Each year the husband and I take our annual trip to the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa. Bring on the crazy food, farm animals, freak shows, rides and overpriced carnival games!
Neither one of us are what you might call ‘thrill seekers’ so we normally skip the rides (unless we go with friends) and go straight to the foods, games, and activities. Luckily, we made it this year. We finally got to go on the very last day. The fair never disappoints.
The OC Fair is a 23 day annual event in Costa Mesa, California. This summer extravaganza brings in over a million visitors each year. This year was the fair’s 125th birthday. And have I mentioned this place is huge? 150 acres huge.
My favorite things to do this year were the Petting Zoo, the Butterfly Garden, and the strip of Animal Sideshow Attractions.
The Petting Zoo is not your average petting zoo. They have llamas, an alpaca, pot belly pigs, tiny baby pigs, a small cow, a wallaby, lots of greedy goats, baby goats, some deer, sheep, chickens and ducks. $2 gets you an ice cream cone filled with animal feed. My favorite was the little black baby goat. I was knocking kids out of my way to get my hands on that little baby. Just kidding. Maybe.
The Butterfly Garden was a new one for me. I’m not sure if this was a new attraction or if I have just missed this every other year. Now, this place was pretty cool. For just ONE dollar you get entrance to the garden and a “feeding stick”, also know as a Q-tip, and can spend as much time as you like inside. The ceiling and all the walls and are see-through screens and milkweed plants are scattered all over to attract the butterflies. There are so many butterflies! After we dipped our feeding sticks in the nectar cups, now was the time to start attracting a butterfly(s). Sometimes the butterflies needed a little coaxing, and the feeding stick was used to gently slide between the screen and the butterfly to distract them with the nectar Now we had them on the stick, and they were ready to ‘pose’. Once we attracted one, we attract many. The seemed to land a lot on shoulders, hats, tops of heads and in my hair. This was a really fun place to snap some pictures.
The Animal Sideshow Attractions are pretty much the same every year, but year after year we go back to gawk at the size of these animals. This year was no exception. Owen’s favorite is the Giant Florida Gator, mine is the Giant Steer appropriately named “White Mountain”. Honorable mention goes to “Hercules” the Giant Horse. These guys are BIG, and I mean BIG.
Ok, the food. Put your diet on hold, put your ‘foodie’ hat on, and prepare yourself with an open mind. There are so many strange foods at the fair. Some kinda cool, some hilarious, and some down right gross (think a Deep Fried Stick of Butter or a Cherry Kool-Aid pickle). This year I was on the hunt for the ever so allusive Pickle Corn Dog. On the crazy scale this was about a 5/10, so not that wild, but I had never seen/ heard of one before. A hot dog inside a pickle, battered and deep-fried. Other crazy foods we saw that were pretty popular were the Triple Decker Cheese Burger with Krispy Kreme Donuts as buns, the boulder sized Churro Funnel Cake, and the Bacon Wrapped (and deep-fried) Turkey Leg. Some things we saw on menus that were not-so-popular were the Deep Fried Hamburger, Deep Fried Frogs Legs, Deep Fried Coffee, Chocolate Covered Pork Rinds, and if you can believe it- Deep Fried Pizza.
If you need more entertainment aside from all the rides, games, and eating, you’re in luck. There are so many things to see from concerts to livestock shows. We watched a Turkey Race that was hilarious. Have you ever seen a turkey run? ha! I wish we had seen the Alaskan Pig Races and the Demolition Derby. Next year!
- Bring your appetite! There is so much food to try.
- Bring cash. ATMs are around, but cash is easier and faster.
- Parking is cash only.
- Be prepared to spend. The Fair is not cheap!
- The summer can be hot so wear something cool and wear comfortable shoes!
- Outside food and drinks are allowed as long as it is manufacturer sealed. Ie: water, baby food..
- I’d suggest bringing a hands-free bag/purse. You’ll eventually have your hands full with food, beverages, or prizes, and a backpack or messenger style bag will come in handy.
Until next year!