The world had high hopes for the summer of 2020 at the start of this year. Plans of concerts, beach trips, movie dates and visits to the fair were all on our minds. That is, of course, until COVID-19 emerged and suddenly put a halt to all social aspects of life. Events were immediately canceled or postponed, most until 2021, which left many people feeling hopeless.
One of the biggest annual events of the summer in Southern California is the Orange County Fair, which brought nearly 1.4 million visitors to the city of Costa Mesa in 2019. However, in a unanimous vote back in late April, the OC Fair board of directors decided that the fair would be canceled for the summer. This cancellation, although necessary, was still upsetting as it has been a staple event for nearly 130 years.
The board immediately began to brainstorm ways that the fair could entertain the community while still adhering to permitting requirements. The OC Fair offered drive-in concerts featuring bands such as The Fab Four, a Beatles tribute band, whose tickets sold out.
Terry Moore, communications director for the OC Fair and Events Center, said that food was a natural choice for their new drive-thru event this season, since each year surveys show that fairgoers find food to be the No.1 attraction above music, art and rides. The bizarre food options offered are what bring guests in from all over the world. Foods such as buffalo chicken chimichangas, waffle pizzas, and even the famous Krispy Kreme Triple Decker Cheeseburger.
Although the OC Fair offers a plethora of food options, some vendors may be hard to get a hold of during these times. The new OC Fair food drive-thru offered only a handful of vendors for its first weekend, serving Hawaiian food bowls, cookies, corn dogs, ice cream and even the highly reputable turkey leg. It’s evident that people were missing these fair foods, as cars waited in line for multiple hours just to place orders.
As it is the first drive-thru event ever orchestrated by the OC Fair, Moore understands that there’s room for improvement for the following weekends in order to make it easier on both the customers and the vendors.
“We are currently working through some logistics,” Moore said. “Vendors are also looking for ways to serve more quickly and we anticipate some menu changes.”
More vendors were added to the second weekend’s menu such as Juicy’s Corn, Fried A Fair and Juicy’s Funnel Cakes. The OC Fair is listening to what their fans want through social media, and is working diligently to arrange their favorite vendors to join the event.
Many guests were patient and thankful to all workers dedicated to providing a safe yet enjoyable experience. The OC Fair aims to continue to hold events like these to bring some leisure to the community. Future events planned include the Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt, which will offer guests a spooky, immersive experience through shows and effects all from the safety of their own car.
The fair’s drive-thru runs through Sept. 27 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. To find hours, vendors and more details visit https://ocfair.com/oc-fair/fair-food-drive-thru/.