OC Fair is in full swing, with reduced attendance


COSTA MESA, CA – Tickets for the 2021 Orange County Fair sold out on Saturday in its first weekend after a year-long absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“ALERT – We’re SOLD OUT today (Saturday July 17) Get your show tickets for tomorrow (Sunday July 18) as soon as possible so you don’t miss the OC 2021 show opening weekend”, the show tweeted at 11 a.m. : 7:00 a.m.

The annual event features the return of many favorite attractions and a few notable differences. More importantly, the crowds are not as large as in previous years and the times are different under COVID-19 protocols.

“We don’t want big crowds at the boarding gate or long lines at the ticket booth,” said Michele Richards, CEO of the OC Fair, so visitors are being asked to purchase their tickets online instead. than at a ticket office.

But prices haven’t gone up and festival-goers won’t have to pay a fee to purchase tickets online, Richards said.

The show is still held at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m. to midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Participation will be capped at around 75%, Richards said.

“We have a lot more tables, shaded seats for eating and drinking, so people can sit and relax and eat their food instead of walking around,” Richards said.

Daily attendance will be capped at around 45,000 people. Normally, daily attendance can reach 60,000, with weekend attendance reaching 85,000.

“Every day will be like a regular weekday, where it’s easy to get around,” said Richards.

Fairground enthusiasts will still be able to enjoy a wide variety of fried food options and other favorites, including Alaskan Racing Pigs, but this latest feature isn’t popular with everyone.

A small group of animal rights activists demonstrated outside the entrance to the fair on Friday and Saturday, “to draw attention to the animal abuse that is taking place behind the scenes and in plain sight,” they said. declared.

“We are here to tell people that the OC Fair teaches children that violence is normal and okay,” said David Santucci, one of the vegan protesters. “Each year the fair hosts the FFA, Future Farmers of America, a program in which high school students raise animals and then auction them off to slaughter. Many of these students are traumatized by the experience. They fall in love with this animal. during his short life of six months, before being sent to have his throat slit at the slaughterhouse.

In addition, the Fair hosts events like pig races and a rodeo. These harmful events objectify animals and force them to endure terrifying violence and abuse for the purported entertainment. We cannot use animals as we do. want. They are not food, they are not clothes, they are not entertainment. “

Terry Moore, communications director for the OC Fair, told City News Service that animals are a big part of the annual event.

“Animals are an important part of our agricultural heritage and education programs at OC Fair & Event Center. They are also an integral part of the OC Fair and we value and respect all animals, ”said Moore.

Another notable difference at this year’s fair is the concert schedule at the Pacific Amphitheater. Country singer Brantley Gilbert will kick off the fairground concert season, which runs through September 2.

“My favorite venue is the Goo Goo Dolls,” said Richards.

The rockers are scheduled to take the stage on August 25.

Other notable artists will be X, Los Lobos and the Blasters on August 1; War and the Commodores on August 5; Cheap Trick and Blue Oyster Cult August 11; Dwight Yoakam on August 13; and the Flaming Lips on August 26.

All the rides and cattle shows are also back.

“There will be a lot of blue ribbons awarded for fair competition for cakes, pies, quilts, photographs and artwork and always good buys,” said Richards. “And, of course, the carnival.”

The fair will last another 23 days, as usual, she said.

Richards was supposed to take over the fair as CEO last year, but the pandemic called him off. This will therefore be his first year in charge.

“It’s called bad timing,” she said of the year-long absence.

“How do you describe this feeling? she asked. “It’s like a big old beat of joy between two slices of happiness.”

She compared the “joy of reconnecting” with the community to the meeting of parents in quarantine.

“It’s been a tough challenge,” Richards said of last year as the fairground hosted COVID-19 tests and then vaccinations, while also serving as a food distribution point for families. in need.

“But it was also my privilege to see the organization go through the pandemic and try to bring our events back and now being able to host the fair is like the rainbow at the end,” said Richards.

—City information service

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