If you think county fairs are all about fried Twinkies, think again. Many, like the Orange County Fair on right now, are accenting farm-to-table connections by serving up samples of artisanal olive oil and locally made kombucha.
And this year there's a new two-fairs-for-the-price-of-one offer too.
O.C. Fair: Orange County's fair is packed with food booths, rides and live entertainment. But drill down into the daily events guide on the website and you'll find gems like this: "Former Blue Man Group performer Don Kohler who will demonstrate how to make unique Icelandic geothermal rye bread in your home kitchen" at 5 p.m. Aug. 13. You'll also find specialty foods such as "non-GMO, vegan-friendly beer" too.
Single-day tickets cost $12 Wednesdays through Fridays, $14 on weekends. Children 6 to 12 years old get in for $7; children 5 and younger are free. (The fair closes Mondays and Tuesdays.)
Extra savings: From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, visitors get half off general admission and half off ride tickets plus free offsite parking.
Info: O.C. Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa; (714) 751-3247
Ventura County Fair: Talk about your traditional events. This fair started in 1875 and continues to offer contests, farm animal viewing, free concerts, rides and of course food.
This year's live music lineup includes Smash Mouth (Aug. 3), Sugar Ray (Aug. 3), KC and the Sunshine Band (Aug. 5) and "FluffyMania" comic Gabriel Iglesias (Aug. 10). There will be free rodeo shows Aug. 12 and 13.
Single-day tickets cost $12 and $9 for children 5 to 12 years old. It's open daily starting at 11 a.m.
Extra savings: Go on Dollar Day and pay $1 before 3 p.m. Aug. 1, and Kids Day means those 12 and younger get in free on Aug. 4.
Info: Ventura County Fairgrounds, 10 W. Harbor Blvd., (805) 648-3376