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OC Fair's theme for 2017: 'Farm Fresh Fun'

OC Fair's theme for 2017: 'Farm Fresh Fun'
A largestatue of a cow outside the OC Fair & Event Center, a nod to Orange County’s agricultural roots, fits the theme of this summer’s county fair, “Farm Fresh Fun.” (Luke Money | Daily Pilot)

An immense statue of a black and white cow greeted people attending Thursday's Orange County Fair Board meeting.

The bovine wasn't just an aesthetic addition. It's a nod to the county's agricultural heritage, which will be front and center during the upcoming OC Fair.

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On Thursday, the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa announced the theme of this summer's edition: "Farm Fresh Fun."

The aim, officials said, is to celebrate local agriculture and educate the public about its continued importance, even though the county has become much more urban over the years.

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"It has to connect with our urban Orange County community," Michele Richards, vice president of business development for the Fair & Event Center, said Thursday of the agricultural emphasis. "It has to be relevant to us in Orange County who are not necessarily exposed to agriculture on a daily basis. And, of course, it has to be fun."

Though many people might associate the fair more with rides, carnival games and fried concoctions, part of the Fair & Event Center's mission is to celebrate the county's agricultural roots.

The fairgrounds already are home to Centennial Farm, a 3-acre space with fruit and vegetable gardens and livestock.

The agrarian focus won't be restricted solely to the 127th annual fair, which will run July 14 through Aug. 13.

The 2018 and 2019 fairs also will be rooted in the agricultural realm, though their official themes haven't been released.

"In 2017, 2018 and 2019, we'll use the Orange County Fair to celebrate community, celebrate education and particularly celebrate agriculture," Richards said.

Recent OC Fair themes have included last year's "Get Your Fair Face On," "One Big Party" in 2015 and "Summer Starts Here" in 2014.

The annual fair always draws throngs of people to the Costa Mesa fairgrounds. Last year's event attracted about 1.34 million visitors — the fourth-highest attendance ever.

Twitter: @LukeMMoney

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