COSTA MESA — The monthlong Orange County Fair promises a smorgasbord of events, music, fried food and amusements when it opens Friday with a theme appropriate for a trying 2010: The Beat Goes On.
Though the event is built around the familiar and nostalgic, there are plenty of new elements this year.
The Hanger, a new 23,000 square-foot aviation-style building, will be opened to fairgoers. During the day, the Hanger will be a venue for various community events and entertainments. At night, it will be home to concerts and sporting events, such as Lucha Libre, a Mexican wrestling event.
The Forever Fair exhibit at the Memorial Gardens will celebrate 120 years of history. Forever Fair offers a "decade-by-decade" history of the fair, from the time it started offering only livestock exhibitions and a small horse race for five days, to the present day, where hundreds of events make the OC Fair the third-largest in the nation, said Renee Fontes, the exhibit's designer.
Missing from the exhibit, but clearly in the background, is the almost yearlong saga of the sale of the 150-acre fairgrounds. The state recently announced that it has tentatively accepted Costa Mesa's offer to buy — with the help of a private company — the fairgrounds for $96 million.
"It's really a history exhibit," Fontes said. "It's not so much about current events that are still up in the air and changing all the time. This is more about how the fair was established, how it's moved forward."
Selling or keeping the fairgrounds isn't what matters at this time because the fair will go on, said Steve Beazley, fairgrounds' president and chief executive.
"It's important to know that even if the fairgrounds does sell, you can be sure that there's still going to be changes next year because that's how the fair lasted 120 year – because of change," he said. "It's ever-evolving, like the community. The community never stays the same and that's how the fair lasted 120 years."
The Ice Museum is also new to this year's fair, Wachner said.
Twice a day the small room will offer live ice-carving demonstrations. People can get inside the museum, or keep warm and watch from outside windows, said O.C. Fairgrounds spokeswoman Robin Wachner.
And for those who enjoy skating, the fair also has a space for them this year.
The Budweiser Clydesdales will also visit the fair from Aug. 11 to 15.
And for those who wanted to participate in culinary competitions, but missed the deadline earlier this year, there's still a chance for that.
Competitors can make submissions for six challenges starting July 24 .
The fair will operate Wednesdays through Sundays through Aug. 15.
IF YOU GO
General ages 13 to 59: $10
Seniors 60 and older: $7
Children ages 6 to 12: $5
Children younger than 6 get in free
Nightly Entertainment at the Hangar
Wild Child: Jim Morrison Tribute
Blasphemous Rumours: Depeche Mode Tribute
Dog 'N' Butterfly: Heart Tribute
Michael Jackson LaserSpectacular
Pink Floyd LaserSpectacular
Hotel California: Eagles Tribute
The Joshua Tree: U2 Tribute
Royal Crown Revue
Vitalogy: Pearl Jam Tribute
Journey Unauthorized: Journey Tribute
Led Zeppelin Live with Heartbreaker: Led Zeppelin Tribute
Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez
Purple Reign: Prince Tribute
Wild Child: Jim Morrison Tribute
Mark Wood and the Parrot Head Band: Jimmy Buffet Tribute
Sweet & Tender Hooligans: Morrisey/Smiths Tribute
Jumping Jack Flash: Rolling Stones Tribute
The Grascals – Bluegrass
Colin Hay of Men at Work
Los Angeles Times Summer Concert Series at Pacific Amphitheatre:
The Pink Floyd Experience
Blue Oyster Cult
Sammy Hagar and The Wabos
w/ DJ Richard Blade
The Fab Four
Sgt. Pepper's Experience
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts w/Cherie Currie