Summer Fun at the OC Fair


           There are a few things that mark summertime for me. Not only is my birthday the official “first day of summer,” (June 21st) but I associate the warm months with late nights, bonfires, beach days, running barefoot on the hot black pavement to the ice cream truck, and going to the fair.  

          I was born in Pomona, a forty-five minute or so drive from Long Beach and tucked among the cities La Verne, Ontario, and San Dimas.  When I was growing up, it used to be the L.A. County Fair that I longed for. I am reminded of visiting my aunts and uncles who would work at the food stands, and I would beg my mom to let me ride on the rides. It is a nostalgia that has stuck with me into adulthood. 

          Since living in Long Beach it is the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa that reminds me of everything good and fun and exciting.  This summer I could not have been more anxious to go to the fair. So it was no surprise that just two days after it opened, I decided to go for a whirl.  Sunday morning my friend Cayla and I geared up for a much-anticipated and very hot day at the fair. We felt like kids again, ready to be in a fun, free-spirited atmosphere that jolts your senses and your imagination.



       The first thing we went to see was the farm animals. There was a cow show going on in one of the many arenas, and nearby the various stables that had a range of farm animals. There were goats, chickens, turkeys, even rabbits.

          I think part of the appeal of the fair is allowing yourself to be swayed in the atmosphere. Not holding onto plans, but simply roaming from place to place. Contemplating things like face paintings, and henna tattoos, it is all part of the experience.

          One of my favorite things at the fair is walking through the many exhibits that may display simple things such as patchwork or quilting, baking competition winners, artwork, to random competitions like the best table decorations. Nonetheless they provide a cool escape from the hot sun outside, and give you a variety to look at.

          One of the exhibits had an old-fashioned trailer just barely big enough to walk inside of, they also had vintage cars that I couldn’t help but taking a picture in front of. 




          Circling around the fair grounds we found a butterfly sanctuary and for only one dollar we were handed a Q-Tip to dunk in butterfly food (nectar) and given the okay to hang with the butterflies. It took me a while to warm up, but Cayla was a natural. They landed in our hair, on our shoulders, backs, and even on my toe. It was so exciting and everyone in the tent seemed overwhelmed with joy to have these beautiful creatures surrounding us.



          It wasn’t long until we made it over to Centennial Farm. The gardens had beautiful flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as more farm animals like pigs. It was a refreshing setting and an easy getaway from the hustle and bustle at the rest of the fair. It was a nice place to pause, relax, and re-group for the rest of the days adventures.






          Last, and certainly not least we had to get a corn on the cob. Handed to you hot off the fiery grill, they give you a small square of butter to rub generously on the cob and then you add your choice of salt, pepper, or chili-seasoning-goodness. It was great! 



          The pictures I captured from that day serve as a lovely reminder of the fun times I had in the summer sun. 

          I hope it inspires you to visit your local fair and to make memories that will serve as markers for all the great summers past, and the summers yet to come.

– Em

Take a Visit:

Orange County Fair

July 15- August 14th

Wednesday Sunday

Check website for more details on hours, directions, parking,

and special promotion days

LA County Fair

September 2-25th


Check website for more details on hours, directions, parking,

and special promotion days


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