The first Orange County Fair, back in 1890, included horse racing and a few exhibits. The 127th OC Fair (a few years were skipped here and there) features the Mexican horsemen of the Fiesta del Charro and the annual Clydesdale horses visit. But racing nowadays focuses more on motorcycles and pigs (the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs!).
This year’s fair, with its “Farm Fresh Fun” theme, brings back favorite attractions such as the super selection of carnival rides and games, the Russell Brothers Circus, concerts and the agricultural exhibits. Exciting additions this year include a super-sized Ferris wheel known as Le Grande Wheel XL, the Minivan Mashup Demolition Derby, the XPOGO extreme pogo stick demonstration and, in a nod to the fair’s horse history, full-contact jousting by the Knights of Valour.
History of a different kind is represented at the recently opened Heroes Hall. The Fairgrounds sit on what was once the Santa Ana Army Air Base, and the hall, housed in a refurbished army barracks building, salutes those who spent time on the base. There is also an exhibit on Vietnam War soldiers and a Walk of Honor, which displays plaques that honor local veterans from WWI through Vietnam.
The OC Fair (88 Fair Dr. Costa Mesa; www.ocfair.com) is open Wed.-Sun. July 14-Aug. 13. Tickets are $12-$14 for adults and $7 for ages 6 and older. Kids get in free on Thursdays!