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Is it July? Of course it is and that means everyone in heading to The OC Fair!
This year’s theme is “Come & Get It!” and that is exactly what we did. From the exhibits to the rides from the animals to the competitions and let’s not forget the most important part, the food, there is something for everyone to “get” at the fair.
We started our day in a bit of an old fashion way, heading over to the gardening and farming area of the fair known as the Centennial Farm. Here we wandered thru the lovely rows and rows of fresh vegetable and fruits being grown on the grounds. Along the edges fruit trees are being grown with everything from pineapple to pink lemonade lemons. As with any traditional county fair there has to be a competition of some sort, and there it was right there in the middle of it all. From the biggest to the freshest taste to the most unusual, many varieties were representing all different fruits and veggies. Huge cucumbers, radishes, unusual tomatoes and carrots and a very large pumpkin that was grown in memory of a young man were presented.
Our day continued on into the outside bazaar of the Park Plaza area. Here you can find many an item to take home; some offered trinkets, artwork or even a beach wagon. All of it surrounding one of the many stages the fair has set up with entertainment. At this time the Plaza Arts Stage had a very energetic young group of dancers performing their heart out for the crowd. This is also the stage that later in the day and evening has the always hilarious hypnotist. One of the new additions to this area this year is the Palace of Exotic Wonders presented by Dr. Entome; a clever play on words to say, “This is a bug exhibit”.
By this point the smell of the fair food was getting to us. We had to eat something, but what? There is so much to eat that it is hard to choose. The decision was to get something and share it so we could try many things throughout the day. Meat was needed and we found it at Backyard BBQ Village Fried Chicken. Here you had a lot to choose from in the meat department, ribs were on order. With a side of coleslaw and French fries, 5 large ribs were served up with plenty of BBQ sauce to go with it. The ribs were cooked just right, with a nice spice rub that was enhanced with the sauce. A great start to the food sampling. Along with the platter we purchased one of our fair favorites and most economical choices, souvenir cup with fresh lemonade. At $5 with refills ranging from $2.75 – $3 at participating locations you can’t go wrong.
After just the right amount of food to keep us going it was on to one of my favorite areas of the fair, the Main Mall. This is the area where you can see everything from the visual arts, the culinary arts, crafts, or maybe get the lasts gadget for your home or office. I truly enjoy the arts area, being an amateur craft/artist/chef myself. I spend many hours in these buildings just amazed at all the detail and time people have put into one project. Some astonishing woodworking was being presented by Josvaldo Orellana and his son. Their current project of a single piece rocking chair was phenomenal with all its intricate details of three trees creating the back of the chair. In the Visual Arts building two very talented individuals were being showcased, Jeff Gillette and James Collum. And between them both were some delectable treats being taught and presented by local award winning chefs.
Getting a little hungry some sweets were in order… chocolate was needed. Some fresh confections were made by Xan and were so scrumptious; Apple Pie, Cherry cordial, and a Champagne truffle were consumed and admired. But something cold was needed and off to get it in the form of some chocolate soft serve. There is never enough chocolate, just saying.
Right across the way from all the visual, craft and culinary feats were the product pavilions where guests may wander around and find everything and anything to their hearts content. You can purchase high quality sheets to the latest cleaning tool, you’ll see massage therapists to relax you so you can enjoy more of the day to new makeup marvels for you to try. And if you are of age, 21 and over, right outside you can quench your thirst with beers of the world.
Speaking to those who are of age, again 21 and older, head over to the Courtyard where wine will be your reward. Here you have a chance to sample some of the best wines the OC and southern California have to offer. You can sample the wines, purchase a glass, take one of the many classes on wine or be part of one of the dinners that are offered throughout the run of the fair. This is also a good place to introduce people that are unfamiliar with wine. More importantly tasting are handled by the Orange Country Wine Society and the proceeds are used towards scholarships for students all over the OC. Good drinks and making a difference? Count me in.
By this point we had already done quite a bit of walking and looking, people watching and sampling more food, the cheesy bacon bombs in garlic butter were delicious, and yet there is still more to do.
You have the kiddie area with rides focused for those who don’t quite measure up to the regular carnival rides on the other end of the fair. You have the Action Sports Arena with its ever changing array of sports entertainment like the bull riding competition that was happening this evening we were here. If you want to marvel in the passion young adults raising livestock don’t forget to head over and see all the sheep, cows, chickens and other live stock that many high school students from all over Orange County have brought to show off. Music is also at the forefront of the fair with its two award winning venues with the Pacific Amphitheater and my favorite, The Hanger. Live music fills the air every evening of the fair.
It is always a pleasure to come out the fair at least one day during the run. In these next couple days with the warm days and cool nights I expect many will travel to the fair to enjoy many of the offerings presented. I know I will find another day to go back and try some of the many other foods I didn’t get a chance to try or take my chances at some of the carnival games and try to get one of those huge fluffy unicorns. Till then, why don’t you get up and get out and enjoy yourself at the fair with friends or family. It’s time for you to “Come & Get It!”
The OC fair runs Wednesday – Sunday July 12 through August 11. More information can be found at the fair website, www.ocfair.com.
Follow my entertainment adventures throughout Southern California on Twitter @SCThrillsMarc.