Animals, Fried Treats, Spinning Rides: OC Fair Opens

This time of year. We love it so. First comes the San Diego County Fair in June, then Orange County in July, next Ventura in August, and finally, Los Angeles County Fair in September. If you're an aficionado of fried Pop Tarts and shammy demonstrations and rodeo and concerts and massive pumpkins, then for a solid third of the year you're a happy little lamb should you call this area home.

It's July which means three things in SoCal: Independence Day. The heat's officially arrived. And the opening of Orange County Fair.

Because OC Fair is so gargantuan -- we'll say it rivals some state fairs in size, and we'll mean it -- we'll just cover a few of the basics:

2009 Theme: Think. Big. This is solid. Big like a Ferris Wheel, big like a nodding sunflower head, big like a double dog, extra sauerkraut.

Concerts: Whoa. Pacific Amphitheatre. That is one excellent outdoor venue, with room to stand and shake it if you are so moved. Shows during the fair: Duran Duran. Yes. Duran Duran. And Heart. And Moody Blues. A soft, foggy evening at Pacific Amphitheatre does feel a bit like a night in white satin. We said it.

Food: It isn't all fried deliciousness, but should you seek that, you shall find it, and you shall grab several napkins; we like seeing the new fried offerings every year because they astound. Will ice be fried next? Grown-ups (like ourselves) also like the wine tasting area. And would we depart Costa Mesa without consuming *two* roasted corns speckled in lemon pepper? We would not.

Rides, Animals, Art... All of that. Now we're feeling overwhelmed. New attraction for '09: Al's Brain. Weird Al Yankovic-based fun. There's also a spotlight on pigs at the fair. Pre-squealing/wagging curly tail at the mere thought.

OC Fair blooms July 10th through August 9 at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. Closed Mondays and Tuesday, please note.

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