COSTA MESA (Aug. 16, 2021) – The 2021 OC Fair is a wrap and there were several firsts and a whole lot of summer memories for fairgoers who felt it was “Time for Fun,” the theme of this year’s Fair which ran from July 16 through Aug. 15.
Advance tickets were required for the first time as the Fair moved forward with limited daily capacity and a slightly slimmed down array of booths and attractions.
Here’s a look at this year’s Fair by the numbers:
16 sold-out days – For the first time, the OC Fair had sold-out days and 16 of the 23 days maxed out. Fairgoers also got to enjoy two additional hours with gates opening at 10 a.m. instead of noon. The Fair Board voted to keep admission and parking prices the same as in 2019.
Preliminary figures show that just over one million fairgoers agreed that it was Time for Fun and came out to enjoy summer’s most anticipated event. Also for the first time, there was a limit of approx. 45,000 tickets sold daily for Fair admission, The Hangar concerts and shows in Pacific Amphitheatre. There were some ticket types already in the market, such as promotional tickets and passes, that were taken into account.
“While we’re so pleased that more than a million people came out to support the return of the OC Fair this year, increased attendance is no longer a number by which we will measure the success of the Fair,” said OC Fair & Event Center CEO Michele Richards.
“More important to us is the great guest experience we were able to create, our ability to responsibly manage our resources and achieve profitability, and our efforts to be good neighbors and support the community in times of need.”
3,091 entries competed for blue-ribbons – There were1,588 adult cut flower entries, 134 youth cut flowers entries, 1,060 adult fruit & vegetable entries and 300 youth fruit and vegetable entries for a total of 331 exhibitors.
2.5 million carnival rides were enjoyed by fairgoers and their favorites were Skyride, La Grande Wheel XL, Euroslide, Rave Wave and Titan. The top three games were Bottle Up, Big Water Race and Bank A Ball.
100 semi-trailer loads full of stuffed toys were received at OC Fair to be awarded to carnival game winners. The No. 1 most-requested prize for the past five years remained Pokemon characters. The two new favorite items on midway are the Squismallows and Bob Ross stuffed doll.
72 pallets of merchandise were delivered to the OC Fair’s Lolo Boutiques booth.
75,900 fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies were baked from scratch at Mom’s Bakeshoppe using one ton of flour, two tons of brown sugar, more than 100 pounds of margarine, 4,600 eggs and a whopping 1,062,600 mini chocolate chips.
10 pallets of Oreos were deep-fried at RCS food stands along with two swimming pools full of Flaming Hot Cheetos added to Biggy’s food items. They reported that their top-three food items were corn dogs, deep-fried Oreos and pizza slices.
10,000 avocados, 10,000 waffle cones, 10,000 pounds of flour and more than 10,000 Oreo cookies were served up at the Chicken Charlie’s stands throughout the fairgrounds.
9,404 kids took advantage of the Read & Ride program and received 28,212 free carnival rides for reading books and writing or drawing reports.
7,700 pounds of Ten Pound Buns were served up at this year’s OC Fair.
“There really is something for everyone at the OC Fair,” said OC Fair Board Chair Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia. “We are so proud of the economic impact OC Fair has on Orange County, generating $300 million in revenue and creating over 3,000 jobs. Although the 23 days of the fair have to come to an end, we are so grateful for the success of the fair and the support from our community and look forward to the 2022 Fair. On behalf of the Board, I’d like to thank staff, partners and guests for making this OC Fair such a wonderful event.”
300 volunteer hours and 1,200 jars of canned fresh produce were the results of work from UCCE Master Food Preservers over the course of the Fair.
One new OC Fair Foodie costumed character was introduced this year and Strawberry Jan made her debut, posing for photos daily and parading through the fairgrounds.
$131,898 was paid out to agriculture students through the Junior Livestock Auction and this year we saw the sale of 103 animals.
20 concerts were sold out in The Hangar and, so far, there have been nine sold-out shows in Pacific Amphitheatre.
Concerts under the stars are continuing with these upcoming shows in Pacific Amphitheatre:
Aug. 20 – Colbie Caillat / Natasha Bedingfield / Diana DeMuth
Aug. 21- “Toy Story” with the Pacific Symphony (the animated movie will be shown during the concert)
Aug. 22 – Ramon Ayala / Enigma Norteno
Aug. 25 – Goo Goo Dolls / Sister Hazel
Aug. 26 – Flaming Lips / Greer
Sept. 2 – Chase Rice / Breland
Tickets are for sale on Ticketmaster.
Sept. 11, Pacific Symphony will perform Tchaikovsky’s “1812” Overture, complete with pyrotechnics, in Pacific Amphitheatre. Tickets are available via pacificsymphony.org.
Sept. 23, country artist Hank Williams Jr. will close out the season at Pacific Amphitheatre when he performs with special guest Jackson Dean. Tickets are for sale on Ticketmaster.
The 2020 OC Fair was canceled due to the pandemic and a virtual event was held online. Attendance at the 2019 OC Fair was 1,393,482.
OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California, is home to the annual OC Fair. Year-round attractions include Centennial Farm, Table of Dignity, Heroes Hall and Pacific Amphitheatre. OC Fair & Event Center also hosts year-round events. For more information, visit ocfair.com.
Support of OC Fair & Event Center provides year-round educational opportunities and helps fund community give-back programs.