Thousands of eager attendees flooded through the gates Friday to be among the first to attend the O.C. Fair.
Under overcast skies, about 30,000 people passed through within the first hour after the noontime opening, said Jerome Hoban, the fair's chief executive.
Michael Pursey of Harbor City got to the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa at 10 a.m., hoping to beat the crowds.
"I took a precaution because of the warning on the website," Pursey said. "It said, because of promotions and the traffic, allow yourself enough time, so that's what I did."
Pursey, who was attending for the 13th year in a row, didn't let the cloudy weather deter him.
"It was raining last night, and we kept checking the Internet for weather updates," he said. "I saw that the chance of rain dropped down to like 10% at 3 or 4 o'clock this morning, so I made a decision like, 'We're going.' So it should be a good day to go because it will be cloudy but no rain."
From noon to 1 p.m., patrons were given free admission to the fair, where they could indulge in shows, rides, games and, of course, deep-fried cuisine.
"We're looking forward to the food," Pursey said. "I heard they had some crazy stuff like frog legs, but I don't know if I'll go that far."
This summer's fair will offer the regular staples, including barbecue, ice cream and funnel cakes. There are also some more difficult choices for the calorie-conscious, such as chocolate-covered bacon and artery-busting burgers.
Charlie Boghosian, owner of Chicken Charlie's and Totally Fried, said that deep-fried Oreos were the first item he invented 10 years ago and remain his favorite on the menu.
Totally Fried customers also tend to gravitate toward deep-fried Klondikes and deep-fried avocados, he said.
His stand is offering new deep-fried selections this year, including cereal, pickles, ravioli and PB&J.;
According to Boghosian, this summer will also mark the return of deep-fried White Castle cheeseburgers.
The fair, whose theme this year is "Home Sweet Home," also has an array of family-friendly activities.
Some patrons said that they were also excited to see the animals.
"We like to look at the pigs and the cows," said Karen Robbins of Huntington Beach. "It's kind of silly, but we enjoy it."
Attendees can visit the petting zoo, watch the circus and root for their favorite pig among the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs.
The O.C. Fair will run through Aug. 12 and be open Wednesdays through Sundays. Last summer's fair set an attendance record, drawing 1.4 million visitors, according to fair officials.
For a complete listing of fair events, visit ocfair.com.