Your Guide to the OC Fair in Costa Mesa, CA

The Orange County Fair is an annual event that offers a taste of Southern California's vibrant culture and lifestyle. The event has already begun and will be going on until August 13th this year. As always, the fair takes place at the OC Fairgrounds & Event Center in Costa Mesa.
Photo by Chris Chatham on Unsplash

The Orange County Fair is an annual event that offers a taste of Southern California’s vibrant culture and lifestyle. The event has already begun and will be going on until August 13th this year. As always, the fair takes place at the OC Fairgrounds & Event Center in Costa Mesa. Here, you can expect to enjoy a wide variety of activities, shows, and attractions. From thrilling amusement rides and games to art exhibits, agricultural competitions, shopping, and live music, the fair has something for everyone.

Please note: The fair is not open every day, so here is a link to the general information, days open, and hours:

Free Events

The Orange County Fair provides an assortment of free events for visitors of all ages. You can dance to the rhythm of live music performed on the main stage, featuring an array of local and national artists. For those who love animals, the fair offers various animal shows, including livestock exhibits, equestrian displays, and petting zoos. Kids can enjoy a host of fun-filled activities, while those interested in learning can explore educational exhibits about agriculture, horticulture, and crafts. Lastly, foodies can watch live food demonstrations, where they can pick up a few culinary skills and recipes.

Paid Shows

The Orange County Fair also hosts an array of paid shows that promise to be worth every penny. Music lovers can experience concerts at the Pacific Amphitheatre, where big-name artists and bands perform. Those who love action-packed events can head to the Del Mar Arena for exciting rodeos, showcasing some of the best riders in the region. And, if you’re up for some smashing fun, don’t miss out on the OC Fair Demolition Derby – a crowd favorite where vehicles collide in a thrilling display of power and strategy.


What’s a fair without mouthwatering food? The Orange County Fair offers a wide variety of indulgent delights. Be sure to try the deep-fried Oreos, a sweet, decadent treat that will leave you wanting more. Enjoy traditional churros, coated with sugar and served hot. The classic corn dogs and fluffy, sweet funnel cakes are also must-tries. And don’t forget the cream puffs, filled with sweet, rich cream – a perfect way to round off your food adventure. Or Lane’s favorite: Roasted Corn on the Cob!

Animal Lovers

The Fair provides the chance to meet a broad range of animals, from the common to the more exotic. The Centennial Farm, a three-acre working farm on the grounds, introduces visitors to agricultural life and the raising of livestock such as pigs, cows, and chickens. Visitors can also watch milking demonstrations, which are a wonderful educational experience, especially for children. The Millennium Barn offers up-close interactions with different farm animals, which can be both a fun and educational experience for all ages. The Oasis Camel Dairy Show, a unique feature of the fair, is always a crowd favorite with its engaging camel milk and cheese-making demonstrations. From animal petting to learning about agriculture and dairy production, the Orange County Fair’s animal attractions cater to everyone’s interests, making your visit truly memorable.

Exhibits to See

The Orange County Fair is not just about fun and games, but also about learning and exploring. The fair provides an assortment of interactive and educational exhibits that cater to a wide array of interests. Visitors can wander through the Visual Arts Gallery, where they can appreciate the creative talents of local artists across various mediums. The Culinary Arts area hosts live demonstrations, cooking contests, and provides a glimpse into the county’s vibrant food culture. The Crafts & Woodworking section showcases exquisite handmade creations, while the Gems & Minerals exhibit enlightens visitors on the various gems and minerals found around the world. For those interested in horticulture, the Garden & Floral section is a must-visit, offering a tranquil space filled with beautiful and rare plants. Additionally, the fair also showcases a variety of student exhibits, encouraging the younger generation’s creativity and innovative spirit. With these exhibits, the Orange County Fair fosters a rich and diverse learning environment for all its visitors.

Where to Shop

The fair offers an expansive and diverse marketplace, presenting unique opportunities to find one-of-a-kind items. With over 200 vendors, it’s the perfect place to find everything from handmade crafts to innovative gadgets, from apparel to home decor. Several stalls display locally made products, supporting the community’s artisans and entrepreneurs. The Meadows and the Green Gate areas are known for their numerous commercial vendors, providing a wide range of goods and services. If you’re in the mood for some bargain hunting, make sure to visit the Plaza Pacifica for its exciting daily deals. Don’t miss the Carnival of Products for quirky finds, or the OC Promenade for custom merchandise and souvenirs to remember your day at the fair. Indeed, shopping at the Orange County Fair is a fun-filled adventure that offers something for everyone.


To ensure you have the best experience at the Orange County Fair, here are a few handy tips:

  • Purchase your tickets online in advance. Not only will this save you time from standing in line, but it also often saves you money.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking around the expansive fairgrounds.
  • Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a hat. The Southern California sun can get quite intense during the day.
  • Save money on rehydrating by bringing a refillable water bottle.
  • To avoid large crowds, try to arrive early.
  • Make a plan in advance, so you can see and do everything you want.

Helpful Links

To help you plan your visit to the Orange County Fair, here are some useful links:

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the Orange County Fair is a vibrant and fun-filled event that captures the spirit of Southern California. So mark your calendars and get ready for an unforgettable experience.


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