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    OC Fair 2023: What you need to know about tickets, parking and getting in
    • July 9, 2023

    The Ferris wheel stands tall, ready for riders; thousands of stuffed animals are waiting for the winners to take them home; you can almost smell the kettle corn.

    It is time for the 2023 OC Fair, which opens at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 14, for its 23-day run at the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.

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    More than 1 million people are expected to visit the fair over the next four weeks, feeding their adrenaline needs on the midway, shopping for their next favorite gadget in the products buildings, taking delight in the sounds of crunching cars in the demolition derby and otherwise enjoying the vast selection of entertainment available.

    Here is what you need to know to park, pay and get inside:

    When and where is the 2023 OC Fair?

    The 23-day OC Fair kicks off July 14 and continues through Aug. 13; it is closed Monday and Tuesdays.

    Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and 11 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

    The OC Fair & Event Center is at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa; just off the 55 Freeway.

    How much is admission?

    General admission has increased slightly this year; entry now costs $13 on Wednesdays and Thursdays and $15 on Fridays and weekends.

    Ages 60 and older pay $9 any day, as do those 6 to 12. Ages 5 and younger are free.

    This is the key part: Admission is capped and tickets need to be purchased online ahead of time. Several days did sell out last year, so you will want to plan your trip. Dates with popular acts at the Pacific Amphitheatre and The Hangar tend to be among the days that sell out.

    New this year is the Every Day Passport available for $60, which has no restrictions on what days or what time you can visit the fair. There are a limited number available.

    What kind of discounts are available?

    With the cap on daily admission at about 45,000 visitors, the fair is not offering the discounted and free ticket options it once did.

    Tickets for shows at the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena do include free fair admission on the day of the show. And there is the $60 Every Day Passport for people who like to visit a lot.

    Carnival tickets and unlimited ride wristbands are on sale at discounted rates online through July 13.

    And on Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m. you can sample select fair foods for $4 each.

    What items are you allowed to take into the OC Fair?

    Snacks and beverages in factory-sealed containers are allowed. Water bottles are allowed if factory sealed or empty when you get to the gate. No cans, glass or outside alcohol are permitted. No hard-sided coolers allowed. All belongings are subject to inspection before entering the fairgrounds.

    Wagons and strollers are allowed and they are also available for rent.

    Pets are not allowed though service animals as defined by the ADA are.

    There is no smoking or vaping allowed during the fair, either inside buildings or outside around the fairgrounds.

    Selfie sticks and drones are not welcome, nor are weapons.

    What are the parking options?

    Parking is $12 at the fairgrounds.

    Use Gate 1 on Fair Drive, which is the main gate, for Uber/Lyft/taxi drop-off and pickup.

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    ​ Orange County Register