It’s about time to get a little dirt on your hands, Orange County.
The 2018 OC Fair theme, “Free Your Inner Farmer,” is inviting you to do just that: leave the heels and ‘hose at home, and let that farmer flag fly. Grab a cowboy hat and boots, because you are in for the kind of fun city folk did not even know they could have!
Here are 15 ways to free your inner farmer at the fair:
1. Wear your favorite pair on Overalls Day. Every Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. during the 2018 OC Fair, guests can get free admission just by wearing overalls. For more deals and promos, visit ocfair.com/deals.
2. Go on the Culinary Crawl. New this year to the OC Fair is a special tour through the culinary world in the OC Promenade. Guests can sign up to take an exclusive tour, making stops at the Patisserie, Charcuterie, Fermentation Farm and so much more. Hit the info booth inside the OC Promenade at least an hour prior to tour time to sign up; tour times are 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. daily.
3. Marvel at larger-than-life murals, Bounty of the County: Celebrating Local Agriculture. The John Cerney mural project will feature Tanaka Farms, Neff Ranch and Frank Fitzpatrick’s 5 Bar Beef. A mural can be found at each of the three major public entry gates.
4. Learn about cows in a milking demonstration. Stop by the Millennium Barn in Centennial Farm to see how a cow gets milked: Maxine, a demo cow, will be front and center.
5. Visit the Livestock barns and showring. From birds to rabbits, cows, goats and pigs, there are all types of animals to see in the Livestock area, and you can learn from the 4-H or FFA club members on hand. Plus, check out the various activities in Livestock, including a Barnyard Fashion Show.
6. Participate in the Junior Livestock Auction. This is the largest livestock event at the OC Fair, and it’s a sight to see. Set up like a true auction, this is where the 4-H and FFA club members are able to see their livestock in a fundraiser that allows them to continue learning and farming. For more info on the auction, visit ocfair.com/competitions/auction.
7. Find the life-size portraits of farmers Outstanding in Their Field. Download an app called Live Portrait before heading to the fair, and when you happen upon a life-sized cutout of a farmer, scan it with the app. You will get a video and info about that farmer and learn about what they do for a living.
8. Sing along with Willie Nelson & Family and Alison Krauss. On Aug. 9, get tickets to see Willie and Alison in the Pacific Amphitheatre. You can sing along to one of country music’s greatest legends—and what’s more cowboy than that?
9. Have a farm-to-bar cocktail—a croptail! Hit up the OC Promenade for a tasty cocktail made from farm-fresh ingredients in the Craft Bar. During the day, you can try out a non-alcoholic mocktail that is just as delicious.
10. Stop by the Museum of Agrarian Art. This curated exhibit in the Visual Arts building will include contemporary artwork representing farming, agriculture and the people who cultivate the land, as well as replicas of renowned fine art masterpieces.
11. Participate in one of the Garden and Floral Competitions. From Container Plants to Pressed Botanicals, there are several horticulture competitions that you can enter to win the coveted prize: a blue ribbon! Deadlines are Aug. 6 and 7. Visit ocfair.com/competitions for details.
12. Go on the Garden Crawl. UCCE OC Master Gardeners will host a walking tour of Centennial Farm’s gardens and crops. Participants receive a prize at the end of the tour. Sign up on the day of; tours will be held weekdays during the Fair.
13. Hear from real-life farmers the Peterson Farm Bros. These guys work on an actual farm and barely have time to do anything else, but they are visiting the OC for a couple of days to bring a new spin on what farming is really like. Check them out on July 21 and 22 in the Livestock Arena and Centennial Farm. Preview them at youtube.com/petersonfarmbros.
14. Head on over to the rodeo. There are five nights of rodeos to choose from at Action Sports Arena, including Extreme Rodeo (Aug. 1 & 3), Broncs & Bulls (Aug. 2 & 4), and Fiesta del Charro. For more info, go to ocfair.com/action-sports-arena.
15. Cheer on the swine at the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs. Everybody’s favorite Livestock race is back, so pick your favorite number and cheer on a snorting, squealing swine. Races are daily at 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 p.m., but on Saturdays and Sundays, you get an extra show at 1 p.m.
The 2018 OC Fair is July 13-Aug. 12 and offers 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits and more. Hours are noon to midnight Wednesdays through Fridays, and 11 a.m. to midnight Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit ocfair.com.