The County Fair

Some people “love a parade”. . . “I love a county fair”!

A fair is a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or funfair entertainment. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary; some last only an afternoon while others may last as long as ten weeks.

*Despite agriculture being an almost dead industry in our county, the annual Orange County Fair is doing just fine. Listed as the ninth largest county fair in the United States, it attracted more than a million people last year. It’s taken 120 years for the event to gain such high acceptance.

The Orange County Fair Corp. formed in 1889. In 1892, a horse named Silkwood, an Orange County phenomena, was the main attraction at the fair. Thousands crowded the Santa Ana Racetrack to watch him win.

When the 32nd District Agricultural Association was formed by the California Department of Agriculture after the war, it was given responsibility for producing an Orange County Fair.
This group purchased the present day fairgrounds, 175 acres of the former Santa Ana Army Air Base, and recreated the fair in 1949 to its present format of special events including concerts and entertainment as well as livestock competition, floral and agricultural exhibits, carnival rides, food and games.

The Orange County Fair is coming to town next week with more fried food and special deals than ever under the theme “Home Sweet Home.” The annual event, which attracts residents from across Southern California and opens July 13, and runs through August 12.

This year’s dining includes as many fried foods as imaginable, from fried pickles to fried peanut butter and jelly, in addition to several rows of food options. The new Bacon A-Fair booth will offer bacon lovers an array of bacon wrapped food items, deep-fried bacon-wrapped hot dogs and bacon-wrapped mushroom with smoked gouda.

The events I particularly enjoy are the art and photography exhibits, live entertainment, the swap meet section, the garden display, livestock, and the “bug” exhibit. I love the fish fry, Texas BBQ, fresh fruit, lemonade, funnel cake, and soft ice cream, none of that crazy fried food!

Be sure to check out the performance by The All American Boys Chorus. My son toured with them for 5 years, their fabulous and perform there every year for free!

The Orange County Fair will pump $2.5 million into the job market over the next six weeks. Embark on an “old” adventure this summer, visit your local county fair and support your local economy, and all those that contribute!

*History of the OC Fair courtesy of OC Register

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