A Brief History:
The Fairgrounds has its roots in O.C military history. During World War II, the land was part of a basic training base called the Santa Ana Army Air Base. As the trained ranks swelled, the SAAAB was used as an overseas deployment center and later a redistribution center for airmen returning from overseas for stateside assignments. In late 1945, the base was used as an internment camp for Japanese awaiting deportation to Japan, before being deactivated in March 1946.
In the late 1950s the military declared the land surplus, part of which was given to the Orange County National Guard. Other portions of the land were used for housing development, two colleges and as the permanent home of the Orange County Fair. In addition to the annual O.C. Fair, the Event Center facilities are used for events both large and small. Contact the Event Center for more information on booking and venue rental.
The Orange County Fair:
The Orange County Fair started in 1890 when a small community group hosted a local fair, featuring a few exhibits and horse races in Santa Ana. In those early days, the Fair consisted of mostly livestock exhibits and horse races -- until carnival attractions were added in the early 1900s. By 1925 the Fair was moved to Anaheim and included a rodeo, a carnival and other things now considered typical of the county fair.
In 1949, the Fair was held at its current location at the O.C. Fair and Event Center, in what was later incorporated as Costa Mesa. The Fairgrounds have been the home of the O.C. Fair now for more than 60 years. The Fair has become one of the most popular and beloved annual O.C. events, featuring a carnival, a Summer concert series and other live performances, action sports and much, much more.
The theme for the 2012 O.C. Fair is "Home Sweet Home" and is scheduled for July 13 - August 12. Check the website for details.
More O.C. Fairground Events:
In addition to being the home of the annual Orange County Fair, the Fairgounds host a great many events throughout the year, some weekly, others annual. Some highlights include:
- A weekly certified Farmers Market, where local farmers sell fresh produce, fresh fish, and other artisan foods. Thursdays 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
- A twice weekly Food Truck Fare featuring some of Orange County's most popular gourmet food trucks. "After dark" on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and for lunch on Thursdays 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- The Orange County Marketplace, "Orange County's favorite swap meet" where local second-hand vendors sell a range of goods including clothes, jewelery, sporting goods, crafting supplies, housewares, beauty products and electronics. Saturdays and Sundays, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission $2 for ages 12 and up.
- A bi-monthly boxing and MMA fight series called Fight Club OC. Thursday 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission is $40-$100.
- An annual Youth Expo, a free, kid centric event featuring live entertainment, carnival rides, school exhibits and other activities. Next Youth Expo: April 13-15, 2012.
Location & Address:
The Orange County Fairgrounds are located in Costa Mesa, south of the South Coast Plaza and just wests of the 55 Fwy.
OC Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Contact the OC Fair & Event Center:
Phone: (714) 708-1500