Category Archives: Uncategorized

  • Monday, November 28, 2022 (2:14 pm)

    Please help OC Fair & Event Center by taking a quick survey

    Community input is important to us. If you have a few minutes to spare, please take this survey about a potential OC Fair season pass.

    Thank you in advance for your feedback to help OC Fair & Event Center improve!

    Take the survey now!

  • Tuesday, October 25, 2022 (2:21 pm)

    OC Fair & Event Center wins international industry awards

    OC Fair & Event Center was awarded four top honors from the International Festival & Events Association at its annual Pinnacle Awards competition in September.

    A gold award recognized the organization’s e-newsletter as the best in show. Silver awards honored OCFEC’s TV promotion and outdoor billboard and a bronze award was given for best promotional poster.

    Each year IAFE recognizes the top organizations internationally in the festival and events world.

  • 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.

  • Wednesday, April 20, 2022 (3:53 pm)

    Employees seeking terrific summer jobs are needed to put on the annual OC Fair

    OC Fair & Event Center needs seasonal workers who are looking for great summer jobs and a fun way to earn money. The theme of this year’s Fair is “Feel the Sunshine.”
    About 1,500 seasonal employees are needed and jobs are posted at for people 16 and older. Hiring has begun for several positions, with other start dates staggered toward the 2022 OC Fair, July 15-Aug. 14.
    Positions include everything from building exhibits to working as a ticket taker, administrative assistant or customer service representative.
    Open positions are seasonal, part-time with numerous opportunities available in departments such as parking, security and admissions. There are jobs available for those who are interested in being a member of the maintenance team, landscape crew or janitorial group.
    Perks include free admission to the OC Fair, the option to purchase discounted tickets for friends and family and the opportunity to win a Fair employee scholarship.
    Employees will need to follow all health and safety precautions in place at OC Fair & Event Center. More specific information will be provided to applicants and will be based on current protocols from public health agencies.
    For more information, visit or contact the human resources department at 714-708-1563, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Tickets are on sale now for the 2022 OC Fair and performances in Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena. For more information, visit
  • Monday, April 4, 2022 (10:08 am)

    Give your feedback on the future of the fairgrounds

    The OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors is seeking public comments on a draft three-year strategic plan to determine the future direction of the state-owned property.

    The Board is considering the following: New vision and mission statements and strategic direction for the annual OC Fair, year-round events program, educational assets/foundations, the equestrian center, community support and implementation steps.

    The draft plan is posted on our website for public review and comment. Please submit your comments using the online form by April 26.

  • Friday, March 11, 2022 (11:24 am)

    Senator Min Awards Orange County Fairgrounds CEO Michele Richards 2022 Woman of the Year

    (COSTA MESA, CA) — Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine) announced the 37th Senate District’s Woman of the Year honoree, Michele Richards. An Orange County resident, Richards serves as General Manager and CEO of OC Fair & Event Center where she oversees one of the largest fairgrounds in California. The OC Fairgrounds hosts over 150 events a year, including entertainment at the world class Pacific Amphitheater, and attracts approximately 4.3 million guests annually. It is an economic driver for Costa Mesa that generates $300 million for the region.

    “On behalf of the 1.1 million residents here in California’s 37th Senate District, I am honored to recognize Michele Richards as the 37th Senate District 2022 Woman of the Year,” Min said. “Michele Richards is not just the General Manager and CEO of the Orange County Fairgrounds – she is a pillar of the Orange County community.” Min continued, “Since the onset of the pandemic, Ms. Richards’ stewardship not only steered the Fair’s financial recovery but leveraged its shuttered facilities for COVID-19 response. From food distribution center to vaccine supersite, we are incredibly grateful for her leadership.”

    “I’m beyond honored to be named by Senator Min as Woman of the Year,” Richards said. “There are many exceptional women leaders in our community and it is a great privilege to be counted among them. I am surrounded by an amazing team at OC Fair & Event Center. What we do is important to the community, and to be able to help so many people during the pandemic and bring back the OC Fair has meant so much to all of us. Thank you for this recognition.”

    Ms. Richards’ full bio can be found below.

    Michele Richards was named OC Fair & Event Center’s General Manager and CEO in December, 2019 where she has led the organization through the pandemic and eventual recovery. Michele took the helm at a critical time just before the pandemic shut down all public access and revenue-generating event business at OC Fair & Event Center, including the 2020 OC Fair. Working with the employees she credits as being the heart of the team, Michele led the organization back to financial stability with the reopening of public events and return of the 2021 OC Fair, the most successful in the fair’s history. During the shutdown, Michele worked with state, county and local government agencies and nonprofits to host emergency food distribution events and COVID testing, and used the OC Fair & Event Center as a vaccination Super POD to serve the community. Prior to being appointed CEO, she served as Vice President of Business Development for more than seven years. Most notably, she was responsible for guiding initiatives which significantly increased attendance at the annual OC Fair, launching new sales programs which generated additional year-round events revenue, leading a rebranding effort and advancing the organization’s youth STEAM event, Imaginology.

  • Wednesday, March 2, 2022 (2:25 pm)

    Here’s what’s happening at the OC Fairgrounds in March 2022

    OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa will host several events in March, including a speaker series at Heroes Hall Museum, garden classes at Centennial Farm, and the weekly Farmers Market. Plus, OC Fair looks ahead to April for the return of Imaginology.

    Discovery Day at the Farm, March 4 & March 14

    Discovery Days at Centennial Farm are open to the public and perfect for group visits. Docents are on hand to answer questions during your self-guided tours and there will be extra activities to help students learn about agriculture.
    Hours: Friday, March 4, and Monday, March 14, 9 a.m.-noon
    Where on the fairgrounds: Centennial Farm
    How much: Free admission and parking
    More info: See complete list of dates and reserve your spot at

    Garden Class: Summer Crops, March 5

    Learn about summer vegetables and how to care for them, and plant your own vegetable to take home. A Master Gardener will lead the class. The purpose of the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program is to extend research-based, scientifically accurate information to the public about home horticulture and pest management.
    Hours: Saturday, March 5, 10 a.m.-noon
    Where on the fairgrounds: Silo Building at Centennial Farm
    How much: $6 includes ingredients and handouts.
    More info: Reserve your spot at

    Speaker Series: 54th Coast Artillery Regiment, March 5

    During World War II, an all-Black Coast Artillery Regiment helped protect California’s Central Coast, but their story has been largely forgotten. Military historian Erik Brun talks about the search for more information about this important part of California history. This speaker series is in conjunction with the museum’s newest exhibit, Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in WWII.
    Hours: Saturday, March 5, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
    Where on the fairgrounds: Heroes Hall Museum
    How much: Free admission and parking.
    More info: Registration is required and limited; go to

    Bridal & Wedding Expo, March 6

    Featuring a selection of wedding professionals ready to help brides find the perfect gown, reception venue, invitations, photographer, music, menu, honeymoon destination and more.
    Hours: Sunday, March 6, 12:30-5 p.m.
    Where on the fairgrounds: Costa Mesa Building
    How much: Free admission with advance registration. Parking is $10.
    More info: Visit

    The Original O.C. Swap Meet, March 12 & March 26

    This event was created to provide a space for local small businesses and the community to come together in an outdoor setting. The swap meet showcases products and goods for all to buy and enjoy.
    Hours: Saturdays, March 12 & 26, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
    Where on the fairgrounds: Lot D
    How much: Free admission. Parking is $10.
    More info: Check, email or call (949) 302-0355

    OC Fair Board of Directors meeting, March 24

    OC Fair’s Board of Directors typically meets monthly via Zoom and in person at OC Fair & Event Center. The agenda and location for this meeting will be available later in the month at The public is invited to watch or participate in Board meetings via Zoom or in person. The meetings, which begin at 9:30 a.m., will also be recorded and posted on our website afterward.

    Canning Workshop, March 26

    Make low-calorie strawberry jam in the make it, take it workshop. This class will bring you up to date on the latest process recommendations, teach you how to process your food safely and tell you why you are doing it that way. You will learn what equipment is needed and proper storage methods. A simple recipe will be taught and prepared in class for participants to take home.
    Hours: Saturday, March 26, 10 a.m.-noon
    Where on the fairgrounds: Silo Building at Centennial Farm
    How much: $25 fee includes ingredients and handouts. Bring two half-pint Ball or Kerr canning jars with lids and rings, along with an apron.
    More info: Reserve your spot at

    Ongoing events at OC Fair & Event Center

    Free COVID testing – Open Monday-Friday

    Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
    Where on the fairgrounds: Lot E (corner of Fairview and Arlington; enter at Gate 4)
    More info: Make an appointment online. PCR test results take 24-48 hours.

    Farmers Market – Every Thursday

    Shop local at this OC Farm Bureau-certified farmers market featuring produce, fresh flowers, fish, hummus, honey, hot sauce and more. Some vendors also sell hot food for lunch such as tamales and tacos/burritos.
    Hours: Thursdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
    Where on the fairgrounds: Outdoors in Lot D
    How much: Free admission and parking
    More info: Visit

    Heroes Hall Museum – Open Wednesday-Sunday

    Visit our museum to view the latest exhibits and learn about local veterans. 
    Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
    Where on the fairgrounds: Heroes Hall is next to Centennial Farm
    How much: Free admission and parking
    More info: Visit

    Centennial Farm – Open daily

    Check out our three-acre working farm, which features seasonal crops, farm animals and knowledgeable staff.
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 1-4 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
    Where on the fairgrounds: Centennial Farm is on the south side of our property
    How much: Free admission and parking
    More info: Visit

    Coming up in April

    OC Fair’s Imaginology, April 9-10

    Imaginology is where curious kids and families go to discover and learn all about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) with a variety of exhibits. Limited food options will also be available for purchase. Imaginology was canceled in 2020 but held virtually in 2021. The OC Fair-produced event debuted in 1989 as Youth Expo and was renamed Imaginology in 2014, focusing on STEAM and offering a weekend of free family activities.
    Hours: Saturday & Sunday, April 9-10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
    How much: Free admission. Parking is $10.
    More info: Visit

    Also in April:

    Orange County Wine Fest, April 2-3
    Flying Miz Daisy Outdoor Vintage Market, April 2
    Fight Club OC, April 14
    The Original O.C. Swap Meet, April 23-24
    The SDCCU OC Marathon Running Festival, April 29-May 1

    Go to for more info about events happening in April and beyond.