COSTA MESA — The 121st O.C. Fair is "very likely" to set an attendance record this season, a top official said Monday.
The fair, which opened July 15, has had 20% higher attendance at the halfway mark than last year, which is the current record holder, said Chief Executive Steven Beazley.
"I've never seen anything like what's happening now," he said.
Beazley has worked for the fair for 37 years.
Last year, the fair broke its 2007 record for highest attendance, with 1.15 million visitors.
This year, the fair is projected to reach 1.41 million visitors, if the average daily attendance of 61,500 continues.
As of Sunday, 800,000 have visited the fair compared to 658,000 at the same time in 2010.
The fair's unprecedented success could be attributed to any number of variables, but the weather, a diverse lineup of entertainment and specifically this year's theme, "Let's Eat!", really captured the public's attention, according to Beazley.
"'Let's Eat' is really just another way to say, 'Let's all come together and celebrate,'" he said.
The fair's newest promotion, Rise & Shine, which offers visitors $2 admission from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekends, has been the most popular promotion in the history of the fair and has doubled attendance during that hour, Beazley said.
Wednesdays, when visitors can bring in a specific item to donate in exchange for free attendance and one free carnival ride between noon and 4 p.m., have also been popular, he said.
"I think we are providing a lot of value for cost," he said.