OC Fair reopens gates in 2021

By David Herbold, April 20, 2021

After a year-long hiatus, Southern California county fairs are preparing to invite students back to the long-awaited summer nights filled with thrills and laughter. With the state’s progression in containing COVID-19, county fairs are planning for their reappearances amid the unusual year.

The Orange County Fair will host its usual event with safety protocols and modifications in place starting July 16, according to a March 25 announcement on its website.

Following the lead of theme parks like Disneyland and Six Flags, the OC Fair will be prioritizing health protocols during its reopening this year. The safety measures it will be implementing include limiting the number of people entering the fairgrounds by requiring visitors to purchase tickets online before attending the event.

The event will also be hosted with a limited 75% capacity and enforced mask wearing. Other health guidelines are scheduled to release when the event date approaches.

Many of the usual fair favorites are anticipated to return this year at the OC Fair with staples like fried food, massive rides and a wide array of games making a comeback after missing in action for a year.

The pricing structure for the fair remains the same with the general admission fee ranging from $12 to $14 depending on the day. Passes purchased for last year’s fair will be honored this year.

As Cal Poly Pomona students consider their summer plans, some are open to the idea of attending the nearby county fairs.

“Given that infection rates are trending down and vaccination rates are trending higher, I believe holding the fairs can be done safely with modifications such as masking and smaller capacity,” said Angelica Salgado, a fourth-year business administration student.

Sharing the excitement, second-year computer science student, Seth Collins, voiced that visiting fairs may be entertaining as long as the usual activities remain consistent.

“I would consider visiting the fair, but it depends on who is playing at the concerts as that is what I would be most interested in doing. I would also consider eating some of the fair food,” Collins said.

On the other hand, the Los Angeles County Fair is taking a different approach and will be forgoing its annual celebration to host a smaller event, believing that the traditional format would be a “public health and financial risk,” according to a statement on its website. More information on the upcoming event is to be released in the near future.

In lieu of housing the annual fair, Fairplex is currently supporting the community in other ways, serving as a COVID-19 testing and vaccination site. It is also hosting a drive-up food pantry to support residents in need and providing temporary housing to migrant children.

Despite the differences in fair reopening plans, some students are reminiscing the happy memories of returning to fairgrounds.

“The last time I went to a fair, I was 14,” said Ashton Cornell, an incoming chemistry student. “The thing I remember best is from when I was little, I begged to go on the Ferris wheel, and I remember waiting all day. After hours of patience, we finally went, and I remember being amazed at how high it was.”

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