrounds, OC Fair & Event Center

  • Tuesday, February 6, 2018 (10:00 am)

    Arlington Drive Improvement Project update

    Here is an update on the Arlington Drive Improvement Project, from the City of Costa Mesa:

    Public Services is well underway with the Arlington Drive Improvements Project.  The project is about 33% complete and the main storm drain and all storm drain laterals are completed. 

    The new vegetated bioswale is currently being graded and the new southerly curb will be installed by Feb. 9. Additionally, restricted traffic control measures are currently in place, but vehicular access eastbound past the Davis Magnet School will be restored by Feb. 16.

    Finally, a new concrete multipurpose trail along the south side of Arlington Drive and roadside beautification including new landscaping and water efficient irrigation systems will be constructed by June 2018.

    For more of the latest news on Costa Mesa, read this week’s City Hall Snapshot.


    Posted in: Latest about the fairgrounds

  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017 (3:44 pm)

    What’s happening along Arlington Drive?

    Arlington Drive Improvement Project 

    Here is an update from the City of Costa Mesa:

    As construction begins on new Arlington Drive Improvement Project, Public Services announced that grading, roadway and storm drain construction is scheduled to started Nov. 27 and will continue through March 15, 2018, closing the south half of Arlington Drive from Gate 5 at OC Fair & Event Center /west end of TeWinkle Park to Newport Boulevard.

    Only westbound traffic will be allowed in this area, but two-way traffic on Arlington Drive between Fairview Road and Davis Magnet School will be maintained.

    Residents are asked to please take a detour around the project site and use alternate routes for eastbound travel. City staff appreciates the public’s patience and cooperation while the project is under construction.

    Read our Q & A

    Q: What is going on with the construction on Arlington Drive, along the perimeter of OC Fair & Event Center?

    A: The City of Costa Mesa Public Works Department is putting in a new storm drain system and improvements to the roadway and the land on the south side of Arlington Drive.

    Q: Do these improvements include a sidewalk next to the Fairgrounds?

    A: Yes. There will be a concrete multipurpose trail and new landscaping, including a new bio swale.

    Q: What is a bio swale?

    A: It is a system that removes silt and debris from runoff water using drainage inlets and vegetation. This keeps water from heavy rains from overburdening storm drains.

    Q: How long will the trail be?

    A: It will run from Fairview Road to Newport Boulevard and the bio swale runs from gate 7 at the fairgrounds to Newport Boulevard.

    Q: Who can use the trail?

    A: The trail will be open to the public and can be used for walking and biking.

    Q: Will there be trees again along Arlington Drive?

    A: Yes. There will be new landscaping, including trees next to the Fairgrounds perimeter, between the trail and the bio swale and next to the street.

    Q: Will water-efficient irrigation systems be installed for the landscaping?

    A: Yes.

    Q: When will the project be done?

    A: Construction is anticipated to be completed in March 2018. The OC Fair opens July 13.

    Q: Why is this project being done?

    A: According to the city, the current bio swale and roadway conditions had deteriorated and the drainage systems were not handling the capacity needed to keep the area properly drained.

    Q: Who is actually doing this work?

    A: This is a City of Costa Mesa project. The Orange County Water District has completed the work to relocate its main distribution line. The City of Costa Mesa has contracted with Sully-Miller Contracting and Kabarra Engineering to do the rest of the work on the project including the new underground storm drain, trail, road improvements and landscaping.

  • Thursday, October 12, 2017 (11:42 am)

    Animals safely evacuated to Fairgrounds during Canyon Fire 2


    OC Fair & Event Center is a designated large animal rescue facility and we had a plan in case of emergency, but we could not have assisted the animals evacuated from the Canyon Fire 2 area without the help of amazing volunteers, nonprofits and local businesses.

    We housed 127 horses, six pigs, six goats, six mini-horses/ponies, three tortoises, two sheep and one steer. We appreciate all who donated feed, stalls and even food to keep our volunteers fortified.

    Fair staff quickly moved into action after the Fairgrounds was activated as an evacuation center. Temporary stalls were erected in the Action Sports Arena, show ring and in our livestock area. Key personnel were designated to handle processing the animal intake and to help owners get their animals settled in. During the week, staff members were on hand 24 hours a day to assist with the care of the evacuated animals and to make sure owners’ needs were met.

    A huge thank you goes out to Star Milling Company, Kruse Feed & Supply, Inc., Laughing Pony Rescue, Midway City Feed Store, Feed Barn Costa Mesa, Hitching Post, Vons, Stater Bros., Carl’s Jr., L.A. on Cloud9, OC Fairgrounds Equestrian Center, the City of San Juan Capistrano’s Large Animal Response Team and the numerous individual volunteers who donated their time and effort. We had help feeding and watering the evacuated animals, walking horses, cleaning stalls and assisting with intake and check-out processes.

    Join us in thanking these groups, businesses and individuals for their time and donations. And best wishes to the animals as they head home.

    Read more about the evacuation and the wonderful people who helped:

    Daily Pilot: Animals evacuated from O.C. wildfire find a temporary home at the fairgrounds

    OC Register: Canyon Fire 2: Fairgrounds or Noah’s Ark? OC Fair becomes safe haven for displaced animals