Yes, it really is that time of the year again. In fact, a week has already passed! You've still got four more weekends to get your fair face on, so let's get down to business.
Getting there doesn't have to be a drag.
If you mock all those taking the 55 and Fair Drive, then AVOID IT. We always resort to 405 and Fairview and drive in from a less populated direction. Trust us. Thanks to Tyana (our OC Fair ticket winner), we were also reminded of free parking at OCC on weekends. Way to save money! Hopping one of the designated bus lines, or the fair shuttle are also excellent alternations. Now where did our sunglasses go . . .
There will be security
Due to recent events, the fair now includes not only bag checks, but magnetic wanding and metal detectors. What this means for you is a much longer line than in previous years. Ways to keep your wait at a minimum include leaving selfie sticks and weapons at home. If you purchase tickets ahead of time, you are also not corralled with everyone else. We found that at Green Gate, when coming from the parking lot, a shorter security line can be spotted between the longer ones. Hopefully you experience similar shortcuts by your gate.
You will want to drink
As the Beers of the World selection gets a little better each year, we always have to remember to get our ID checked first before hopping in line. If something a little more fruity (but less boozy) is on your mind, walk towards Yellow Gate to Country Fair Smoothies for this $12.50 photo op. Their Pineapple Pina Colada Bomb incorporates crushed pineapple and fresh grated coconut. A designated selfie wall (complete with hashtag) and nearby Poke Stop round out your beverage experience.
You will want to eat
Foods we found ourselves devouring include French Toast Bacon Bombs (one-bite breakfast!) from Mike Peterson's Bacon-A-Fair near Green Gate, and this S'moreo from Texas Donuts near the Blue Gate that embodies the crafty donut trend. It's exactly what it sounds/looks like— mallow and chocolate goodness on a chewy canvas. There's even a Bacon Cheddar Brat Burger that eliminates the dilemma of "burger or hot dog?" over at Yellow Gate's Tasti Burger. As a side, swing by Pickle O' Pete's at the edge of Kiddie Carnival (Green Gate) for an order of Pickle Fries.
Still hungry? Take the Jumbo Mexican Funnel Cake Challenge by Yellow Gate. Stand at a designated podium for 30 minutes as you polish off their monstrosity of a dessert. Finish it, and it's free! Or go the cool route and get one of their Dole Whips at the same location. Inspired by Peterson's frustration while waiting in line at a certain theme park, this stands up to the classic.
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You will want to play
Some of our favorite things to do include catching a concert while we're there, since our show ticket includes admission to the fair. Bring a couple of quarters for the best foot massage ever, known as Footsie Wootsie, scattered throughout the fairgrounds. Then duck into one of the three Products areas for double-duty shopping galore and shelter from the heat. And if you happen to be around on Thursday, August 4, I will be judging a Chef Challenge inside the OC Promenade. Come cheer for the competition and vote for a winner.
The 2016 OC Fair is in town through Sunday, August 14. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Find out more at www.ocfair.com.