Category Archives: OC Fair

  • Tuesday, May 2, 2023 (9:59 am)

    OC Fair competition deadlines are near – how to bring home a blue ribbon this year

    COSTA MESA – Calling all artists, growers and creators! OC Fair’s competition entry deadlines are quickly approaching.

    For the 2023 OC Fair, everyone is invited to showcase their talents by participating in more than 20 competitions in the visual arts, culinary, home arts and hobbies, wine, horticulture and livestock categories.

    Competitions this year include:

    Visual Arts
    Fine Arts

    Home Arts & Hobbies
    Fiber Arts
    Hand Crafts
    Jewelry Arts
    Table Setting

    Container Plants
    Cut Flowers
    Floral Arrangements
    Fruits & Vegetables
    Pressed Botanicals

    Bars & Brownies
    Pies & Cheesecakes
    Preserved Food & Liqueur
    Sugar Arts & Confections
    Yeast & Quick Breads

    Commercial Wine
    Home Wine

    Breeding Livestock Shows
    Market Livestock Shows

    There are also designated divisions and separate competitions for youth.

    Deadlines for entries vary based on category. Competition Guides are available at The guides detail rules, regulations, important dates and more. Some competitions are free to enter.

    The first 2023 deadline for commercial wines, is slated to close May 19. Table settings, a fan favorite, has exceeded entries and is now closed.

    Results for the 2022 OC Fair Competitions are available at


    “Happy Together” is the theme of this year’s OC Fair, which takes place July 14-Aug. 13. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

    New this year, the OC Fair is offering an Every Day Passport which allows guests to enjoy the Fair any day or every day of the 2023 season – no reservations or restrictions. The Every Day Passport is on sale now for $60, while supplies last.

    There is limited daily capacity at the OC Fair and advance admission ticket purchase is required – tickets are on sale now. Prices are $13 general admission on weekdays (Wednesday, Thursday) and $15 general admission on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Tickets for seniors 60+ and kids 6-12 are $9 all days. The OC Fair will absorb transaction fees. Parking is $12; $24 for buses and limos.

    Tickets are on sale for performances in Pacific Amphitheatre, Action Sports Arena and The Hangar. Carnival tickets are also on sale with a $44 discounted ride wristband available for purchase until July 14. Guests can access unlimited rides and two free games from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wristbands must be redeemed by 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

    For more information, visit Photos and video for media are available here.

  • Thursday, December 15, 2022 (4:02 pm)

    Dates announced for 2023 OC Fair; ‘Happy Together’ is chosen as the theme

    COSTA MESA (Dec. 15, 2022) – Today the OC Fair announced that “Happy Together” will be the theme of the 2023 event that will run July14-Aug. 13, highlighting community inclusion.

    Advance ticket purchase will again be required with limited capacity for summer’s best party, which will be open Wednesday through Sunday.

    Admission tickets will go on sale online in early 2023 and will be restricted to 45,000 admissions available per day. This is the third year the Fair has imposed a limited-capacity model and days are again expected to sell out.

    A new offering, the OC Fair Every Day Passport, will also be on sale in early 2023 and will allow guests to visit the Fair any day of its 23-day run without advance tickets required. The price will be $60 for all and sales will be limited to 10,000 passports.

    “There is no better way to celebrate summer than to be ‘Happy Together’ at the OC Fair,” said Michele Richards, OC Fair CEO. “We’ve been working all year to once again bring the community together for all the special fun and goodness the OC Fair offers – food, rides, animals, entertainment, shopping, exhibits and more. We can’t wait for opening day on July 14!”

    Ticket prices will slightly increase this year with general admission prices going up by $1 for the first time since 2014 to $13 general admission on weekdays (Wednesday, Thursday) and $15 on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Weekend admission prices were raised by $2 in 2017. Tickets for seniors 60+ and kids 6-13 are $9 all days, a $2 increase, also the first since 2014. OC Fair will again absorb the online admission ticket transaction fees since advance purchase is required. Admission tickets will not be available for sale at OC Fair entry gates. Parking will be $12, a $2 increase year-round.

    New hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

    Tickets are now available for purchase for the first OC Fair concerts announced for Pacific Amphitheatre and The Hangar. Live music performances include Dwight Yoakam and Asleep at the Wheel, Bee Gees Gold with ABBA LA and Queen Nation.

    Returning OC Fair favorites include magician Frank Thurston, Brew Hee Haw craft beer festival, monster trucks, demolition derbies, All-Alaskan pig races and, of course, zany fair food.

    The Junior Livestock Auction will be back in person on July 22 and the traditional OC Fair competitions will begin accepting entries in February.

    Also on display during the Fair at Heroes Hall will be Armed Only with a Camera: World War II Photography of Stanley Troutman. The SAAAB Story exhibit continues on the second floor educating visitors on the history of the Santa Ana Army Air Base. Admission is free with Fair entry.

    The OC Fair is looking for local people to participate in the annual 2023 event. Community entertainment (unpaid) applications will be accepted beginning Jan. 9 at Applications for vendors and concessionaires are now open at Sponsorship and marketing information is available at

    The 2022 OC Fair had attendance of 1,055,173 with 11 sold-out days. The Fair returned to an in-person event in 2021 after going virtual in 2020.

  • Friday, September 23, 2022 (4:20 pm)

    OC Fair named best fair/festival of 2022 by OC Register

    From OC Register, Sept. 22, 2022

    Best of Orange County 2022: Best fair/festival

    Still going strong after 130+ years, the OC Fair is one of the area’s most anticipated events and draws more than a million people annually. Many are return visitors. No surprise there: trying to experience all the fair has to offer in a single day can be an exercise in futility.

    OC Fair Communications Director Terry Moore calls the monthlong event a “much-loved summer tradition.”

    “We hear wonderful stories about young families making memories just like the parents did when they were growing up,” she said. “It’s about friends seeing concerts under the stars and winning giant stuffed animals in the carnival. Most of all, it’s about being together and enjoying the fun you can only find at the fair.”

    Activities include midway games, rides, the large Ferris wheel and entertainment shows at three different venues. The Action Sports Arena returned with demolition derbies, speedway races and monster trucks after being dark in 2020-21. The Hangar offered the usual tribute band favorites and the Pacific Amphitheatre’s music and comedic talent rivaled neighboring county fairs. Jackson Browne, Trevor Noah, Brett Eldredge, the Offspring, Counting Crows, Smokey Robinson, Culture Club were among this season’s performers.

    Elsewhere, the fair’s visual and photographic art contest winners guarantee something stunning, while a visit to the war-themed Heroes Hall Museum and Education Center proves enlightening. The craft beer roundup, plus all the deep-fried and barbecue food are modern fair traditions.

    — George A. Paul

    Read the entire article:


  • Thursday, August 18, 2022 (10:09 am)

    The 2022 OC Fair by the numbers

    COSTA MESA – The 2022 OC Fair is a wrap and there were a whole lot of summer memories for fairgoers who wanted to “Feel the Sunshine,” the theme of this year’s Fair which ran from July 15 through Aug. 14.

    Advance tickets were required again this year so daily capacity could be limited to provide a better experience for our guests, neighbors and partners. There was no increase in ticket prices again this year.

    “The annual OC Fair is very special and important to the community. It gives us such pleasure to present it every year. It’s a thrill for our team to plan and produce an event that resonates with our guests throughout Southern California and beyond,” said Michele Richards, OC Fair CEO. “It’s always sad to see the annual OC Fair end each year, but rest assured our team is already working on next year’s Fair. We can’t wait to welcome back all our guests again in 2023,” said Richards.

    Here’s a look at this year’s Fair by the numbers:

    Preliminary figures show that 1,055,173 fairgoers came out to enjoy summer’s most-anticipated event and there were 11 sold-out days. In 2021, OC Fair attendance was 1,055,770 and there were 16 sold-out days.

    10,000 competition entries from 3,068 exhibitors vied for blue-ribbons. In Home Arts, there were 399 entries, 1,292 entries in Culinary, Visual Arts had 3,754 entries and there were 4,426 entries in Horticulture. Entries were up 20 percent over 2021.

    2.5 million carnival rides were enjoyed by fairgoers and their favorites were La Grande Wheel XL, Skyride and Rave Wave. The top games were Bottle Up, Big Water Race and Bank A Ball. The most-requested midway prizes were Squishmallows and Ramen Noodle stuffies.

    7,990 kids took advantage of the Read and Ride program by reading books and earning carnival rides.

    70,600 fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies were made from scratch at Mom’s Bakeshoppe.

    16,682 hot dogs were sold by Pink’s, along with 13,754 orders of fries and 1,272 veggie dogs.

    5 top food items from Biggy’s were pizza, fried Oreos, Dole Soft Serve, corn dogs and funnel cakes.

    8,800 pounds of Ten Pound Buns were served up at this year’s OC Fair.

    20,000 deep-fried Oreos, 2,000 Kool-Aid chicken sandwiches, 9,000 Canadian lobster tails, 5,000 bacon-wrapped pickles and 3,000 fried avocados were served up at the Chicken Charlie’s stands throughout the fairgrounds.

    One new OC Fair Foodie costumed character was introduced this year, Sunny Lemon, who posed for photos daily and paraded through the fairgrounds with the OC Fair Foodie crew.

    20 piglets, five goats and four peachicks were born at Centennial Farm.

    13,958 phone calls during the Fair were answered by the Guest Experience team.

    44,611,100 social media impressions on OC Fair’s various profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

    231,736 cars were parked in general parking during this year’s event.

    35 tons of organic waste was diverted from landfills, 55,000 pounds of trash was recycled and 7,500 gallons of cooking grease was repurposed by the OC Fair facilities team.

    $242,967.76 was paid out to agriculture students through the Junior Livestock Auction and this year we saw the sale of 153 animals.

    13,514 visitors to Heroes Hall during the Fair also had the chance to see a real Huey helicopter and to decorate 1,000 postcards for the troops.

    12 concerts were sold out in The Hangar, 11 events were sold out in Action Sports Arena and so far there have been eight sold-out shows in Pacific Amphitheatre.

    Concerts under the stars are continuing with these upcoming shows in Pacific Amphitheatre:
    Aug. 18 – Boy George & Culture Club / Berlin
    Aug. 19 – Cole Swindell / Honey County
    Aug. 25 – Steve Miller Band
    Aug. 28 – Ramon Ayala / Conjunto Primavera
    Aug. 31 – Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo / Ann Wilson
    Sept. 2 – Jackson Browne
    Tickets are for sale on Ticketmaster.

    “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank the community for supporting the OC Fair this year. We’re very proud to provide this great family event each year that means so much to so many,” said OC Fair Board Chair Doug La Belle.

  • Friday, July 22, 2022 (4:12 pm)

    2022 OC Fair runs through Aug. 14 – What’s free with Fair admission?

    OC Fair fans have been waiting all year for the return of summer’s best party – and they know how to get the best value out of their visit. Here are some awesome things that are free with Fair admission.

    For a full OC Fair schedule, visit, or download the 2022 OC Fair app. Advance tickets are required – no fees – and capacity is limited.

    Comedy hypnotist Mark Yuzuik – nightly in Plaza Pacifica
    The Magic of Frank Thurston – daily in OC promenade
    Roving entertainment including Dragon Knights Stilt Show, Red Light Brass Band and Ellas mariachi group (limited run) – daily throughout the fairgrounds
    Community entertainment featuring local music groups, dance troops and more – daily on three stages
    Tupua Polynesian dance group – nightly in Plaza Pacifica
    Live music – nightly in Baja Blues
    Latin music and dancing – nightly in Hussong’s Cantina
    The Hangar and Action Sports Arena – performances accessible via standing room (or via paid ticket for reserved seating)
    Performance of Taps – 6 p.m. nightly at Heroes Hall

    All-Alaskan Racing Pigs – daily in Plaza Pacifica
    Animal judging and displays – daily in Livestock
    Great American Petting Farm – daily near Green Gate
    OC Fair’s resident animal educators including pigs, goats, cattle, chickens, rabbits, peacocks and sheep – daily at Centennial Farm

    Cow milking – daily in Millennium Barn
    Food preservation, chef’s tips and more – daily in OC Promenade/Culinary
    Camel dairy – limited run in livestock
    OC Vaulting horse acrobatics – limited run in livestock
    Wine talks and pairings – daily in The Courtyard
    Crafts and handmade goods – daily in Home Arts & Collections Gallery

    Produce and floral competitions – daily at Centennial Farm
    Woodworking, quilting, table setting, baking and more – daily in Home Arts & Collections Gallery and OC Promenade/Culinary
    Cal Fresh exhibit featuring the state’s crops – daily in OC Promenade
    Fine arts and visual arts competitions – daily in Visual Arts Gallery

    Explorium Fun on the Farm learn & play area – daily in OC Promenade
    Food-related contests for kids – daily in OC Promenade
    Photos with OC Fair Foodies – daily throughout the fairgrounds
    Color postcards for troops & veterans – daily at Heroes Hall

    For more ideas on what to do & see at the OC Fair, visit

    Things to know before you go

    The Fair will be open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays (Wednesday, Thursday) and 11 a.m. to midnight weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
    General admission is $12 on weekdays (Wednesday, Thursday) and $14 general admission on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Tickets for seniors 60+ and kids 6-12 are $7 all days.
    Parking is $10 for cars and motorcycles and $20 for buses and limos.
    Tickets are on sale now and must be purchased in advance with no fees on Fairgoers should make sure to get tickets for special days and group adventures now, with limited capacity days could sell out (in 2021 17 out of 23 days sold out).
    Performances in Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena during fair-time include same-day Fair admission. Tickets are on sale now. For more information visit
    Unlimited ride carnival wristbands are back this year for $49. The one-day wristbands can be used Wednesdays and Thursdays, must be purchased or redeemed by 5 p.m. and include unlimited rides and two free games; guests can ride and play from 11 a.m. till 8 p.m.
    Carnival ride and game tickets can also be bought online now and are $1.25 each. Tickets required for each ride range from two to 14 tickets and games require between two and eight tickets each. For more information on this year’s rides and games, visit our website.

  • Tuesday, June 21, 2022 (2:54 pm)

    New character, Sunny, heading to this year’s OC Fair

    Today we held auditions for our new Foodie, and this was one of our favorites – we hired them on the spot!

    We thought it’d be the perfect way to introduce our Lemon’s name. *drumroll*

    Meet SUNNY!!

    This year, Sunny will join his Foodie friends Olivia (the Orange), Arturo the Churro, Cornelius and Strawberry Jan every day at the OC Fair.

    THANK YOU to everyone who participated in our naming contest on social media – we had 250+ votes! John Lemmon came in real close, and there were lots of votes for Twist/Twisty and Drop/Lemon Drop.

    Some of the write-ins were also pretty great. We got tons of variations of Squeezy, Zesty, Lemony and Lemonade. Some of you went with citrus themed, suggesting names like Pucker, Sour and Tart. Others went literal with names like Meyer and Bonnie Brae. Lots recommended we name the Lemon after famous people or characters such as Miley Cytrus, Lemon Stefani, Jack Lemon, Liz Lemon LuluLemon and even Pikalemon. A few gave the Lemon fun last names like Bigfair, McLemonFace and Picket. We especially enjoyed the creative ones like Nomel (lemon spelled backwards) and the French-sounding Sunny Le Monet.

    Don’t forget to say hi to Sunny this summer at the OC Fair!

  • Thursday, June 16, 2022 (5:30 pm)

    Learn all about OC Fair’s Commercial Wine Competition

    The OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition is the largest California-only wine competition and is in its 46th year. Only the best winemakers and winery principles were invited to be a part of the 17 panels of up to five judges who blindly tasted 2,516 wines June 4-5.

    Fran Gitsham, the president of Orange County Wine Society and host of the event, was in charge of this massive production powered by 300 volunteers. “The flow” is how Gitsham referred to the system of how the wines were judged.

    First, the bar-coded wines were poured in sequence by stewards, who delivered them carefully to each table. Once a judging table completed their tasting, they waved a green “pick up glasses” sign, signaling the stewards to retrieve the glasses and walk them to a side room to be cleaned for the next wines. At the same time, their judging forms were picked up and taken to the data validation and entry room. The data was then verified using computerized lists, and by the end of the day they had complete reports of the day’s judging. This was repeated until all wines had been judged.

    Results for the 2022 Commercial Wine Competition are now available at Plus, the wines will be available to purchase by the glass at the annual OC Fair in the Courtyard. 

  • Thursday, February 17, 2022 (1:01 pm)

    Now accepting entries for the 2022 OC Fair Competitions!

    The OC Fair has begun accepting entries for the annual competitions, which are a long-standing tradition at the summer event – especially for the local fans.

    For the 2022 OC Fair, guests are invited to show off their best talents by participating in more than 20 different competitions.

    Competitions this year include:

    Visual Arts

    • Fine Arts
    • Photography
    • Woodworking

    Hand Crafts & Hobbies

    • Collections
    • Hand Crafts
    • Fiber Arts
    • Jewelry

    Garden & Floral

    • Cut Flowers
    • Fruits & Vegetables
    • Container Plants
    • Floral Arrangements

    Table Settings


    • Bars & Brownies
    • Cookies
    • Sugar Arts & Confections
    • Yeast & Quick Breads
    • Honey
    • Preserved Food & Liqueur


    • Home Wine
    • Commercial Wine


    • Market Livestock Shows
    • Breeding Livestock Shows

    There are also designated divisions and separate competitions for youth.

    Deadlines for entries vary based on category. Competition Guides are available at for each competition. The guides detail rules, regulations, important dates and more. Some competitions are free to enter.

    In 2021, the OC Fair condensed the number of competitions but still received more than 3,000 entries and issued about 1,400 awards. Results for the 2021 OC Fair Competitions are available at, including a city-by-city breakdown of how each O.C. resident fared.

    The OC Fair was recently featured in a documentary about the highly competitive annual Table Settings Competition. SET! was filmed during the 2019 OC Fair and released in 2021 on Discovery+. The film follows the process of several participants in the Table Settings Competition, from registration and brainstorming to finding out whether or not they placed well. Find out more at

    Imaginology, OC Fair’s annual family event focused on education, is also accepting entries for two youth competitions: Mural Project and Cardboard Engineering. The deadline for the Imaginology competitions are March 30; Imaginology takes place April 9-10. For more information, visit

    “Feel the Sunshine” will be the theme of this year’s OC Fair, which take place July 15-Aug. 14. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Advance ticket purchase is required, and tickets are on sale now.

  • Wednesday, February 16, 2022 (3:32 pm)

    OC Fair receives accolades in CDFA report for agriculture exhibit

    OC Fair was featured as a “Grant Spotlight” in the 2021 California Department of Food & Agriculture report for its new exhibit, California Fresh.

    The report mentions the backstory of the Specialty Crop Block Grand Program, which was originally granted to Cal Expo in 2020. The State Fair could not host their event in 2021, so Cal Expo granted a “subaward” to its Orange County counterpart – that’s us! 

    OC Fair’s Exhibits & Education team developed the exhibit and made it adaptable for display at Cal Expo as well. During the 2021 OC Fair, the exhibit was on display in the OC Promenade.

    The CDFA report says, “A tip of the hat to all involved, with CDFA’s thanks for making sure this project ended up where the public could enjoy it, even with all the hurdles the past few years have thrown in everyone’s way.”

    See the full 2021 CDFA report

  • Wednesday, January 19, 2022 (2:31 pm)

    Jim Gaffigan, Kool & the Gang headlining this summer; plus, annual craft beer fest to return to 2022 OC Fair

    OC Fair has announced more if its 2022 summer entertainment lineup. Live music performances at Pacific Amphitheatre include Kool & the Gang with Sister Sledge on opening weekend, and Jim Gaffigan on Aug. 4.

    Also performing during the OC Fair at The Hangar: Elton – The Early Years – A Tribute to Elton John, Dog N Butterfly – The Heart Experience and The Long Run – Experience the Eagles. OC Brew Hee Haw, the annual craft beer festival, will return this summer at a new venue: Action Sports Arena.

    Tickets for these shows will go on sale Saturday, Jan. 22, at 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster.


    Kool & the Gang with Sister Sledge
    July 15, 2022, 7:30 p.m.
    Tickets are $39.50-$79.50

    Get ready for a dance-filled summer night with Kool & the Gang and special guest Sister Sledge. Formed as a jazz ensemble in the mid-’60s, Kool & the Gang became one of the most inspired and influential funk units during the ’70s, and one of the most popular R&B groups of the ’80s after their breakout hit “Celebration.” They’ll follow Sister Sledge, the sibling vocal group behind the anthem “We Are Family.”

    Jim Gaffigan
    Aug. 4, 2022, 8:15 p.m.
    Tickets are $55-$95

    It’s about time for some belly laughs. Jim Gaffigan is a five-time Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, best-selling author, two-time Emmy-winning top touring performer, and multi-platinum-selling recording artist. He is known for his unique brand of humor, which largely revolves around his observations on life. Gaffigan recently released his seventh stand up special, Quality Time, with Amazon Studios, making history as their first original comedy special. He also continues to tour around the world.


    Elton – The Early Years – A Tribute to Elton John
    July 21, 2022, 8:15 p.m.
    Tickets are $20-$25

    Accomplished musician and vocalist, Kenny Metcalf recreates the multiple Grammy-winning legend and flamboyant superstar in each and every performance. Dazzling outfits, stunning vocals, and a spectacular backing band complete this reproduction that brings the audience on an adventure of both sight and sound.

    Dog N Butterfly – The Heart Experience
    July 29, 2022, 8:15 p.m.
    Tickets are $20-$25

    Created in late 2003, Dog N Butterfly is a five-piece band dedicated to bringing their talent and love of Heart’s memorable music to the stage. Complete with retro-inspired costume and dance, Dog N Butterfly performs all the ’70s hits as well as the chart-toppers that brought Heart back into the lime light in the ’80s.

    The Long Run – Experience the Eagles
    Aug. 4, 2022, 8:15 p.m.
    Tickets are $20-$25

    The Long Run is a hard-working tribute act from Los Angeles dedicated to faithfully recreating the timeless music of The Eagles. Marked by lush harmonies and exceptional musical accuracy, every performance delivers a reverence for the beloved Eagles recordings, blended with TLR’s own live-concert personality.


    OC Brew Hee Haw – A Craft Beer Roundup
    Tickets are $50 (GA) / $60 (VIP) / $25-$30 (no-alcohol tickets)
    Session 1: July 15, 6 p.m. (VIP) / 7 p.m. (GA)
    Sessions 2: July 16, 12:30 p.m. (VIP) / 1:30 p.m. (GA)
    Sessions 3: July 16, 6:30 p.m. (VIP) / 7:30 p.m. (GA)

    Following another record-breaking year, the 8th Annual OC Brew Hee Haw Craft Beer Roundup will return to the OC Fair on July 15 & 16, 2022! In addition to delicious unlimited beer tastings, each session will include entertainment with epic themes in their genres by some great live music. Band information to be announced, so stay tuned!

    Tickets to these shows go on sale to the public Saturday, Jan. 22, at 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster. Tickets to concerts occurring during the OC Fair include same-day admission to the OC Fair. The 2022 OC Fair is July 15-Aug. 14, open Wednesday-Sunday. Advance tickets are required.