October 21, 2021

Lucky Life

Arts Fanatics

Art is a Welcome Alternative at the OC Fair

5 min read



After a year and a half when the persistent coronavirus pandemic shut down nearly every live event, the OC Fair is back — and so is visual art at the fair.

Visual Art at the OC Fair

Where: Los Alamitos building, OC Fair, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa

When: Noon-11 p.m. Wednesdays to Fridays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Aug. 15

Tickets: $7-$14, included in fair admission; must be purchased in advance

Information: (714) 708-1624 or ocfair.com

The Visual Art Gallery is housed in the comfortable, air-conditioned Los Alamitos building on the southeast end of the Main Mall. It’s clean, quiet and contemplative, and can be a welcome respite from the heat, the crowds and the smoke emanating from various barbecues and grilling stands.

Incidentally, last year’s art exhibition did take place virtually and online. But it really is so much better to view art in person. You get more of a sense of the dimensions, colors and scale of the objects, rather than simply staring at a two-dimensional screen.

Note: Unvaccinated guests must wear masks when entering the Los Alamitos building (or any indoor space at the fair), and according to the latest CDC guidelines, even vaccinated folks should seriously consider wearing masks as well. No food or drinks are allowed. So, sorry, turkey leg enthusiasts and strolling beer drinkers.

As exhibits and education coordinator Stephen Anderson has pointed out in the past, all different types of people enter the fair’s art exhibition, and some have never set foot in a gallery. So the organizers try their best to present the works — by professionals, amateurs and young adults — in a pristine, professional, museum-like environment. 

This year’s visual art exhibition is smaller and more spaced out, due to COVID-19 precautions. The 2021 show features nearly 1,100 works, compared to more than 1,700 works in 2019 and more than 1,800 pieces in 2018.

This year, woodworking has been brought completely into the Los Alamitos building. In previous years, woodworking was based in the Anaheim building on the northeast end of the Main Mall, just north of the connecting Culinary Arts & Explorium area.

“It was simply a matter of one thing needed to move, which necessitated other moves,” said Leland Paxton, visual art coordinator for the OC Fair. “We are pleased that the wonderful woodworking on display has an opportunity to dialogue with the fine art and photography this summer.”

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