For its 128th annual go-round next year, the Orange County Fair is again returning to its roots.
The theme for the 2018 fair — "Free Your Inner Farmer" — was announced during Thursday's Orange County Fair Board meeting.
Much like last summer's fair, which offered "Farm Fresh Fun" to more than 1.3 million visitors, next year's theme is meant to celebrate Orange County's agricultural history and spotlight the agrarian tradition of the Costa Mesa fairgrounds.
"We are going to have a great time with our 'Free Your Inner Farmer' theme," Fair & Event Center Chief Executive Kathy Kramer said in a statement Thursday. "It really speaks to what we all love about the annual OC Fair — animals, uncomplicated summer fun, making memories and reconnecting with our agricultural roots."
A particular focus of the 2018 event — which will run July 13 through Aug. 12 — will be saluting the people responsible for shepherding food from farm to table, as well as those who enjoy the fruits of that labor, according to fairgrounds officials.
The fair is one of Orange County's signature events and typically draws more than 1 million visitors to Costa Mesa during its summer run.
The theme for the 2019 fair hasn't been revealed, but officials said Thursday that it will focus on land and the environment.
5 Cirque du Soleil shows coming to fairgrounds
Also on Thursday, the Fair & Event Center announced an agreement to host a series of Cirque du Soleil productions at the fairgrounds over the next decade.
Five shows are scheduled through 2028, according to fairgrounds officials. The first, "Luzia," will run Feb. 21 through March 18 next year.
Though the Canadian theatrical company has performed at the fairgrounds before — most recently in 2015 — those productions were single-year contracts.
"The OC Fair & Event Center is an outstanding site for our 'Big Top' touring shows, as it is well-known and perfectly located in Orange County," Jörg Schlegel, the company's director of tour development, said in a statement.
For more information on the upcoming show, visit cirquedusoleil.com/luzia.