Category Archives: Exhibits

  • 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, July 28, 2021 (9:09 am)

    California Fresh exhibit debuts at the 2021 OC Fair, celebrates specialty crops

    The OC Fair is proud to present for the first time ever the California Fresh Exhibit: Celebrating the Bounty of Our Counties.

    This special exhibit, which debuted at this year’s fair, was created by OC Fair staff and is aimed at educating consumers and highlighting the state’s diverse specialty crops. The exhibit was developed as part of the California Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. At the end of the fair, the California Fresh exhibit will be on tour educating the public.


    • Learn about everything from almonds and strawberries to ornamental plants.
    • Play the County Bounty Treasure Hunt augmented reality (AR) game – Discover the state’s varied array of agriculture! Just look for the signs with the California Bear and use the QR code to get started or download the app (Apple or Google)
    • Coloring sheet for kids – Dress the California Bear for a trip to the OC Fair! The special app also brings the bear to life and he shares information about the state’s many specialty crops.
    • There are recipe cards located throughout the exhibit to help fairgoers discover delicious was to enjoy the bounty of specialty crops available.
    • A special map in the center of the exhibit illustrates the diversity of the state’s specialty crops by showcasing each county’s key commodity crop.
    • Selfie spots – Find all the different and colorful areas to snap pics with your friends, and tag #ocfairfun to be featured!


    The exhibit will feature chef demonstrations and culinary experts sharing information on the benefits of these healthy and tasty crops grown in the state’s 58 counties, along with preparation tips.

    Michael Marks will demonstrate on stage and introduce the culinary guests on stage. He will discuss the California crops and benefits of eating healthy.


    Would you guess that Orange County is known for its variety of ornamental plants? California is called the Golden State for many reasons, one being the bountiful specialty crops produced here. These crops include fruit and tree nuts, vegetables, herbs and spices, floriculture and horticulture crops.

    Specialty crops are grown and used for food, medicinal purposes and/or aesthetics or beautification in landscaping and more. These crops include the nutritionally delicious almonds and celery in school lunches, olives on your pizza, garlic and ginger that flavors your dinner, cut flowers in holiday centerpieces, trees in the park, and herbs in your medicine.

    California produces more than 400 different commodities, many of which are specialty crops. They’re all around us! The goal of the exhibit is to educate consumers about the many benefits of these amazing crops, to promote healthy eating habits and to teach fairgoers about finding locally sourced produce and more.

  • 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.”

  • Sunday, July 21, 2019 (10:15 am)

    Check out our new farm lounges

    One of the new features of the 2019 OC Fair is the agricultural-themed lounges set up throughout the fairgrounds.

    The lounges represent four California commodities — avocados, strawberries, oranges and beef — and tie in with the Fair’s agricultural theme, “Acres of Fun.”

    These photos show more details of The Avocado Pit. Grab some shade and enjoy! 🥑🥑🥑

  • Thursday, July 5, 2018 (2:12 pm)

    Agriculture comes to OC Fair in a BIG way, thanks to artist John Cerney

    Towering over guests at 16 feet tall, three gigantic murals celebrating three incredible farms will be hard to miss at each OC Fair entrance this year. Hand-painted by artist John Cerney and dubbed “Bounty of the County,” the murals focus on Orange County’s agricultural roots and truly speak to this year’s OC Fair theme, “Free Your Inner Farmer.”

    The murals will introduce fairgoers to:

    Tanaka Farms – Blue Gate (off Fair Drive)
    Installed on Tuesday, May 29, the Tanaka Farms mural depicts Glenn Tanaka and his son, Kenny, with a special appearance by Kenny’s son, Landon, 2. Located in Irvine, Tanaka Farms is an authentic working farm established in 1940, featuring 30 acres of fruit and vegetables. For more information and tour details, visit


    Neff Ranch – Green Gate (north of Pacific Amphitheatre)
    Cerney is in the process of hand-painting this second of three murals. Installation is planned for mid-June. Originally established in Yorba Linda, Neff Ranch is one of the county’s last orange growers, with a 20-acre orchard featuring 4,000 Valencia orange trees. Plus, in 2003, Neff Ranch took over a Hass avocado farm in Tustin. For more information, visit

    5 Bar Beef – Yellow Gate (north of the Midway)
    The last of the installations, 5 Bar Beef’s mural will feature the very last cattle rancher in Orange County, Frank Fitzpatrick. This real-life cowboy has brought grass-fed beef to Southern California since 1979, and can be found at the farmers markets at Laguna Hills Mall on Fridays and Irvine’s Mariner’s Church on Saturdays. For more information, or to purchase beef online, visit

    About John Cerney

    Anyone who has driven through Salinas, Calif., might recognize the larger-than-life farmers along Highway 68. Originally erected in 1995, the figures are the first in a long series by Cerney. The Salinas native has projects from California to the Midwest, including a 32-foot-wide race car in Monterey, a 16-foot-tall George Harrison in Benton, Illinois, and two different “Welcome to Roswell” alien scenes in New Mexico off Highway 285, one of which features a flying saucer with solar-powered LED lights.

    This is the first time Cerney’s work has been featured in OC, though one of his murals can be found in Santa Monica. Since every project is so different, it can take anywhere from a week to several to complete each mural.

    “I love painting and I’m totally committed to every (mural) I do,” Cerney said. “But I love that I’m hitting a new market in Orange County.”

    More about John Cerney:


    Posted in: Exhibits, OC Fair, Centennial Farm

  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017 (10:44 am)

    Blue-ribbon OC Fair art on exhibit at Fullerton Arboretum


    The OC Fair Visual Arts Competition receives about 6,000 entries each year submitted by artists from Orange County and throughout Southern California. Types of art include woodworking, painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography and graphic arts.

    The OC Fair is often the first exhibition experience for an artist. The thrill of being selected for exhibition and then winning an award nurtures, encourages and inspires artists, instilling confidence in their creativity.

    Each year, the OC Fair purchases a few of the exhibited entries to add to the permanent collection. There are more than 150 pieces of artwork in the collection dating back to the 1970s. The collection focuses on the traditions, people, life and beautiful landscapes of our region, state and country. Most of the artists in the collection are Orange County residents.

    The exhibit will be on display at the Fullerton Arboretum’s Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum through Dec. 3, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, noon-4 p.m. For more information, visit

    To enter artwork for the 2018 Fair, go to to find details in the OC Fair Visual Arts Competition Guide that will be available in April. 


  • Wednesday, June 21, 2017 (4:45 pm)

    Featured artist to create paper garden at 2017 OC Fair

    Kiel Johnson is on a mission: build the world’s largest garden out of construction paper during the 2017 OC Fair.

    But he doesn’t want to do it alone. Johnson needs the help of Fairgoers.

    “I want this to be a collaborative project where people come in and add pieces to it to make a beautiful thing,” Johnson said.

    As a featured artist at this year’s OC Fair, Johnson’s exhibit, Garden Variety: A Collaborative Paper Garden, will be on display in the Visual Arts Gallery throughout the run of the Fair, July 14 – Aug. 13.

    A full-time artist based out of Los Angeles, Johnson started his artistic journey about a decade ago and uses everything from metal and plastic to cardboard.

    From Dubai to Orange Coast College, Johnson has spread his artistic vision around the world. He’s created everything from a life-like cardboard airplane to a laser made out of plywood, pine, plastic tubing and a bicycle wheel.

    “I just want to have a creative life,” Johnson said. “I really love being a Johnny Appleseed and working with the community.”

    His garden project had a trial run during Imaginology at OC Fair & Event Center in April, where some pieces were created, but Johnson is aiming even bigger for the Fair’s exhibit.

    Johnson will lay a foundation by creating the base of the garden, a couple of wooden trees, and a veggie cart. He wants the garden to look like it’s on a rooftop in Brooklyn, but Avatar-style. He will include a couple of his own pieces, like a plane and a yacht that he made for two separate projects, to add to the beautiful chaos.

    Once the basics are in place, it will be up to OC Fairgoers to create flowers, cars, and anything else their heart desires using only construction paper, scissors and glue.

    “I know some people will want to take their creations home, and I will set aside a few days toward the end of the Fair to pick up their stuff,” Johnson said. “But I want to encourage people to leave their stuff behind so that everyone can see what a beautiful piece of art everyone helped make.”

    Using your imagination for the creations is also encouraged.

    “There are templates there if you really need them, but I want to emphasize that there are no rules,” Johnson said.

    The garden will be open all 23 days of the Fair. Fairgoers can come in and create pieces even when Johnson is not present.

    Johnson began creating pieces for the garden project on June 12. Follow his progress on Instagram @kieljohnson.

    The 2017 OC Fair is July 14 through Aug. 13 and will offer 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits and more. The Fair is open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to midnight, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to midnight. 
    2017 OC Fair promo photos:

    Press credential requests:

  • Friday, June 16, 2017 (4:44 pm)

    Master chocolatier serves up French treats and culinary masterpieces at 2017 OC Fair

    The 2017 OC Fair won’t just be a fried food frenzy. Award-winning pastry chef and master chocolatier Stephané Tréand will showcase his talents in the OC Promenade during the Fair’s run from July 14 through Aug. 13.

    Tréand, a Tustin resident, is the owner of The Pastry School and St. Pâtisserie Chocolat in Costa Mesa. His next adventure will be a booth at the 2017 OC Fair.

    From chocolate to croissants, macarons to meringues, Tréand will have a large variety of French treats at his booth. The big item will be a macaron gelato sandwich, which is a first for the OC Fair. He will also have a chocolate orange tarte to represent Orange County and the OC Fair.

    Tréand’s demonstrations will feature tartlets, chocolate bonbons, truffles, caramels, macarons, cookies, marshmallows, profiteroles and more.

    On Sunday, July 30, he’ll be on the Main Stage creating a highly technical sugar art sculpture right before your eyes! Keeping with the OC Fair’s Farm Fresh Fun theme, Tréand will use the power of a fire torch to glue large pieces of the sugar together to create one magnificent piece of art.

    “My piece has to be unique for the Fair,” Tréand said. “I don’t recycle ideas.”

    Tréand will also hold cookie decorating classes for kids and teens on July 27 and August 6. Although the cookies will be baked a head of time, it will be up to the kids to create their designs using the variety of colors of royal icing, edible pearls and more.

    “They won’t have to follow a recipe or anything, they will have total freedom to be creative,” Tréand said. “The creative freedom allows kids to create something they can feel proud of, so I think it will be really great for them.”

    Originally from Paris, Tréand got his start as an apprentice at a local pastry shop in Northern France, all while taking pastry courses one week per month in Vincennes, Paris. Tréand opened his first patisserie tearoom, Pâtisserie Tréand, in Brignoles in Provence in 1989. A few years later, he decided to share his passion of pastries with others and became a teacher at the CFA of St. Maximin.

    Tréand’s knack for sweets isn’t the only special thing about him. In 2004, he won the coveted Meilleur Ouvrier de France (M.O.F.), which is the most prestigious award given by the President of France to a professional in a certain trade.

    Tréand led a stage demo at the 2016 OC Fair and was a huge success. This year he’ll have his own booth in OC Promenade.

    “People are very curious about the art of patisseries here,” Tréand said. “I’m looking forward to educating people and making people aware of working from scratch, artistry and French pastries.”