The OC Fair & Event Center is an entertainment destination that offers exciting events all year round. The Orange County Fair is the most popular event, held here every summer during July and August. Last year, the event welcomed a whopping 1.4 million visitors.
But the fairgrounds is more than just carnival rides and roasted corn. Centennial Farm hosts the ever-popular weekly Orange County Market Place – the go-to swap meet where you’ll find everything you need (and all the things you didn’t know you needed) including fresh produce, furniture, clothing, gifts, and more. The grounds also houses the resident farm animals and Heroes Hall, a museum dedicated to honoring Orange County Veterans. The Hangar is a performance and event venue and the action sports arena, well, you can catch action sports events like rodeos, motorcycle races, and demolition derbies.
Keep reading for a complete run down of the OC Fair & Event Center, the venues, and the upcoming events passing through.
The big red barn at Centennial Farm is a family favorite. The 3-acre working farm offers year-round educational programs for the public and local schools and youth groups. The farm is open to the public for free, self-guided exploration during select hours – generally Monday through Friday from 1 pm to 4 pm and on the weekends from 9 am to 4 pm. The farm is subject to closure during other events at the fairgrounds. Visitors can explore the gardens and make friends with the animals. Guests will find oxen, pigs, chickens, sheep, and more at the farm and spring time is always a hit when the new babies begin making their appearances. Can’t get enough? Check out the live pig cam for a 24/7 visual.
Admission is free so you can come in anytime between 11am and 5pm Wednesday through Sunday to explore the exhibits and education center. Pay tribute to local veterans, view the A-4M Skyhawk, see a performance, or even volunteer. The choice is yours, but don’t miss out on this important community museum set in a renovated Santa Ana Army Air Base barracks building from 1942. Exhibits vary and rotate. Currently on display – Fighting On The Home Front: Propaganda Posters of World War II.
Pacific Amphitheatre is a 7,800+ seat concert venue on-site at the OC Fair & Event Center. Due to the proximity to local residences, the venue is restricted to events during the summer only, with the kick-off concert on the 4th of July. Most performances take place during the summer run of the OC Fair, but generally continue through the beginning of September. Admission to the fair is included with Pacific Amp tickets on the day of the event. See more info and history of Pacific Amphitheatre here.
The Action Sports Arena operates primarily during fair season, but there are a handful of other events that take place here in other months. During the fair, you can get tickets to events like Monster X Tour, Demolition Derbies, Extreme Rodeo, and more. Outside of fair season, check out Costa Mesa Speedway’s Harley Nights and Freestyle Motocross Invitational events.
The Hangar hosts live music performances on a smaller scale than Pacific Amp. OC Fair visitors can see a full lineup of musicians here during the summer, plus there are a variety of events that occur here throughout the year.
OC Fair & Event Center Campground
That’s right. There’s a campground at the event center with full amenities. Plenty of room for trailers and RVs for individuals and groups. Features include full hook-ups, picnic area, pet and family friendly, and access to Centennial Farm and Heroes Hall.
The Equestrian Center
There is an equestrian center at the OC Fair & Event Center with barns and stables. A variety of professional services and programs are available here. Please call for more information.
Obviously, this is the biggest event of the year. 2019’s Acres of Fun drew an audience of over 1.4 million. At the annual OC Fair, guests can see all of the above (some with an additional purchase), plus experience special events, ride all the carnival rides, wander through the exhibit halls, max out on fair food, and check out the 4-H animals. The 2020 Fair, All For Fun, kicks off on July 17th and runs through August 16th.
Imaginology is a STEAM event held every spring that gives families the opportunity to dive into the world of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. The free event features science fair displays, 4-H Club activities, cultural arts festivals, hands-on activities, vendor booths, and so much more. This event is always a hit especially with the 10 and under crowd.
Winter Fest OC transforms the OC Fair & Event center into a winter wonderland from mid-December through the beginning of January every year. Complete with a festival of lights, carnival rides, a 9-lane tubing slide, giant walk-through Christmas tree, snow-play area, and outdoor skating rink, it is one of the biggest winter events in the county. The nightly parade with fireworks and tree lighting keep you feeling festive, and Santa and his reindeer do nightly flyover through Christmas Eve. You can even ring in the New Year at Winter Fest. Twice. Once at 6pm and again at midnight.
The Orange County Market Place is one of OCs favorite shopping destinations for everything from home goods to fresh produce. Vendors from all over the region bring a plethora of unique goods to offer the masses including artwork, clothing, spas, and more. The year-round market has been taking over the fairgrounds since 1969 and runs every weekend from 8am – 4pm. Note that there is no marketplace during OC Fair season in July and August.
Every Thursday from 9am – 1pm, local vendors set up to sell honey, produce, flowers, fish, and more. The OC Farm Bureau certified farmers market offers free admission and free parking and is located near gates 2 and 4.
|The Orange County Fair||Winter Fest OC|
|Sporting Events In Orange County||Taste of Orange County Events|
|Winter Events||Veterans Day Events in Orange County|
Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, an expert at exploring all that Orange County has to offer, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.