Guide To The 2017 O.C. Fair
One of Orange County’s most beloved summer traditions, the O.C. Fair, returns this summer with more excitement than ever before. Filled with live concerts, delicious fair foods and carnival rides galore, this nearly month-long event is perfect for date night, family outings or a day out with friends. Over the last century, the fair has continued to grow, now welcoming millions of visitors every year.
The Orange County Fair
88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Dates/Times & Admission
July 14 – August 13, 2017
Wednesday – Fridays: 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Monday – Tuesday: ClosedTicket Information
From deep-fried goodies to meat-filled meals, fairs are known for their food—and the OC Fair is no different. In fact, the O.C. Fair is known for their unique creations. Expect to find some new things to nosh on this year, including a five-pound barbecued pig leg, bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts, fried peanut butter meatballs, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos pizza, fried octopus on a stick and the Unicorn Nitro Pop, which features a ring of cotton candy around a cup of kettle corn and whipped cream dipped in liquid nitrogen. Old favorites like Hawaiian chicken bowls, burgers, grilled corn, crepes and ice cream will also be for sale. On Thursdays, from noon to 4 p.m., visitors can also taste their way through the fair with a $3 sampling program that includes things like funnel cake, tacos, gelato, lemonade and more.
OC Fair Entertainment Schedule
Events At The Pacific Amphitheatre
While performances at The Pacific Amphitheatre require separate tickets in addition to fair admission, you won’t want to miss the fantastic acts gracing the stage this year, including Lynyrd Skynyrd, The B-52s, Slightly Stoopid, Gavin DeGraw, Kenny Rogers, The Band Perry, Colbie Caillat, Michael McDonald, The Isley Brothers, Jake Owen and many others.
Date: July 14 at 8 p.m. | Tickets
Date: July 15 at 7:30 p.m. | Tickets
Happy Together Tour
Date: July 16 at 8 p.m. | Tickets
Date: July 19 at 7 p.m. | Tickets
Date: July 20 at 8:15 p.m. | Tickets
Date: July 21 at 4:30 p.m. | SOLD OUT
Date: July 22 at 7:15 p.m. | Tickets
Date: July 23 at 8:15 p.m. | Tickets
Date: July 26 at 7:30 p.m. | Tickets
Date: July 27 at 7:30 p.m. | Tickets
Date: July 28 at 7:30 p.m. | Tickets
Echo and The Bunnymen
Date: July 29 at 7:15 p.m. | Tickets
Date: July 30 at 8:15 p.m. | Tickets
The Band Perry
Date: August 2 at 7:45 p.m. | Tickets
Huey Lewis and The News
Date: August 3 at 8:15 p.m. | Tickets
Date: August 4 at 7:30 p.m. | Tickets
The Fab Four
Date: August 5 at 8 p.m. | Tickets
Date: August 6 at 7 p.m. | Tickets
Steve Miller Band
Date: August 9 at 6:30 p.m. | Tickets
The Isley Brothers
Date: August 10 at 7 p.m. | Tickets
Date: August 11 & 12 at 6 p.m. | Tickets
Date: August 13 at 7:30 p.m. | Tickets
Events At The Hangar
Just like The Pacific Amphitheatre performances, shows at The Hangar require separate tickets from fair admission. But also like the amphitheater, there are some great acts here that are not to be missed this summer. A plethora of tribute bands typically play here, some of which are listed below, but check out the full schedule for The Hangar here
Space Oddity – A David Bowie Retrospective
Date: July 14 at 8:30 p.m. | Tickets
Hotel California – A Salute to The Eagles
Date: July 20 at 8:30 p.m. | Tickets
I Am King The Michael Jackson Experience
Date: July 26 at 8:30 p.m. | Tickets
Queen Nation – A Tribute to the Music of Queen
Date: August 2 at 8:30 p.m. | Tickets
Zeppelin Live – A Rock Tribute to Led Zeppelin
Date: August 5 at 8:30 p.m. | Tickets
Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez
Date: August 6 at 1:30 and 6 p.m. | Tickets
True Willie – America’s Premier Willie Nelson Tribute Band
Date: August 9 at 8:30 p.m. | Tickets
Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular
Date: August 11 at 8:30 p.m. | Tickets
Events At The Action Sports Arena
From demolition derbies, motorcycle racing, bull riding and more, the action sports arena is sure to get your adrenaline going. There are a limited number of general admission seats for OC fairgoers without the need of an extra purchase so make sure to stop by while you still can. Check out the full line-up here
Xtreme Freestyle Moto-X
Date: July 14 at 8 p.m. | Tickets
Date: July 16 at 6 p.m. | Tickets
TRAXXAS Monster Truck Destruction Tour Monster Trucks & FMX
Date: July 26-30 at 7:30 p.m. | Tickets
Date: August 2 and 4 at 8 p.m. | Tickets
Minivan Mash-up Demolition Derby
Date: August 12 at 8 p.m. | Tickets
Carnival Rides & Attractions
Carnival Rides & Attractions
One of the most thrilling parts of any fair is the rides. As always, check out a variety of different types of rides. The Ferris Wheel is always a main attraction, but guests can also ride classics like the Tilt-A-Whirl, the Zipper, bumper cars and a carousel. Those looking for a more adrenaline-fueled experience can try G-Force, the Cyclone or the Galaxy Coaster. Every weekend, get half-price ride tickets or, on Wednesdays, enjoy $30 unlimited ride wristbands. There will also be $2 rides until 4 p.m. every Friday.
Shopping, Exhibits & More
Once you’ve gotten your fill of deep-fried fair food and thrilling carnival rides, wander indoors to find a variety of vendors selling unique products. Whether you’re looking for beauty products, cookware or beyond, you’re bound to find great items with steep discounts.
Aside from vendors, the OC Fair offers plenty of exhibits and contests for your enjoyment. Visit Centennial Farm for agricultural exhibits and chances to get up close and personal with the farm’s animals. There are also a variety of exhibits on art, photography, gardening, handicrafts, cuisine and more.
Other Must-See Events
Along with the array of carnival rides, food, exhibits and contests, be sure to check out these special OC Fair events.
Brew Hee Haw
July 15 and 16, 2017
Enjoy unlimited tastings of more than 80 different craft beers from top California breweries—plus a commemorative collectible glass. Tickets start at $55.
Courtyard Wine Seminars
Weekends in 2017
Featuring award-winning wines from the fair’s wine competition, these weekend tastings allow guests to familiarize themselves with the winnings. The seminars are themed and feature eight one-ounce tastings plus a wine glass and snacks.
Fun Run 5K
August 6, 2017
The whole family can participate in this fun run. Now in its ninth year, the event takes place in the early morning before the fair opens to the public and includes an awards ceremony following the run.
Junior Livestock Auction
July 22, 2017
Local youth showcase their livestock at this one-day auction. From swine, calves, goats and beef to rabbits, lambs and turkeys, visitors can purchase animals while raising funds for education. The auction starts at 10 a.m.
Many different promotions are available for this year’s OC Fair, including free admission and parking until 3 p.m. on opening day. Other promotions include the San Diego / Ventura Bounceback, where guests can get free admission with tickets from other nearby fairs; the Active Military & Veterans promotion, good for free admission and half-price for guests; Read & Ride, where children between the ages of 5 and 11 can earn free rides based on the number of books they read; We Care Wednesdays, offering free admission with a donation to a local nonprofit; free admission for children ages 12 and under every Thursday; Seniors Day on Friday; and half-price admission before 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander
and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.