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Fun rides, fine arts and fried food: A look at the OC Fair

It’s hard to find another place where you can find such an extensive range of fried food. We’re talking, of course, about the annual Orange County Fair.

“They even had chocolate-covered bacon and deep-fried, double-double cheeseburgers,” 19-year-old Jamie Dann said.

Held in Costa Mesa, the OC Fair offered fun for all ages from July 15 to Aug. 14. Attendants could participate in a variety of activities, from playing crazy carnival games to learning about agriculture and livestock at the Centennial Farm.

“It was so much fun to walk through all of the animal barns,” 13-year-old Chloe Rush said.  “I got to pet goats and chickens and sheep and cows and horses and pigs. The baby pigs were my favorite.”

The fair also provided a full schedule of shows and demonstrations throughout the day. At live culinary demonstrations, chefs taught the audience how to cook. Chef Shaile Socher created flowers from sugar, while Chef Piper Echols gave a culinary presentation meant to include all children. Horses danced to acoustic music and motorcycle riders flipped through the air in the Extreme Sports Arena.

Fair goers might spend their afternoon watching the livestock showcases put on by members of 4-H, an organization which allows kids to learn life skills and complete different projects, including raising animals. After, fairgoers flocked to evening performances in the Pacific Amphitheatre, which offered big-name acts including dancer-violinist Lindsey Stirling, and to The Hangar, which mainly featured tribute bands like Bee Gees Gold, a tribute to the Bee Gees.

While fried foods are what the OC Fair has arguably become notable for, there were still vendors who chose to sell items outside the ring of oily confections.

“I like to walk through the Carnival of Products buildings and see what new and innovative products are available each year,” Irvine community member Mike Dann said. “Somehow, we never leave without buying something.”

The fair also serves to fuel the bright flame of competition, as it provided many opportunities for fair participants to earn ribbons for their work. Local artisans competed for ribbons in categories including baking and woodworking, with their creations available to view in galleries.

Next year, maybe you’ll decide to enter one of the fair’s competitions—you might even win a blue ribbon.