Orange County’s largest community fair, the OC Fair, will return this year with new additions to its attractions and entertainment. This year’s theme “Feel the Sunshine” welcomes the community and highlights the summertime bliss of the season.
The OC Fair dates back to 1890 when it started as a small community event with a horse race and small exhibits. Now the fair is a 23-day festival that takes place at the OC Fair & Event Center, which spans 130 acres and is packed with carnival games, rides, exhibits, food and live entertainment from the mid-July to mid-August.
While the OC Fair drew 1.393 million visitors in 2019, the year before the pandemic hit the United States hard, the fair is limiting capacity to 45,000 guests per day due to COVID-19. This capacity limit was put in place in 2021 after the fair had to cancel in 2020 for the first time since World War II.
Before you leave
Tickets must be purchased online in advance and will not be sold at the door; tickets can be purchased at ocfair.com/oc-fair/buy-tickets/.
As for updated health procedures, face masks are strongly recommended inside OC Fair buildings, enhanced disinfection has been implemented in high-touch areas, and employees have undergone training. additional health and safety.
OC Show 2022
Appointment: July 15 to August 14
Time: 11am-11pm Wednesday and Thursday 11am-midnight Friday-Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday
Location: OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa
Tickets: $5 to $14. General admission tickets are $12 on weekdays and $14 on weekends; tickets for seniors 60 or older and children 6-12 are $7 daily. Parking is $10 for cars and motorbikes and $20 for buses and limos
Information: (714) 708-1500, ocfair.com
“It’s very similar to last year, we’ve continued to increase our disinfection process and we’re a GBAC STAR certified event center,” said Terry Moore, director of communications at OC Fair & Event Center. “This means we have passed the highest training in contamination and virus management protocols.”
GBAC STAR stands for Global Biorisk Advisory Council, which is a division of the International Sanitary Supply Association, also known as ISSA.
The OC Fair has also shifted to more contactless technology, such as contactless bag checks that can detect nefarious objects such as weapons, and cashless sales for things like food and parking, according to Moore.
The 45,000-person capacity limit includes guests who purchased tickets to the Pacific Amphitheater, Hangar and Action Sports Arena, as those tickets include same-day show admission.
“Last year 17 of our 23 days were sold out, it was the first time we limited our capacity, and we are doing the same this year,” Moore said. “It just gives people a much better experience; it’s not as crowded, parking isn’t as difficult, the impact on our neighbors isn’t as severe, everyone has a little more wiggle room, and the queues are shorter.
Carissa Nguyen, 24, from Irvine, said her family has been going to the OC Fair almost every year since she was 4. Nguyen said the fair has always been a fun summer activity for her whole family, as there are a variety of different aspects that attract people from all age groups.
“I’m glad to see it’s back, but I will definitely still take precautions to avoid catching COVID like wearing a mask,” Nguyen said.
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To see and do
The Pacific Amphitheater, owned and operated by the OC Fair & Event Center, will host the 2022 Toyota Summer Concert Series. The following acts are scheduled:
- July 15th : Kool & the Gang with The Family Stone
- July 16: Trevor Noah
- July 17: Happy Together Tour, with The Turtles, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, The Association, The Buckinghams, The Vogues and The Cowsills
- July 20: Live to Rock Tour, featuring Skid Row, Quiet Riot, Warrant and Kip Winger
- July 21: Lindsey Stirling and Mako
- 22nd of July : Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
- July 23: ABBA LA and Bee Gees Gold (tribute bands)
- July 24: Island Empire Festival, with Sammy Johnson, Fiji, Anuhea, Arise Roots, Eli-Mac, Analea Brown and Lea Love
- July 27: Counting Crows and David Rosales and his band of scoundrels
- July 28: The Offspring, Agent Orange and Love Canal
- July 29: Brett Eldredge and Nate Smith
- July 30: CNCO and Maria Jose
- July 31 : J Boog & The Green, The Expendables and FIA
- August 3: Three Dog Night and The Grass Roots
- August 4: Jim Gaffigan
- August 5 and 6: Rebelution, Steel Pulse, Denm and DJ Mackle
- August 7: Tribute bands: Sweet & Tender Hooligans (The Smiths and Morrissey), Devotional (Depeche Mode) and Substance (New Order)
- August 10: The Perry Band, Lindsay Ell and The Joy Reunion
- August 11: Maxwell
- August 12: Smoke Robinson
- August 13: Tribute band: The Fab Four (The Beatles)
- August 14: Psychedelic furs and X
Additional groups are scheduled for dates after the OC Fair closes.
Tickets range from $20 to $150 and can be purchased here.
The Hangar is an aeronautical-style show and event center located in the central-north section of the fairgrounds. Most of these performances are by various tribute bands, paying homage to famous artists, unless otherwise noted. The following acts are scheduled in this place:
- July 15th : Don’t Look Back (Boston)
- July 16: Led Zepplica (Led Zeppelin)
- July 17: I Am King (Michael Jackson)
- July 20: The Party of the Dead (Oingo Boingo & Danny Elfman)
- July 21: Elton – The Early Years (Elton John)
- 22nd of July : Wild Child (Jim Morrison and the Doors)
- July 23: Which is pink? (PinkFloyd)
- July 24: LA Sound Machine (Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine)
- July 27: The Cured (The Cured)
- July 28: Magic 24K (Bruno Mars)
- July 29: Dog N Papillon (Heart)
- July 30: Twisted Gypsy (Fleetwood Mac)
- July 31 : STYXology (STYX)
- August 3: Small or Not (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)
- August 4: The long term (The Eagles)
- 5 August : No Duh (No Doubt and Gwen Stefani)
- August 6: Unauthorized travel (travel)
- August 7: Flashback Heart Attack (80s new wave music)
- August 10 and 11: Queen Nation (Queen)
- August 12: Devotional (Depeche Mode)
- August 13: Noise pollution (AC/DC)
- August 14: Mariachi Sol from Mexico *not a tribute band
Tickets are around $20 and can be purchased on the OC Fair website.
The Action Sports Arena will host its eighth annual OC Brew Hee Haw Craft Beer Gathering on July 15-16, featuring a performance by American rockabilly band Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys. The arena will also feature the Monster Truck Nitro Tour, demolition derbies and speedway motorcycle racing and freestyle stunt shows.
Carnival games and rides
Unlimited Ride Carnival Wristbands are returning this year and can be purchased online. The wristband allows unlimited rides and two free games. It can only be used on Wednesdays and Thursdays, must be redeemed by 5 p.m., and unlimited rides end at 8 p.m.
Individual ride and game tickets are $1.25 each and can be purchased online in 16, 40 and 80 ticket bundles. Additionally, carnival tickets can be purchased on the FunPass app.
Food and drinks
A mix of unique fair dishes and carnival classics will be available at the OC Fair. Some unique items are Chicken Charlies Kool-Aid Chicken Sandwich, Fried a Fair Fried Nutella, and Papi’s Puffy Tacos Puffy Taquitos. Additionally, classic items like corn dogs, funnel cake, and turkey legs will be available from vendors like Hot Dog on a Stick, Dutchmen’s Funnel Cakes, and Backyard BBQ Village.
The Wine Courtyard will offer award-winning wine tastings and seminars. Beer will be sold throughout the fair, but Baja Blues and Hussong’s Cantina are known for their bar selections and atmospheres.
Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the OC Fair offers $4 Food Tastings where patrons can taste sample-sized dishes from more than 80 vendors.
Returning attractions like the Great American Petting Farm, magician Frank Thurston, All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, Dragon Knights stilt walkers, hypnotist Mark Yuzuik and Blue Ribbon contest winners will be included in this year’s fair.
The OC Fair has a tradition of hosting competitions in visual arts, home arts and hobbies, table setting, horticulture, animal husbandry, culinary arts, wine and youth competitions . Guests were invited to submit entries for over 20 competitions such as Market Livestock, Fresh Flowers, Sugar Arts and Confectionery, Fine Arts, Photography and Crafts.
Nguyen said she was glad the fair was back after its hiatus in 2020 so she could enjoy seeing all of the competition’s shows and exhibits. She submitted her own knitwear to the 2019 OC Fair Home Arts and Hobby competition in the hand-knit garment subcategory and won the staff choice award.
“I had been knitting for four years at the time, so I wanted to challenge myself and knit something for fair competition,” Nguyen said.
The California Fresh Expo, located on OC Drive on the Fairgrounds, celebrates the state’s diverse specialty cultures by educating consumers. There will be an augmented reality treasure hunt game, crafts for children, recipe cards and cooking demonstrations.
For more information, tickets and maps, visit ocfair.com and download the OC Fair app.
Jessica Choi is an arts and culture intern at Voice of OC. She can be contacted at [email protected]
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