O.C. Fair breaks attendance records -- and 8,000 deep-fried butter treats were sold
This summer's Orange County Fair broke the previous attendance record, officials said.
Mild weather, uncertainty about the fair's future, and perhaps the newest artery-clogging food — deep-fried butter — helped attract 1.15 million people.
The previous record was 1.09 million, set in 2007.
"In some respects, it feels like our team just won the Super Bowl," said O.C. Fair & Event Center President and Chief Executive Steve Beazley. "It's very fulfilling, as event producers, to see things go how you envisioned them."
This year, the 120th anniversary of the fair, saw the addition of a new building-and-entertainment venue called the Hangar, and the continuation of popular discount programs such as food and clothing donation drives.
Beazley said some visitors came because they thought this might be the last fair at this location. Earlier this year the state, which owns the property, nearly sold it to a private party. After that deal fell through, the city of Costa Mesa moved to buy the land for $96 million. That sale is still pending approval from the state Legislature.
A few numbers from the fair:
-- 4,000 gallons of soybean oil and 12,000 pounds of flour were used by Chicken Charlie, a long-standing vendor that serves fried desserts and other foods.
-- 2,000 jumbo funnel cakes were eaten. Only one person beat the challenge to finish a cake solo.
-- 8,000 deep-fried butter treats were sold.
-- Mike Reicher