Orange County Fair (California)

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Orange County Fair
OC Fair 2008-2.jpg
The midway of the Orange County Fair in 2008.
LocationOC Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, California, United States
Coordinates33°40′0″N 117°54′4″W / 33.66667°N 117.90111°W / 33.66667; -117.90111Coordinates: 33°40′0″N 117°54′4″W / 33.66667°N 117.90111°W / 33.66667; -117.90111
Opened1890, 1919, 1946, 2021
Closed1916, 1941, 2019
Operating seasonOpens mid-July, concluding mid-August.
16 July – 15 August 2021 (23 days, closed Mondays/Tuesdays).
Visitors per year1 million+
WebsiteOC Fair
StatusOperating

The Orange County Fair, abbreviated as the OC Fair, is a 23-day annual fair that is held every summer at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California. The 2021 OC Fair is from July 16 to August 15.

History[edit]

The fair first took place in the year 1890 and consisted of some minor exhibits in Santa Ana and a horse race.[1] From 1890 to 1894 the fair was run by the Orange County Community Fair Corporation, but was then taken over by the Orange County Fair Association, Inc. Early fairs mainly consisted of horse races and livestock shows, but around 1900 new carnival-like attractions were added and the fair become a yearly occurrence. The fair was located in Santa Ana, except for a brief interval after World War I, when it was moved to Huntington Beach.[1]

Costa Mesa Skyline

Starting in 1916, the fair was managed by the Orange County Farm Bureau. An Orange County Fair Board was elected in 1925, and the fair was moved to Anaheim with the addition of a rodeo and carnival. From 1932 to 1939, the fair was located in Pomona, California as part of a combined Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside County Fair.[2] Following World War II the 32nd District Agricultural Association was formed by the state of California, and it took on the task of running the fair. The state purchased land from the Santa Ana Army Air Base and set some of it aside for use as a new fairgrounds. In 1949 the fair became a five-day-long event and was relocated to the old army base, which quickly became the permanent location.

The city of Costa Mesa was incorporated in 1953 with the fair residing in its boundaries. The fairgrounds' 150 acres has been the home of the fair ever since 1949 and has expanded to an annual 23 day summer event.[3]

On April 27, 2020 for the first time in 75 years, the 2020 fair was cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; come 2021, hand sanitisers will be installed within the premises, to prevent this and other diseases from spreading, plus social distancing & wearing masks will be adhered to. Anyone who bought tickets/passes for the 2020 fair may hold on to them in 2021. It was also cancelled in 1917–18 & 1942–45.

Fairground sale[edit]

In May 2009, then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recommended the Orange County Fairgrounds be listed for sale. He had decided the fairgrounds were "surplus or underutilized" assets,[3] although the Fair hosts more than one million visitors each year and is utilized virtually every day of the week with multiple community activities. OC Weekly reported, "What followed was a story of deception by a small group in a position of power within the fairgrounds hierarchy. Through various contractual agreements between people of wealth and power, a move was made to privatize that public land in what members of the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society call one of the largest, most deliberate land grabs in the county's long history of land grabs."[3] The Preservation Society quickly stepped in to halt the sale. They contended that the OC legislators in Sacramento had been remiss in intervening to stop the transaction, that the proposed deal to sell public land was both "Ill-advised and illegal."[3] Both the Del Mar Fairgrounds and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum were saved by just such an intervention by the legislators.[3]

A public auction was held, but before any sales agreements could be signed, there were two lawsuits filed and the sale was stopped. The Preservation Society, and Tel Phil Enterprises filed in the Court of Appeal and asked that the new governor Jerry Brown have the sale categorically dismissed. Lawsuits by two former building commissioners that Schwarzenegger had fired, however, stalled the proposed sale long enough for incoming Governor Brown to have the final word.[4]

OCFEC Board of Directors response[edit]

After a closed session on January 27, 2011, the OCFEC Board of Directors issued the following policy statement regarding the sale of the fairgrounds:

We believe that the 32nd District Agricultural Association and Orange County Fair belong in public hands. As such, the Board of Directors have instructed its Sale Committee to engage with the Governor's office in a meaningful negotiation regarding revenue sharing as a possible way to work with the State in the financial crisis that we're experiencing.[5]

On February 8, 2011, the 32nd District Agricultural Association sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown, which can be viewed as a PDF at the site.[6]

Gubernatorial response[edit]

In February 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown told the Los Angeles Times, "This is not the best time to be selling real estate. I think we have time to consider what we ought to do with that." He also said that his predecessor's plan, rather than helping California's budget crisis, would "have cost taxpayers far more in the long run."[4] Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) stated that Brown's comments were "a good sign."[4]

Attendance[edit]

The Orange County Fair is the 9th-largest fair in the United States.[7]

Year Attendance
2020 0
2019 1,393,482[8]
2018 1,470,636[9]
2017 1,334,000[10]
2016 1,344,996[11]
2015 1,301,445[12]
2014 1,337,167[13]
2012 1,300,000[14]
2011 1,400,280[15]
2010 1,135,536[16]
2009 1,070,061[17]
2008 1,062,673[17]
2007 1,090,653
2006 924,315
2005 1,058,192
2004 963,984
2003 881,596
2002 898,197
2001 843,347
2000 808,810
1999 724,561
1998 723,061
1997 785,944

Climate[edit]

The Fairground in Costa Mesa has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb), that is nearly perfect for its many outdoor activities.

Climate data for Costa Mesa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 64
(18)
64
(18)
64
(18)
66
(19)
79
(26)
82
(28)
85
(29)
90
(32)
86
(30)
86
(30)
68
(20)
64
(18)
68
(20)
Average low °F (°C) 44
(7)
50
(10)
51
(11)
54
(12)
57
(14)
60
(16)
63
(17)
64
(18)
63
(17)
54
(12)
42
(6)
38
(3)
56
(13)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.60
(66)
2.54
(65)
2.25
(57)
.70
(18)
.18
(4.6)
.08
(2.0)
.02
(0.51)
.09
(2.3)
.30
(7.6)
.28
(7.1)
1.02
(26)
1.59
(40)
11.65
(296)
Source: Weather Channel[18]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "OC Fair & Event Center : History". Ocfair.com. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  2. ^ Berg, Tom (July 12, 2015). "Deep-Fried Fun". The Orange County Register. pp. News 1, 4–5.
  3. ^ a b c d e Chasen Marshall (March 17, 2011). "Fair Games Over the OC Fairgrounds - Page 1 - News - Orange County". OC Weekly. Archived from the original on March 20, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c "California Budget Crisis | Jerry Brown cancels sale of state properties planned to help address California's budget crisis - Los Angeles Times". Latimes.com. February 10, 2011. Archived from the original on March 4, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  5. ^ "OC Fair & Event Center : Announcements". Ns.ocfair.com. January 27, 2011. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  6. ^ http://www.ocfair.com/ocf/020811LettertotheGovernor.pdf
  7. ^ Volpe, Michael (July 26, 2010). "Rumors of Fair's Death Are Greatly Exaggerated". Orange County Business Journal. 33 (30): 46.
  8. ^ "OC Fair Marks 3rd-Best Attendance". My News LA. August 12, 2019. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  9. ^ "2018 OC Fair sets attendance records and gives back to the community". OC Fair. August 13, 2018. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Casiano, Jr., Louis (August 16, 2017). "OC Fair 2017: Attendance slightly down, but survey shows more guests satisfied". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on August 21, 2017. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  11. ^ Boessenkool, Antonie (August 16, 2016). "Bidding Fair-Well". The Orange County Register. p. Local 1. Archived from the original on August 30, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  12. ^ "OC Fair's "One Big Party" Ends With 15,000 Deep Fried Coffee Balls, $3,200 Worth Of Caviar Twinkies, 33 Sold-Out Events & 17 Piglets" (Press release). Orange County Fair. July 17, 2015. Archived from the original on October 4, 2015. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  13. ^ "2014 OC Fair Welcomes More Than 1.3 Million Fairgoers Distributes 435,000 Carnival Plushes & Devours 1,600 Pounds of Watermelon" (Press release). Costa Mesa, California: Orange County Fair. August 12, 2014. Archived from the original on August 13, 2014. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  14. ^ Martindale, Scott (August 12–13, 2012). "OC Fair attendance down slightly to 1.3 million". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  15. ^ Quick, Sonya (August 14, 2011). "Record crowds eat through the OC Fair". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  16. ^ Irving, Doug (August 16, 2010). "OC Fair breaks attendance record". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  17. ^ a b Luna, Nancy (August 9, 2009). "Visitors flock to OC Fair's finale". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on August 13, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  18. ^ "Average weather for Costa Mesa". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Epting, Chris (2015). The Orange County Fair. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press. ISBN 978-1-62619-802-9.

External links[edit]