Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

COSTA MESA – It’s summer and the annual OC Fair is returning on July 19 for its full 23-day run, bringing the fun through Aug. 18. The theme is “Always a Good Time!”

The fairgrounds’ team is working hard to make sure that kids and families have plenty of opportunities to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Rides are rolling in, gigantic stuffed animals are taking their places in game booths, farm animals are getting gussied up and entertainers are polishing up their acts for fairgoers.

It’s time to get tickets and plan this summer’s OC Fair adventure. Advance ticket purchase is required – no transaction fees – and daily capacity is limited; visit ocfair.com or download the OC Fair 2024 mobile app. Days will sell out – don’t miss out!

What’s happening at the Fair?

So many activities and things to see are free with Fair admission. Even the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, The Great American Petting Farm and the Orange County Sand and Sea Exhibit are free!

Things to do

For kids of all ages, Explorium returns to OC Promenade with new and special activities designed to help everyone learn about the unique Orange County coastline at the Sand and Sea exhibit. Visitors explore sea life in a touch tank and take a deep dive with virtual reality.

Ever dreamed of singing with a real band? You can do it at the OC Fair! Venture over to Live Band Karaoke in Plaza Pacifica to take the microphone or just be entertained each evening.

Fairgoers can meet the OC Fair’s costumed characters, the beloved Foodies! Strawberry Jan, Olivia Orange, Sunny Lemon, Carl Cotton Candy and Cornelious Corn are out at various times during the day and are happy to take photos with fairgoers. Too cute!

The Magic of Frank Thurston brings laughs and surprises to the OC Promenade stage daily. Kids can even participate in the show!

What’s more fun than a classic pie-eating contest? Contestants can try to be the fastest to chow down a Knott’s Berry Farm boysenberry pie slice or dig into a juicy hunk of watermelon to win a prize.

Insider tip: Carnival tickets and wristbands are available online for a discount through July 18. The Read and Ride program offers kids 5-11 two free rides in Kidland for reading three books and filling out the online form.

Things to see

All-Alaskan Racing Pigs will be back on their track in Plaza Pacifica – fairgoers can cheer on their favorites as the little porkers cavort around the course.

In the Livestock area, there are more animals to teach and entertain. Displays will feature pygmy goats, llamas, global livestock, urban chickens and miniature donkeys.

At Centennial Farm, the resident animal educators will teach visitors about farm life and fairgoers can check out California crops. Learn about beekeeping, gardening and growing rare fruit.

Action Sports Arena is back with comedy hypnotism, demolition derbies, monster trucks and BMX bike shows. The new Chris Mabrey Comedy Hypnotist show is free with Fair admission.

Local residents showcase their talents and attempt to take home coveted OC Fair blue ribbons in categories like photography, fine art, woodworking, floral arrangements, table-setting, cake decorating and growing flowers, vegetables and fruit. Check out the competitions in Visual Arts, Home Arts and OC Promenade. Some entries are still open, visit ocfair.com for more information.

Things to eat and drink

The popular Taste of the Fair is back and better than ever with smaller-size food options for just $5 every day until 4 p.m. View the menus here.

Creative concessionaires are cooking up some typically outrageous Fair food so guests looking for something new will not be disappointed. Feeling brave? Try a Dr. Pepper Pickle Soda or Bacon Churro Fries.

Fairgoers will also enjoy their favorites, including classic funnel cakes, serious BBQ, deep-fried treats, cinnamon rolls, family-sized pizza, exotic floats, ice cream and everything on a stick. There are many options suitable for sharing.

Adults looking for a break can hit The Courtyard, where award-winning OC Fair wines and a variety of others are served in a shady spot.

Insider tip: Bring reusable containers to take along extras or purchase take-and-bake options like cookies, pizza and cheesy bread to enjoy more Fair food at home.

Things to hear

Local talent is on display on community stages every day and night of the Fair. Watch friends, neighbors and up-and-coming performers give it all they’ve got. Look for acoustic music, rock performances, country music, dance groups and more.

There’s music every night coming from the shows in The Hangar and fairgoers can dance and sing along, enjoying the party in the Main Mall.

Pacific Amphitheatre is home to amazing shows under the stars. Performances include comedian Trevor Noah, concerts by The Fab Four & The Monkee Men, Stray Cats, Walker Hayes and Kool & the Gang.

In The Hangar, tribute bands Red Corvette, Twisted Gypsy, No Duh and The Long Run join Embajadores del Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez over the course of the Fair.

Tickets are available now for all shows at ocfair.com.

Key things to know about the 2024 OC Fair – July 19-Aug. 18

  • A limited number of tickets are available each day – dates will sell out
  • Advance online ticket sales are required – no transaction fees
  • Tickets are good only for the date purchased; please choose days carefully – no refunds
  • With the Every Day Passport fairgoers can enjoy the Fair any day or every day for $60 with no restrictions or blackout dates – quantities are limited
  • Same-day Fair admission is included with tickets to performances during the Fair
  • OC Fair schedule
  • 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday
  • 11 a.m. – midnight Friday & Saturday
  • General admission tickets – no fees: $13 weekdays (Wednesday, Thursday) and $15 weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Tickets for seniors (60+) and youth (ages 6-12) are $9 every day and children 5 and younger are always free.

Special deals

  • Every Day Passports give fairgoers access to the Fair any day or every day for $60 – while supplies last. No restrictions or blackout days!
  • Purchase carnival tickets and wristbands online in advance until opening day at discounted prices.
  • $5 Taste of Fair is now every day until 4 p.m. Fairgoers can enjoy taste-size portions of Fair food favorites for only $5 each.

Free with OC Fair admission

  • Exhibits and demonstrations – check out blue-ribbon winners, explore handcrafts and woodworking, marvel at large-scale album-cover art and get great tips from chefs during culinary demos
  • Visit the Art of Music Experience to wander through more than 150 hand-painted recreations, neon and displays, a themed cocktail lounge, a pop-up record store or participate in one of the many interactive experiences
  • Performances on community stages and nightly fun – see local talent, sing karaoke with a live band, catch a show in Baja Bar & Grill and dance in La Cantina
  • Animal experiences – visit Centennial Farm’s animal educators, All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, livestock displays and Great American Petting Farm
  • New – hypnotist Chris Mabrey performs free in Action Sports Arena, Aug. 7-11

Ticketed performances

Shows in Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena are on sale now – some performances are selling out. Shows start July 9 and run through Sept. 14. More information is at ocfair.com/entertainment. Please arrive early to avoid traffic

The 2024 OC Fair mobile app is now available with information on daily activities as well as a map, news & information and tickets. Search for “OCFair 2024” in your app store

More information is at ocfair.com/thefair.

Got questions? Check out our FAQs.

About the OC Fair & Event Center

OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California, is home to the annual OC Fair. Year-round attractions include Centennial Farm, Table of Dignity, Heroes Hall and Pacific Amphitheatre. OC Fair & Event Center also hosts year-round events. For more information, visit ocfair.com.

Support of OC Fair & Event Center provides year-round educational opportunities and helps fund community give-back programs.



author avatar
Editor
The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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