2019 OC Fair Law Enforcement Costs to Rise

The OC Fair in the 1960s. Photo courtesy Orange County Archives

With the 2019 Orange County Fair scheduled to start in less than two months, the OC Board of Supervisors will soon take up the important matter of how much money to spend on security. At its upcoming June 4 meeting, the supervisors will vote on whether to raise the maximum appropriation to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to $725,000.

This is substantially more money than what was appropriated even three years ago. Using data taken from county staff report on the appropriation, here’s a table of how much money the county appropriated for Sheriff’s services at the past six Orange County Fairs:

2013: $445,000

2014: $500,000

2015: $500,000

2016: $500,000

2017: $575,000

2018: $675,000

County officials say the increase is because Sheriff’s personnel will work more days at this year’s fair. The 2019 Orange County Fair runs from July 12 through August 11, but the contract for law enforcement services is a bit longer: it starts at 8 a.m. on July 1 and runs until 4 p.m. on August 20. 

“The maximum obligation of $725,000 for the 2019 Orange County Fair has increased $50,000 from that of the 2018 Orange County Fair maximum obligation of $675,000 as the duration of proposed services has increased,” states a county staff report on the contract. “The actual cost of services provided by Sheriff for the 2018 Orange County Fair was $675,000, which was the amount reimbursed by the State.”

Sheriff’s personnel will provide security all over the fair, “including, but not limited to, permanent and temporary buildings, parking lots, fenced areas, all perimeter and entrance gates, Pacific Amphitheatre, Action Sports Arena and Hangar venues for the 32nd District Agricultural Association,” states the proposed contract. The staff report states that at the conclusion of the Fair, the State of California will reimburse Orange County for all law enforcement costs incurred at the Fair.

The County staff report also includes a breakdown of the estimated regular and overtime hourly rates for the Sheriff’s personnel who will work the Fair:

And yes, crime does happen at the OC Fair.  In 1993, a carnival worker who turned out to be a convicted child molester was arrested after allegedly fondling three girls (he later pled guilty to fondling five girls). Twelve years later, another convicted sex offender was arrested for violating his probation while working at the Fair. Oh, and on July 20, 2008, an off-duty Irvine PD detective rushed the stage at Pacific Amphitheatre after Dropkick Murphys show. When a private security guard to stop him, he allegedly struck her on the neck and chest, according to Sept. 13, 2008 LA Times story.


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