2018 OC Fair starts this Friday

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The OC Fair starts this week so summertime has officially begun—bring on the excitement, food, rides and moments you will remember for a lifetime.

The 2018 OC Fair invites every fairgoer to “Free Your Inner Farmer”—wave your hat in the air and celebrate our agricultural heritage with OC style. You can even wear overalls and get in free until 3 p.m. on Thursdays—there are deals all 23 days of the Fair.

The 128th annual OC Fair opens July 13 and runs through Aug. 12. Pacific Amphitheatre will launch the Toyota Summer Concert Series with several pre-Fair shows starting July 7.

Here are highlights of the excitement coming this summer to the 2018 OC Fair:

NEW THIS YEAR

Fair food – Fairgoers who have been saving up calories for their summer Fair treats can choose from truffle potato tots, spaghetti donuts, fried filet mignon on a stick, spicy fried cheese curds, caramel crack fries, ramen burritos, fried apple tacos and hot Cheetoes on everything.

Gigantic farmers: Bounty of the County – Three 16-foot-tall murals by artist John Cerney honoring local farmers and ranchers will greet fairgoers at the three main gates of the OC Fair. Plus, human-scale displays showcasing California’s own farm stars share video stories with guests at the click of an app.

Craft Bar – Farm-to-bar mocktails (and cocktails after dark) will include hand-picked garden ingredients sure to refresh and inspire and featuring locally crafted spirits from San Clemente’s Drift Distillery.

Daredevils & Wheels – A wild, live-action stunt show at Action Sports Arena July 18-22, this outrageous spectacle features the Globe of Death steel ball, Vortex of Doom aerial platform raceway and a motorcycle high wire.

Peterson Farm Brothers – Real-life singing Kansas farmers turned YouTube sensations will give Fair guests a unique view of real life on a farm in 2018 – and you can even sing along, July 21-22.

Bravemind exhibit at Heroes Hall – This new exhibition shows how a virtual reality technology from USC is helping veterans overcome PTSD in the real world.

Culinary Crawl – This guided tour takes fairgoers through a mini version of OC’s curated culinary offerings, from a Patisserie to a Charcuterie, featuring insider info and tastings. Free tours will be held four times daily.

Selfie pop-up museum – Stay tuned for details on this only-at-the-OC-Fair pop-up selfie experience that will celebrate the unique and Instagram-worthy fun of the Fair. My Fair Selfie is set to open on July 20.

RETURNING FAIR FAVORITES

OC Brew Hee Haw craft beer festival – Saturday, July 14, and Sunday, July 15. Get tickets at ocbrewheehaw.com.

Junior Livestock Auction – Saturday, July 21, at the Livestock Show Ring. See ocfair.com/junior-livestock-auction for details.OC Fair Fun Run 5K – Sunday, Aug. 5. Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the summer’s funnest 5K! Register at ocfair5k.com.

Also coming back for more summer fun: All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, Peking Acrobats, comedy hypnotist Mark Yuzuik, The Conjurer, Russell Brothers Circus, Frank Thurston, Explorium and more.

DEALS

We Care Wednesdays – Offering free Fair admission with donation on Wednesdays until 3 p.m. See ocfair.com/deals for donation details.

NEW! Overalls Day – Free your inner farmer by wearing overalls and get free admission on Thursdays until 3 p.m.

Kids Day – Kids 12 and younger get in free all day every Thursday.

Carnival Fun – Get unlimited ride wristbands for $35 each on Wednesdays and Thursdays (sold until 4 p.m., valid until 8 p.m.).

$3 Taste of Fair Food – Sample food items available for just $3 each, every Thursday until 4 p.m.

Best Deal Ever – Get half-price general admission ($7) and enjoy the carnival for half the tickets to ride on Saturdays and Sundays until 1 p.m.

NEW! Sunday Fun Day – Get half-price general admission ($7) and a $35 unlimited ride wristband (sold until 1 p.m.; valid until 4 p.m.) for ultimate family fun.

MUSIC

The Toyota Summer Concert Series at Pacific Amphitheatre will feature headliners such as Steve Martin and Martin Short, Brett Eldredge, Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss, Trevor Noah, The Psychedelic Furs with -X- and The Fixx, and so much more. Plus, several pre-Fair and post-Fair shows have been added to the summer season, including two nights of Stray Cats.

Full lineup: pacamp.com

Over at The Hangar, the best in tribute bands will top off the night every Wednesday through Saturday with acts like Journey Unauthorized, Zeppelin Live, Hotel California and BOSTYX. Plus, The Hangar will feature Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, Foghat, Ozomatli and Firefall with Poco.

Full lineup: ocfair.com/the-hangar

FAIR BASICS

2018 OC Fair theme: “Free Your Inner Farmer”

Dates: July 13-Aug. 12, Wednesday-Sunday

Hours: Wednesday-Friday, noon-midnight; Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-midnight

Admission:

Wednesday-Friday: $12 general, $7 senior (60+) and youth (ages 6-12), free for children 5 and younger and veterans/active-duty military with ID

Saturday-Sunday: $14 general, $7 senior (60+) and youth (ages 6-12), free for children 5 and younger and veterans/active-duty military with ID

Parking: $10 cars, $20 buses and limos

Free offsite parking and shuttle is available Saturdays and Sundays from Experian in Costa Mesa; shuttle funs 10 a.m.-1 a.m.

OC Fair Express: Catch the bus from one of nine OC locations on Saturdays and Sundays for $4 round trip, and get a $4 Fair admission coupon. Seniors ride for $1.50 round trip: More info: ocfairexpress.com. 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. OC Fair is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Dr. in Costa Mesa. For more information, visit ocfair.com or call 714-708-1500.

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