Squeezing Fun Out Of The Orange County Fair

Written by MiceChat Staff. Posted in Features, Orange County Fair, Southern California Parks

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Published on August 03, 2012 at 11:30 pm with 14 Comments

There are just two weekends of fun left at the Orange County Fair, so we thought we’d drop by and show you around a bit.

The security tents

General admission is a bargain at just $11

The Super Pass gives you unlimited daily admission through the run of the fair


Now that we’re in the gates, where to start first? Should we hit the rides, grab a fried Twinkie, or better yet, why don’t we go do a little shopping first? There’s so much to do here. We got sidetracked at the Centennial Barn and its adorable animals.

One of our favorite places in the whole fair is the Centennial Barn.  It has the gardens, it has the animals, it even has nice little places to relax.

They took the area that used to house the chicks and made it shaded seating.

Time to shop!  But, not for just anything.  No, we are looking for one-of-a-kind stuff.

Imagineer Joe Rhode would like this shop.

Then there is the entertainment.  Sometimes it is great!  Other times, well, let’s just say it’s . . . unique.

We suspect that the real reason why may folks come to the fair is to see what they have figured out how to fry. This year, as was previewed at the  Del Mar Fair in San Diego last month, we have fried cereal, fried kool-aid, fried bacon, and bacon wrapped turkey legs.  Let’s check out the deadly delights.

There is also a very solemn memorial featuring pieces from the World Trade Center.

Another big feature of the fair is the rides.  The are missing the crazy green coaster this year, but on the upside, there is a new dark ride.    But, if you thought the ticket increases at Disneyland were bad, look at the prices to ride just one ride.  WOW.  We suggest that you take advantage of one of the many deal days that we have listed below.

At about 8 to 12 tickets per ride, it ads up quickly!

There is also a Kid Land filled with rides that are a little bit more tame.

PARADE OF PRODUCTS (or as we like to call it, The HALL OF CRAP)
You will find everything you never knew you needed and MORE in these halls!!!

We love the taffy pulling machine. They need one of these in the candy shop on Main Street.

Something that we are happy to see is a program to find new homes for the plants which decorate the fair. There are many groupings of palms, marigolds, and other splashes of color. After the fair, they need to find a proper garden.  Guests are invited to come the day after closing and buy these plants below wholesale costs.  Kinda cool huh?

All military (active and veterans) – free admission with I.D.
Not valid for spouses or dependents

One free admission and one carnival ride per person. Person donating items must be present to receive admission ticket. Free admission tickets are only valid on the day of the drive. School Supply Drive

Wednesday, August 8
(Noon – 4 pm)
One FREE admission and one carnival ride per person with donation of (1) one new school supply item valued at $5 or more.

Kids Day
Free admission 12 and under – all day

Seniors Day (60+)
$2 off plus free Ferris wheel and merry-go-round rides – all day

OC Fair Express
OC Fair Express riders traveling to the OC Fair receive a coupon for $2 Fair Admission. 
OCTA service hours: Friday 3 pm – Midnight / Saturday & Sunday 10 am – Midnight 
Bus Fare: $1.50 one way / $3 round trip

Rise & Shine $2 General Admission
(10 am – 11 am)

$30 Unlimited Carnival Ride Wristbands – Plus 2 Free Games
(Sold until 5 pm – valid until 8 pm)
Every Friday
$2 Rides & $2 Games
(Valid until 4 pm)

Whatever your taste, the Fair likely has something for you. You don’t have to eat the crazy food, or be brave enough to ride the terrifying rides to enjoy the crafts and contests, animals, gardens and endless opportunities to buy products you never knew you couldn’t live without. But the Orange County Fair ends on August 12th, so hitch up the horse to the family wagon and drag the family down to Costa Mesa for some good old fashion fun.

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  • weeble

    yumm, i want to eat all that stuff except for the frog legs!

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  • Ryan120420

    Those prices are extremely high to ride just one ride. $6.00 just to ride the wild mouse coaster (assuming you buy $20 worth of tickets).

    To those who think that Disneyland should go back to a pay per ride ticket system, look no further than this. $6.00 to ride an un themed carnival wild mouse at a carnival, imagine what a Disney ride such as Indiana Jones would cost…

    • mratigan

      Maybe 50 bucks

  • JesterMn

    Um, you have seen the ride prices for a single roller coaster in Vegas, right? Probably averages about $15 for a single ride. $6 is nothing.

  • Tomkuwahara

    As a kid growing up in Montana, the county fair was the highlight of the summer. The smell of the sawdust, the neon lights at night, it was all good. Put my nickels in the mechanical cranes to grab the totally useless junk but it was fun.
    So I look forward to the OC fair every year and now that I’m retired can go anytime.
    This year we actually parked 10 steps away from the entrance. Weather just right.
    We still love to go to the Parade of Products, don’t call it crap please! It’s fun, shameless, totally bogus, and what’s a fair without shamwow, cookware, and salad choppers? Don’t have to buy, love to look at it. There’s even a table full of gadgets, knives, tweezers, screwdrivers; guy heaven! Checked out the woodworking section as brother in law does that for a living.
    Looked at some of the animals, checked out the vegetable garden, didn’t ride any rides, looked at house plants(bought some) and admired the bonsai. Seniors have a different perspective on a day at the fair. Ate some junk food sitting on a straw bale and went home very happy. Can hardly wait for the state fair!

    • Dumbo34

      The State Fair closed this past Sunday.

  • wallaceproject

    You should cover the California State Fair next summer. It’s just as fun, and expensive. Also William Land Park is a cool destination year round.

    • Dumbo34

      Land Park is nowhere near the fairgrounds. It is lovely though.

  • masterman626

    One gripe I have about the two major SoCal fairs (OC and LA), is that the Company that runs most of the carnival also runs the majority of the food vendors: RCS. This hasn’t been as prevalent at the OC Fair as it is at LA but, They have pushed a lot of the smaller vendors from the main section of the fairs and drive some vendors out all together. I used to see independent vendors along side with the RCS vendors which was awesome that gave me the variety I wanted. But now almost 97% of the main area behind the Grand Stand at Pomona belongs to RCS vendors. This over saturation has also led to the RCS’ food to greatly diminish in value and seen there prices skyrocket. Maybe it’s just me being a whiny baby but I definetely think both fairs food offerings have gone done significantly in just the past 5 years.

    • Marko50

      Maybe you should try the REAL major SoCal fair – San Diego County (fka Del Mar). Might be the same, but at least you’d have done your research.

  • Algernon

    I really miss the Main Mall stage. The Fair used to have a lot more free entertainment a couple of years ago, and the prices are really getting high. Still, with Disneyland $87 a shot, it looks cheap. I’ll be going on Wednesday, and if it’s good, I’ll go again, Friday.

  • brad chowen

    This year they are fried???? Every year they are fried are covered in bacon —or wrapped in bacon and fried and on a stick…..Or fried, wrapped in bacon covered in chocolate and on a stick.

    i did blog awhile back Called Danny and the search for the rumored Donut burger…..Because who doesn’t want a Donut Burger.

  • stevek

    We went last Wednesday (8/1) for the Tears for Fears concert (they were great again) and each year we go, I try a new “fried something.” Last year it was deep fried oreos (great) and this year it was deep fried cookie dough. If you love cookie dough as much as I do, this is a must. Absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, 2 big beers don’t mix well and I paid for it later…live and learn. : )