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Amazing summer memories are on the way.

The 2018 OC Fair invites every fairgoer to “Free Your Inner Farmer” – wave your hat in the air and celebrate our agricultural heritage with OC style. You can even wear overalls and get in free until 3 p.m. on Thursdays – there are deals all 23 days of the Fair.

The 128th annual OC Fair opens July 13 and runs through Aug. 12. Pacific Amphitheatre will launch the Toyota Summer Concert Series with several pre-Fair shows starting July 7. And it’s time to enter competitions; deadlines vary from now through the Fair. Don’t miss your chance to bring home a blue ribbon and earn bragging rights.

Here are highlights of the excitement that’s coming this summer to the 2018 OC Fair:


Daredevils & Wheels – A wild, live-action stunt show at Action Sports Arena July 18-22, this outrageous spectacle features the Globe of Death steel ball, Vortex of Doom aerial platform raceway and a motorcycle high wire.

Fair food – Those who have been saving up those calories for their summer Fair treats can choose from chocolate pasta, a spaghetti donut, the pineapple-and-pork “Pine and Swine” sourdough bread, frozen Reese’s cream pies, deep-fried filet mignon on a stick, spicy fried cheese curd chips and Bomb Pops in a cup. 

Gigantic farmers: Bounty of the County – Three 16-foot-tall murals by artist John Cerney honoring local farmers and ranchers will greet fairgoers at the three main gates of the OC Fair. Plus, human-scale displays showcasing California’s own farm stars share video stories with guests at the click of an app.

Craft Bar – Farm-to-bar mocktails (and cocktails after dark) will include hand-picked garden ingredients sure to refresh and inspire (and locally crafted spirits from San Clemente’s Drift Distillery). 

Peterson Farm Brothers – Real-life singing Kansas farmers turned YouTube sensations will give Fair guests a unique view of real life on a farm in 2018 – and you can even sing along.

Bravemind exhibit at Heroes Hall – Opening in June, this new exhibition will show how a virtual reality technology from USC is helping veterans overcome PTSD in the real world. 

Culinary Crawl – This guided tour takes fairgoers through a mini version of OC’s curated culinary offerings, from a Patisserie to a Charcuterie, featuring insider info and tastings. Free tours will be held four times daily.

Selfie pop-up museum – Stay tuned for details on this only-at-the-OC-Fair pop-up selfie experience that will celebrate the unique and Instagram-worthy fun of the Fair. The exhibit is set to open on July 20.


Junior Livestock Auction – Saturday, July 21, at the Livestock Show Ring. See ocfair.com/junior-livestock-auction for details.

OC Brew Hee Haw craft beer festival – Saturday, July 14, and Sunday, July 15. Get tickets at ocbrewheehaw.com.

OC Fair Fun Run 5K – Sunday, Aug. 5. Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the summer’s funnest 5K! Register at ocfair5k.com.

Also coming back for more summer fun: All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, Peking Acrobats, comedy hypnotist Mark Yuzuik, The Conjurer, Russell Brothers Circus, Frank Thurston, Explorium and more.


We Care Wednesdays – Offering free Fair admission with donation on Wednesdays until 3 p.m. See ocfair.com/deals for donation details. 

NEW! Overalls Day – Free your inner farmer by wearing overalls and get free admission on Thursdays until 3 p.m. 

Kids Day – Kids 12 and younger get in free all day every Thursday.

Carnival Fun – Get unlimited ride wristbands for $35 each on Wednesdays and Thursdays (sold until 4 p.m., valid until 8 p.m.) 

$3 Taste of Fair Food – Sample food items available for just $3 each, every Thursday until 4 p.m. 

Best Deal Ever – Get half-price general admission ($7) and enjoy the carnival for half the tickets to ride on Saturdays and Sundays until 1 p.m.

NEW! Sunday Fun Day – Get half-price general admission ($7) and a $35 unlimited ride wristband (sold until 1 p.m.; valid until 4 p.m.) for ultimate family fun.


The Toyota Summer Concert Series at Pacific Amphitheatre will feature headliners such as Steve Martin and Martin Short, Brett Eldredge, Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss, Trevor Noah, The Psychedelic Furs with -X- and The Fixx, and so much more. Plus, several pre-Fair and post-Fair shows have been added to the summer season, including two nights of Stray Cats. Full lineup: pacamp.com

Over at The Hangar, the best in tribute bands will top off the night every Wednesday through Saturday with acts like Journey Unauthorized, Zeppelin Live, Hotel California and BOSTYX. Plus, The Hangar will feature Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, Foghat, Ozomatli and Firefall with Poco. Full lineup: ocfair.com/the-hangar


Wednesday-Friday: $12 general, $7 senior (60+) and youth (ages 6-12), free for children 5 and younger

Saturday-Sunday: $14 general, $7 senior (60+) and youth (ages 6-12), free for children 5 and younger

Parking: $10 cars, $20 buses and limos.

Free offsite parking and shuttle is available Saturdays and Sundays from Experian in Costa Mesa; shuttle runs 10 a.m.-1 a.m.

OC Fair Express: Catch the bus from one of nine locations through O.C. on Saturdays and Sundays for $4 round trip, and get a $4 Fair admission coupon. Seniors ride for $1.50 round trip. More info: ocfairexpress.com.

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