Bovine Boulevard: Costa Mesa Cattle Drive

"200 head of cattle" will take to the streets during the OC Fair.

Spying a magnificent animal that's notably larger than a dog trotting along a Southern California street isn't all that unusual. After all, the Rose Parade has spotlighted thousands of horses over the decades (or, more accurately, centuries).

But "200 head of cattle" is quite a different proposition, a horn-and-hoof-filled sight we equate with a rustic ranch or spread of land outside of a city, not the stoplight-laden thoroughfares of a busy burg.

A busy burg will see just that rare sight on Saturday, Aug. 8 when dozens of cows saunter around Costa Mesa. It's all part of the traditional Cattle Drive, one of the centerpiece events of the OC Fair. 

Of course, when we say "around" Costa Mesa we're not implying that the steer'll be steering for your side street or cul-de-sac; the bovine contingent and their human companions (read: cowboys and cowgirls) will stick closer to the area surrounding the fair's OC Fair & Event Center location.

Being on the public streets, this is one fair event that's 100% free to see.

There shall be other animals about beyond the cows, including a brigade of support horses. Look for the mane-bearing beauties at 8:30 a.m. in the Mesa del Mar neighborhood. Herding dogs shall also make some canine-cute cameos alongside the cattle.

The whole Cattle Drive'll take about an hour or maybe a little less, and it starts and ends at Cow Camp (find it at Adams and Pine Creek). Start time? Half past 10 in the morning.

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As for where the cows'll roam around Costa Mesa? There's a map for that. Next time you're sitting on Harbor Boulevard at Fair Drive, waiting for your light to change, maybe a few months from now, won't you remember fondly back to the time you saw cows snorting and hoofing it right where cars typically idle?

It's a rare, ranch-y, and oh-so-rustic happening for a happening area of Orange County.

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