The Orange County Fair is one of Orange County’s biggest annual events, drawing thousands of people to the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa for food, fun, music, and games.
The OC fair dates are Friday, July 14 to Sunday, August 13, 2023. The theme of the 2023 event is “Happy Together.”
Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s OC Fair from concerts and special events you won’t want to miss to fabulous fair food to feast on to all the ways you can save money with weekly discounts, and more.
Happy Together at the Orange County Fair
Friday, July 14 – August 13, 2023
88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
OC Fair Hours
Wednesday – Thursday: 11 AM – 11 PM
Friday – Sunday: 11 AM – Midnight
Ticket Now On Sale Early 2023
Advance Tickets Required
Kids 5 and under are free
Youth 6-12 and seniors 60+ are $9 everyday
General (ages 13 – 59) $13 Wednesday – Thursday; $15 Friday – Sunday
OC Fair Every Day Passport $60 (Visit every day, limited availability)
Admission is restricted to 45,000 guests per day
Parking is $12 for passengers vehicles, $24 for buses and limos
80 Tickets – $100
40 Tickets – $50
16 Tickets – $20
What To See
Every year, the Orange County Fair features a variety of exciting and diverse exhibits and displays throughout the halls and exhibition buildings. Areas of focus for exhibitions often include:
- Culinary Arts: Chef and food demonstrations, workshops, tastings, and hands on activities, courtyard wine seminars.
- Agriculture: Junior livestock auction and livestock shows, Farm Lounges with educational and interactive displays, and breeding shows and contests.
- Animals: Live animals at Centennial Farm, pig races, and camel dairy shows.
- Garden & Floral: Hands-on farming demonstrations, fruit and veggie competitions, flower arranging and plant competitions, and pop-up shops.
- Explorium: Rainforest Experience, magic show, creativity forner for kids, Pet Vet, kids cooking area, play area for toddlers, and eating contests.
- Crafts & Hobbies: Jewelry, fiber art, woodworking, craft workshops, toy train exhibits, quilting, spinning, painting, beading, gemology, and more.
- Visual Arts: Ceramics, woodcarvers, Japanese Floral arranging, scroll saw art,photo shoot-out, and plein air contest.
- Heroes Hall: Armed Only With A Camera: WW2 Photography of Stanley Troutman, The SAAAB Story, Postcards for troops.
- The Art of Music: Highlights posters, album covers and artwork extolling the intersection of two key American art forms. Also on display will be community fine art and photography entries, home arts, woodworking, agriculture competitions and more.
Shop from a collection of vendors throughout the fair grounds and inside the Carnival of Products, Parade of Products, and Festival Of Products. Sopping areas close at 11:00 p.m. Shoppers can browse and buy a variety of unique goods from kitchen gadgets to hot tubs. View the OC Fair website for a full list of vendors.
What To Do
The OC Fair features food like you’ve never seen or tasted. You could spend the whole day just wandering the fair searching for new treats to try.
Don’t miss nightly food contests on the OC Promenade Stage at 7PM. Three rounds: Ages 5-10, 11-17, and 18+.
A few to try:
- Deep fried hot dog bites from Pink’s Hot Dogs, available in regular or spicy
- Chili Cheese Fry-Topped Blooming Onion from Fresh Frys
- Brisket Mac & Cheese Sandwich from Chuckwagon
- Fried chicken funnel cakes from Dutchmens Funnel Cake
- Fried Humus from Chicken Charlies
- Candy apples and cotton candy tacos from Sweeties and Sweet Dreams
- Chicken sandwiches dipped in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Cap’n Crunch, or syrup made from Kool-Aid
- Cap’n Crunch Funnel Cake
- Hot Cheeto Float
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Play & Ride
The OC Fair Carnival area has two sections: Kidland and Main Carnival. There are over 50 rides and attractions, and many games to try your hand at. Riders will enjoy old classics like the Super Slide and the Tilt-A-Whirl, plus new rides like the Tea Cups, Titan, Ice Jet, and the Circus Train.
- All-Alaskan Racing Pigs
- Chef demos and displays
- Comedic acts and concerts
- Hobby & Art Competitions
- Floral, Visual Arts competition displays
- Livestock shows and auctions
The fair hosts several special events during the fair season. Past years’ special events included:
- OC Brew Hee Haw – Scheduled for July 17-15, 2023
- Monster Truck Nitro Tour – Scheduled for July 19-23, 2023
- Motorhome Madness Demolition Derby – July 26 & 28, 2023
- Orange Crush Demolition Derby – July 27 & 30, 2023
- Damsels of Destruction Demolition Derby – July 29, 2023
- Junior Livestock Auction – July 22, 2023
- Out At The Fair – July 30, 2023
- Annual OC Fair Fun Run 5K – Sunday, August 6, 2023
- City Day Celebrations
- The Courtyard Wine Seminars – Schedule
- OC Fair Barn Wedding
Hours of entertainment awaits at the OC Fair. From concerts with major headliners at the Pacific Amphitheatre to free entertainment on one of five stages to live action in the Action Sports Arena, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
- Grounds entertainment includes performers strolling through the fair grounds.
- Pacific Amphitheatre – Live Concerts, tickets purchased for shows includes fair admission on the day of the event.
- The Hangar – The Hangar features local bands during the day and ticketed events in the evening. Tickets for night time events include admission to the fair on the day of the event. See the 2023 calendar here.
- Baja Bar & Grill– Live Music nights and weekends.
- Meadows Stage – A rotation of Americana and country entertainers and musicians.
- Plaza Pacifica Stage – Daily comedy entertainment and karaoke every night.
- Promenade Stage – Magic, live performers, and community bands, cooking demos, nightly food contests.
- Explorium Stage – A place for kids, this stage includes a magic show, Rainforest Experience, Pet Vet, Creative Corner, and more.
- Action Sports Arena – Moto-X, Monster Trucks, rodeos, derbies, and more! Must buy tickets for these events, ticket purchase includes fair admission on day of the event.
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OC Fair Discounts & Freebies
**Discounted admission days will not be available for 2023**
FREE fair admission is included with all tickets purchased for events in The Pacific Amphitheater, The Hangar, and the Action Sports Arena. Enjoy the fair before and after your event.
2023 OC Fair Promotions
The following promotions have been available in the past.
Enjoy free admission and free parking from Noon to 3:00 p.m. on Opening Day.
Active Military & Veterans
Military members and veterans receive free admission every day and may purchase an additional six general admission tickets at half price. A valid military ID is required at the time of purchase.
First Responders & Law Enforcement
During the week of August 7 – 11, first responders and law enforcement personnel will receive free admission with the option to purchase up to four general admission tickets at half off. A valid agency ID is required to receive the discounted admission.
We Care Wednesdays
Pitch in and bring a requested donation to public entrances at the Blue, Yellow, or Green Gates on We Care Wednesdays and receive free general admission and one free carnival ride. This offer is only valid from Noon to 3:00 p.m. and tickets must be used on the day of the donation.
Bring your ticket stub from San Diego County Fair, Riverside County Fair, San Bernardino County Fair, or Ventura County Fairand receive on free admission to the OC Fair. Save your OC Fair stub to receive free admission to the 2020 Riverside County Fair in February.
Kids ages 5 – 11 can earn three free carnival rides by reading two books and completing book report forms. Turn the completed forms in to the Kidland Information Booth during fair hours to redeem your tickets.
Kids Day Thursdays
Free fair admission for all kids 12 and under all day on Thursdays.
Taste Of Fair Food
From Noon to 4:00 on Thursdays enjoy samples of select fair foods for only $3.
Seniors 60 and over receive $5 fair admission and free rides on the ferris wheel and merry go round all day Friday.
On Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. enjoy half price general admission. On Sundays, purchase a $35 ride wristband to to get one ride on Titan and Unlimited rides on all other rides until 4:00 p.m. Wristbands sold until 1:00.
OC Fair Tips
- Enter competitions and get free admission.
- Work at the OC Fair & Event Center and get free fair admission plus friends and family passes at a deep discount.
- Buy an OC Fair Super Pass early and get admission to the OC Fair for every day plus get discount show tickets, express entry and much more.
- Food can be expensive, eat before you go.
- Bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and snacks.
- Water bottles are allowed if factory sealed.
- The Centennial Farm, the Explorium (Kid Zone), acrobatic & hypnotists shows, arts exhibits, Culinary Exhibits, Reptile House, Pet Center, 4H exhibits, water area, garden and farm area are all free!
- Avoid the crowds and try to go during non-peak times.
OC Fair Map
Download and print the OC Fair Maps.
OC Fair Property Map with Legend (image)
OC Fair Property Map with Legend (pdf)
OC Fair Facility Map (image)
OC Fair Facility Map (pdf)
|Orange County Fair & Event Center||Pacific Amphitheatre|
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Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.