This article is sponsored by the OC Fair, a 23-day celebration and winner of the Los Angeles Times 2011 Reader's Choice Award for The Best of Southern California. Learn more about the OC Fair at Ocfair.com.
Nothing signifies summer more than a classic American fair, full of exciting rides, delicious food, top notch entertainment and family fun.
For Southern California families looking to spend an action-packed day with their brood, there's the venerated OC Fair. Running every Wednesday through Sunday until August 12, this year's edition celebrates its "Home Sweet Home" theme with something--literally--for everyone.
In other words, this ain't just a simple cotton candy affair. So in order to ensure your family gets the most out of their day, let's take a closer look at the popular fair's broad offerings, from carnival rides to deep fried delights.
There will be all manners of cute on display thanks to petting zoos, hilarious piggy races and dog shows.
Adrenaline fans are sure to get their fix on Carnival favorites like the zipper and the Freefall, while tamer options like bumper cars should be a big hit with the little ones. Click here for ride prices and packages.
Everything from rodeo to motorcross to mixed marital arts performances should leave your pulse pounding, but the top draw in August is sure to be the five nights of demolition derbies, where you can watch cars, campers and even an all-female cast battle it out.
After you've satiated your extreme sports and roller coaster needs, it's time to stock up on the calories. Enjoy American favorites like burgers, dogs and corn on the cob, or dig into some guilty pleasures like deep fried Oreos and caramel apples. For attendees looking for something a little bit more upscale, or perhaps some tips on how to improve their own cooking, there will be demonstrations by celebrity chefs like Top Chef finalist Fabio Viviani.
Lest parents think this is an event catering solely to kids, there's the Toyota Summer Concert Series in The Pacific Amphitheater, ensuring that the fun doesn't stop when the sun goes down on the fair grounds. Relieve your 80s glory days with performances by Tears for Fears and Duran Duran, or keep it more contemporary with All-American Rejects, who will be performing with Eve 6. Classic rock and disco more your thing? Head on over to The Hanger for tribute bands celebrating the diverse likes of ABBA, Motley Crue, Neil Diamond, Pink Floyd and The Bee Gees. Or just keep the laughs going with acts like witty ventriloquist Jeff Dunham and pop music lampooner "Weird Al" Yankovic. Shows sell out so be sure to order tickets in advance.
Think of the OC Fair like a carnival, music festival and the X-Games rolled into one. For more information, plus hours and admission, please visit Ocfair.com.
And to help keep your clan organized, be sure to download the fair's free smartphone app for iPhone and Android, which allows you to navigate the fairgrounds with interactive maps, track down the food you're craving and locate your car.