As Alex and I cruise down Harbor Blvd and turn onto Fair Drive we find ourselves immediately surrounded with the smell and sound of farm animals, kettle corn, fried food and screaming teens, this can only mean one thing; it must be time for the annual Orange County Fair!
In years past the OC fair has chosen a theme that is apropos to any State Fair or County Fair you may go to, this year’s theme? “Let’s Eat!” If you can’t find something you like you must not be alive because they have everything and anything you may want to eat at the fair.
Upon entering your senses are hit right away with the sight, sounds and smells of some of the most amazing barbeque this side of Texas. Everywhere you look the theme is in full swing with turkey legs, foot long sausages, 2 pound burgers, potatoes done every way possible (I prefer the Tasti Chips, Alex the Chili Cheese Fries curly or crinkled…), ice cream, frozen lemonade, all kinds of tasty treats and of course the fired food. YUM!
Since 2011’s theme is, “Let’s Eat!” we’ll start with the food! I tend to be the food aficionado so Alex left me the “difficult” task of trying all the food… well most of it. First up was to try to find the most unusual fried food, from Klondike bars, Cheesecake, and Oreos to fried butter we didn’t quite find the “weirdest” fried food until we came across… fried candy apples and fried Kool-Aid ™. I decided to live dangerously and went for the Kool-Aid ™, much to Alex’s dismay. A video of this experience forthcoming. To my surprise it was quite delicious! And filling! After just 3 of the 6 generous pieces I was pretty much done; it was quite delicious but I was done. If you’re wondering how they did this imagine a hush puppy flavored with your favorite childhood Kool-Aid™ flavor, then deep fried and sprinkled with more of those tasty sugary crystals! Viola! A fried concoction worthy of any County Fair!
This of course was washed down with the first of MANY fresh squeezed lemonades we enjoyed in the annual OC Fair cup! A great value as it cuts the price of refills in half! We also enjoyed chili cheese fries which, according to Alex, were cheesy and delicious ( I only enjoyed one, she is very serious about her fries), a foot long western sausage worked up to my liking and doused in BBQ sauce, and for dinner fresh cheddarwurst, and to top the evening off creamy ice cream.
All in all the food was, as any County Fair, delicious and fun! Had we had room for seconds we probably would have indulged in more tasty treats! There are of course many other delights from cupcakes to Italian food and other carnival goodies enough to satisfy any indulgent craving!
Now that Marc has fully intoxicated you all with the decadent and delightful foods the OC Fair has to offer we’ll move to my favorite part of the fair, shopping! The OC fair has tons to offer when it comes to items to purchase and delight in. From clothing featuring local OC designers, to fresh inventions and gadgets to delight the most nimble fingers and minds you’re sure to find it at the fair! Most items well priced and fabulous! I found myself unable to make just one choice from all the amazing things there were to see, touch, try and buy. My eyes danced over beautiful pieces of jewelry and accessories and my inner fashion diva reveled in the array of frocks and shoes available. There are of course items for kids and grownups alike as well as your usual cute and fun fair tchotchkes.
Bubble guns, fashion hair accessories, shoes, balloons, special make up, and also car wax, bug cleaners and more! From big to small there was nothing that wasn’t offered to the eager fair goers. I can’t wait to go back!
After all that shopping it was time to take a look at the more artistic side of the fair. From gardening to woodworking, paintings to crocheting artist from all around the OC submit their personal works for judging. After walking a short time through the visual arts pavilion we came across some amazing exhibits by featured artists Jim Jenkins and Daniel du Plessis.
Jeff’s visual sculptures of flight, mechanics and puppetry are impressive not only in there intricacies but the sheer detail and scope of vision. The dancing devil, “A Dime A Dance” was a crowd favorite, especially with children. Simple in its presentation it still left many an adult looking beyond the surface of this hypnotic sculpture.
Daniel is exquisite with a brush bringing paint to life. He doesn’t stop at the canvas as several of the artworks have frames that are just as detailed and intricate as the piece they hold.
After a viewing a few more entries in photography Alex had to step out as she tends to get a little emotional being surrounded by such inspired artwork.
From youths to adults every art form was present. Some of my favorites were the stained glass window of Maleficent, bowling balls crafted into miniature structure sculptures, and many of the presented woodworking projects.
After wandering around we needed a little libation so we headed over to the Wine Garden. This tends to be a favorite of mine and has been for many years; Alex is slowly coming into her enjoyment of wine, especially the sweeter varieties. The Orange County Wine Society did not disappoint with this year’s selection of award winning wines. From reds to whites, syrah’s to ports the variety offered will appeal to all levels and palates. Our recommendation, or I should say Alex’s favorite for an early summer evening sitting comfortably in the back yard, would be the South Coast ‘10.
This is not the only adult indulgence in beverages. There is Hussong’s Cantina and Baja Blues offer full bars and over by the Pavilions there’s the World of Beers featuring 30 plus beers for any hop head out there.
There is so much more to see at the fair with the livestock area featuring the work of local hard working 4H students, Centennial Farm, Ice Museum, daily concerts at both The Hanger, Pacific Amphitheatre and surrounding stages, Kids World and of course the Carnival. It is a great value for a family or an evening for two on a date.
So take the family out to the OC Fair Wednesday thru Sundays running through August 15th. We’ll see you there! Meanwhile she’ll have the wine, I’ll have the Kool-Aid™. Oh wait is that a fried candy apple?