Feeding time! Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County Fair
Feeding time! Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County Fair

County Fairs and State Fairs for SoCal Kids in 2021

Is there anything better than a county fair? Ferris wheels, hot dogs, funnel cake, live music, cars, and cows are all waiting for our city kids. Luckily for Angelenos, Southern California has several great fairs to choose from—and a couple of them have big news this year. The Orange County Fair is the first of the fairs to return, the Los Angeles County Fair is moving to a new time of year, and there's a brand new fair coming to LA. Read on for the scoop on the returning fairs and all about the new kid on the block...

Looking for more summer fun? We've got FREE things kids can do in LA this summer and 100 bucket list things to do with LA kids before they grow up.

Here's what's happening at the biggest and best county fairs in 2021 (and 2022) in Southern California.

Orange County Fair

When: July 16 - August 15, 2021

Admission: $12 Wednesday - Thursday, $14 Friday - Sunday; $7 for ages 6-12 and 60+; kids 5 and younger free; carnival ride prices vary, check for specials and discounts. (Super Passes are not offered this year due to limited capacity; however, if you have a pass from 2020, it will be honored this year.)

What to expect: The OC Fair is the first of the fairs to return after last year’s cancellations. It’s back in full strength, with almost 100 food vendors, live music in The Hangar and The Pacific Amphitheater, and two carnival areas: Main Carnival and Kidland. Visit old favorites like Centennial Farm, Reptile House, and Pet Center. You can purchase ride and game tickets online by buying a FunPass, which can be loaded up ahead of time and lets guests purchase passes, recharge passes, check the value of passes, and more. These passes can even be shared between family and friends. Once passes have been purchased or added, use the FunPass app on smartphones to access rides and games.

OC Fair: Fun for Kids

Imaginology encourages kids to use their imagination and creativity. Photo courtesy of the OC Fair

Fair Highlights: Pig out on cheap samples of all the goodies at the fair – the $3 Taste of Fair Food event is every Thursday from 10am to 4pm. For kids who love to read (or need a reason to read more this summer), sign up for the Read and Ride offer: Read 2 books, get 3 free carnival rides. (One form per child, per day for kids ages 5-11.) Don’t miss the newest offerings from food vendors including Deep-Fried Hot Dog Bites from Pink’s Hot Dogs or the Hot Cheeto-n-Cheese Burger (a flame-grilled charbroiled burger in a toasted bun dipped in melted cheddar cheese then rolled in ground-up hot Cheetos) from Biggys. So much good music is at the fair this summer: ABBA-LA performs on July 17 and “I am King - Michael Jackson Experience” is on August 13. Concert tickets include park admission.

For mask-wearing rules and other details about sanitation at the fair, check out the detailed Health and Safety Information.

The Fair at Santa Anita Park at night

There's something magical about a fair at night. Photo courtesy of State Fair Ent.

Fair at Santa Anita Park

When: July 29 - August 22, 2021

Admission: $10 Thursdays, $12 Friday-Sunday  $7 for 60+ and kids 6-12 every day, children under 5 are free. Ticket packages and parking packages are also available; they include unlimited ride passes and season passes, both of which can really help save some money.

What to expect: Hooray! At a time when more things are getting pushed back or canceled, this is a breath of fresh air. The Santa Anita Fair is brand new this year and ready to impress. Onsite activities include fun for all ages: fair rides and games, local and national entertainment, a social media stage, food booths, and a designated kids’ area. The fair’s organizers are working hard to have the smallest possible carbon footprint, so there will be no single-use beverage containers, plastic straws, or Styrofoam containers used at this event. (Plans include 100% recyclable food and beverage containers or those made from 90% recycled material.)

Fair Highlights: Don’t miss the Extreme Dogs Stunt Show—it's a big kid-pleaser! There's a fun list of performances all summer that includes “Saturday Night Fever - The International Tribute to The Bees Gees” on August 7 and Mariachi Las Divas on August 15.

For mask-wearing rules and other details about sanitation at the fair, check out the detailed Health and Safety Information.

LA County Fair: Fair Food

Who doesn't love outsized fair food? Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County Fair

Los Angeles County Fair

When: May 5 - 30, 2022

What to expect: More good news! While it was a bummer to hear that the LA County Fair was getting pushed to 2022, one thing made up for that: we don't have to wait for August of 2022 for the fair as it will be back in May. And that May date is the new permanent time for the fair, which is fabulous for those of us who have always loved the fair but have suffered sunburns and dehydration for that love! Also, next year the Los Angeles County Fair celebrates a huge milestone—the 100th anniversary of the very first LA County Fair, held in 1922. Hours, pricing, exhibits, competitions, and more will be available in the coming months. Check LACountyFair.com for updates.

Fair Highlights: The 2022 fair plans to revisit its early days of tent expositions and the introduction of inventions like the Frisbee, while providing all the exciting, family-friendly entertainment kids today love.

Ventura County Fair

When: The Ventura County Fair is postponed this year, but promises to be back—bigger and better—in 2022. Dates for the fair are still TBD.

This fair has been around since the 1870s and is (usually) Ventura's biggest event of the summer with concerts, a rodeo, carnival rides, horse shows, livestock displays, and a youth expo.

Devoted fair-goers have a unique opportunity to be part of the fair this year with the #fairgroundsstrong Brick Campaign. Families can support the Ventura County Fair by buying an inscribed brick to be placed in the Fairgrounds’ Heritage Square. Next summer, kids can walk into the fair and see their names sandblasted into the walkway. The campaign is designed to raise funds that will keep the fairgrounds maintained for recreation and keep the fair going for decades (hopefully, centuries!) to come.

Underwood Family Farms' Annual Fall Harvest Festival
Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark - 9:00 AM
Spooky Zoo (at the Santa Barbara Zoo)
Santa Barbara Zoo - 9:30 AM
Rancho Los Cerritos Storytime
Rancho Los Cerritos - 10:00 AM
Manga Fun for Kids Virtual Class
Creatively Wild Art Studio - 3:30 PM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides