Imaginology returns to OC Fair & Event Center April 21st!

It’s that time of year again! Families, students, and fun-lovers alike will enjoy STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities during the FREE Imaginology event at OC Fair & Event Center this Friday through Sunday, April 21-23.

Imaginology is where curious people of any age can discover opportunities to fuel their imaginations with a variety of “makeshops” and workshops. Imaginology attendees are encouraged to explore and learn through hands-on experiences and exhibits ranging from woodworking to crocheting, prehistoric pets to futuristic robotics, and tech play to farming.

This exciting, three-day exploration celebration is open Friday April 21st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, April 22nd and 23rd, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and many of the hands-on activities are included. Parking is free on Friday, and $8 on Saturday and Sunday.

There’s so much to explore during this fun and educational weekend! Here’s what you can find at Imaginology:

Creative learning: Students can participate in activities including sun prints, clay sculpting, sewing, tech play, cardboard building projects, crocheting and more. Local professionals and Imaginology staff lead the demonstrations and all necessary equipment and supplies are provided. Participants can take home the crafts and artwork they create.

Free family group contests: Family members and friends can team up at Imaginology to compete in onsite contests to decorate the best sawhorse or scarecrow. There are awards and prize money. It’s free to enter and basic materials (sawhorse, scarecrow, clothing and some decorations) will be provided but teams are encouraged to bring their own decorations to make their entry unique.

Games and activities: Enjoy interactive and innovative activities that make learning math exciting, interesting and fun. Families and students can try cool games and get involved in activities such as Blockopolis, Ice Caves, Conic Connections, Code Breaker and Math & Golf.

Centennial Farm: Guests can check out animals and crops on the three-acre working farm and enjoy free tractor rides, an oxen exhibit, blacksmithing, sheep-shearing demonstrations, radish-seed planting, cow milking and the OC Beekeepers exhibit.

4-H competitions: Local youth are judged on their abilities to raise small livestock, their understanding of animal and veterinary sciences and their projects on community service, aerospace, electricity and more.

Vital Link STEM + the Arts Career Showcase: Vital Link provides resources to help students discover and consider professional careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) with exciting competitive displays, workshops and competitions.

More free activities: Exhibitors will offer things to do and see including Wild Science Activity Area, Adventureland kids’ area and family-friendly entertainment.

For more information, visit http://www.ocfair.com/steam/ or head over to the OC Fair & Event Center to see for yourself!

How to Get the Most Fun for Your Money at the OC Fair! (Giveaway!)

The OC Fair is coming up in just a couple of weeks and it’s no secret that this is one of my absolute favorite things to do every Summer with my family. We haven’t missed a year since we started going when my oldest was little! I usually save up a little cash ahead of time so that we can thoroughly enjoy our visit without breaking the bank. You might be surprised at how much FREE and cheap fun the fair can offer! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for an awesome giveaway too!

How to Save Money at the OC Fair! [Read more…]

Everything You Need to Know About Winter Fest 2015

(Disclosure: My family was offered free admission to this event to check it out. We were not required to share our thoughts, but I thought it might be helpful to share our experience with those who are on the fence about going.)

IMG_0232

Winter Fest opened last night, Friday December 18th with mixed reviews. I attended with my family and though at first I wasn’t sure what to expect, as the night unfolded we ended up having a really amazing time. If you’re still on the fence about going, here’s everything you need to know before you decide.

Admission

Tickets are priced different. Monday through Friday adults are $20 and children are $10, when bought online. On Saturday and Sunday the tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children. At the gate all tickets are $5 more.

Save more money by buying your tickets online in advance and use the promo code “REINDEER” for an extra $5 off each ticket.

IMG_0177

Activities

Here is what you get just for the price of admission:

  • Coupon for 1 free ride and 1 free carnival game
  • Unlimited ice tubing at Snow Summit (must be 42″ or taller)
  • Entry to one of two bounce house for kids
  • Reindeer viewing and feeding
  • Nightly Christmas tree lighting (5:30pm)
  • Intermittent snowfall (Check with a staff member for times)
  • A few simple Christmas themed crafts
  • Model train display
  • Photo opps (walk-through ornament, Christmas tree, cut-out photo stands, great decorations)
  • Daily and nightly entertainment throughout the event

IMG_0169

Here is what you have to pay extra for:

  • Unlimited ride wristband ($20 when purchased online)
  • Ride tickets (if you don’t do the wristband)
  • Carnival Games
  • Pictures with Santa
  • Face Painting
  • Caricatures
  • Ice Skating ($15 per person, plus $5 for skate assistance if needed)
  • Snow Summit fast pass ($10)
  • Food and drink

Food

There are limited food options at the event. I counted eight food (not dessert) stands, five or six dessert/snack places and one sit-down restaurant. I am not sure their stance on bringing in your own food and drink, but it might be worth looking into if you’d like to keep the cost down. You can also show your same-day Winter Fest tickets at The Triangle for some awesome freebies, so you might want to consider eating there. More info on that here.

IMG_0196

The types of food I noticed were pizza, chicken wings, chicken fingers, corn dogs, BBQ, tacos/nachos, and rice bowls.

IMG_0200

The sit-down restaurant is a fun ski lodge theme, and a great choice for a family meal.

IMG_0171

Desserts were ice cream, candied nuts, various cookies, cupcakes and cake pops, cotton candy, kettle corn and more.

IMG_0195

Nightly Snowfall

The nightly snowfall is to the left of The Hangar building as you’re facing it, and to the right of the Rice Bowls stand. The snow comes on intermittently throughout the night, and also during the Christmas Tree lighting. Be sure to stand on that side of the tree during the ceremony to be close to the snow.

IMG_0201

Time and Money Spent

I’ve had a lot of people ask me if it’s “worth it” to go. Here’s my time and money breakdown, and I’ll leave it to you to decide the value of a nice night out. Parking is $7 – cash only. For the average-sized family, I would give yourself around four hours to experience the event. It was not crowded on the night we went, but between the carnival rides and games, Snow Summit, reindeer feeding, bounce houses, model trains, crafts, and eating dinner, it took around that much time to experience everything. We could have kept on riding down Snow Summit, but it was getting late. If you buy the discounted online admission for a weeknight, it’s only $40 for two adults and two children over the age of 4. I recommend the unlimited ride wristbands for the kids ($20 each), and if you have a few snacks and drinks there, expect to pay around $120 total for a fun evening with your family. If you decide to ice skate, have some beers, or get a pic with Santa, you’ll have to add a little more to your budget.

Personally, we had the most fun tubing and riding the carnival rides. It felt like a smaller and more intimate version of the fair to me, and I really liked that it wasn’t crowded. For families with very small children I am not sure it would be the best event for you, but if you have kids between 5 and 10 years old, I think you would really enjoy a night (or day) at Winter Fest OC. The biggest complaint I’ve heard was the cost, but I think it’s possible to enjoy the event without spending too much as long as you’re prepared!

 

Does Winter Fest OC sound like something your family will experience this year? Did you already visit? What did you think?

 

 

Winter Fest Freebies at The Triangle in Costa Mesa!

Are you planning on going to Winter Fest? The Triangle has some fun freebies to make an exciting day out even more fun!

image004

Before or after your visit to the snowy fun, show your same-day Winter Fest tickets at the following spots in The Triangle for your freebies!

  • Creamistry: ticket holders can receive 10% off an ice cream order, or one free topping.
  • H2O Sushi & Izakaya: one complimentary appetizer per party, with a purchase of $20 or more.
  • La Vida Cantina: enjoy one complimentary appetizer or dessert per table, excluding seafood appetizers.
  • Saddle Ranch Chop House: ticket holders can receive one complimentary Cotton Candy Tower dessert and a complimentary bull ride with any purchase (one each per table)
  • Tavern + Bowl: receive a free shoe rental and/or a complimentary appetizer with the purchase of an entrée when you show same-day Winter Fest tickets

image006

The Triangle is located in the heart of Costa Mesa, just moments from the OC Fair & Events Center. The 200,000 square foot lifestyle center offers popular dining, entertainment and services, including a convenient car wash on the first level of the parking structure. The Triangle is conveniently located at the end of the 55 Freeway, where Newport Blvd., Harbor Blvd. and 19th Street intersect. The center offers seven levels of free parking, as well as a Valet on the first level near Tavern + Bowl. For more information on The Triangle, follow them on Facebook or visit their website!

image012

Winter Fest is Coming to the OC Fair & Event Center

Winter is coming to the OC Fair & Event Center! Absolute Event Solutions (AES) is bringing something new and different to the OC with an all-new holiday spectacular, Winter Fest. The inaugural event will be a whimsical winter wonderland for Southern California residents that features unlimited ice tubing, the world’s largest walk-through ornament, festive entertainment, ice skating, VIP rink-side cabanas, live reindeer, a nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with snowfall, seasonal-themed eateries, libations, a carnival and much more.

Winter Fest will begin each morning with a snow-capped opening moment led by resident master magician, Jimmy H.  The fun and entertaining Chainsaw Chicks will also be at Winter Fest, carving out fantastic ice sculptures while engaging the crowd with their unbridled charm. Additional live entertainment includes local bands, strolling carolers, and performances by community organizations from around Orange County.

Winter Fest Entrance Image - 10.29.15

Worried about the weather? Many of the Winter Fest attractions are inside buildings throughout the fairgrounds, so they can be enjoyed even in the rain!

In the Winter Fest Promenade, enjoy a variety of food and beverage options in a holiday atmosphere. Family-friendly dining will also be available in the Slippery Slope Ski Lodge (known as Baja Blues Restaurant during the OC Fair), featuring a ski-lodge vibe with holiday-themed cuisine and drinks, mountain décor, nightly live entertainment, and staff decked out in ski gear.

At the end of the Winter Fest Promenade stands a 30-foot Christmas tree, where you can gather around sundown at 5:30 p.m. for a heartwarming tree lighting ceremony with snowfall. Near the beautiful Christmas tree will be two of Santa’s reindeer, available for viewing and feeding!

Adults will love the Mistletoe Lounge, which will be offering holiday-themed cocktails, international craft beers, and comfortable seating amid the holiday décor and entertainment of the Winter Fest Promenade.

Tickets for Winter Fest for Monday through Friday start at only $10 online, $15 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $20 online, $25 onsite for adults. Ticket Prices Saturday and Sunday are $15 online, $20 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $25 online, $30 onsite for adults.  Children 3 and under are free.  Purchasing tickets online is highly encouraged to not only save money but also ensure the desired event date is not sold out.

Ticket prices include admission to event, plus the following activities:

  • Unlimited ice tubing down Snowflake Summit
  • One complimentary carnival ride
  • One complimentary carnival game
  • Entry to bounce houses for kids
  • Reindeer viewing and feeding
  • Access to the world’s largest walk-through ornament
  • Nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with snowfall
  • Craft making and games for kids
  • Daily & nightly entertainment

Not included in admission, but available to purchase onsite for $15 per person, is access to the 6,000 square foot ice skating rink inside the Hangar building! Beloved holiday films will be projected onto a theater-sized screen in the background of the rink for skaters to enjoy as they glide across the ice. Santa has even transported several sleighs from his collection to the Hangar building, and they will be on display for the first time ever at Winter Fest.

Elegant rink-side VIP cabanas will also be available for only $99 per session while they last, and accommodate 2 – 10 people but can adapt to fit parties of up to 100. The VIP cabanas offer exclusive menus with seasonally inspired food, cocktails, a private ice rink entrance and private servers. VIP cabanas are perfect for groups, parties, or a date with a loved one.

Can’t get enough winter fun? Adult season passes for unlimited admission into to all 17 days and nights of Winter Fest are available for $45 advance and online (limited supply); children’s season passes (ages 4-11) are available for $25 advance and online (limited supply).

For more information on Winter Fest and to purchase tickets, visit www.WinterFestOC.com.

 

Brew Ha Ha Productions Presents “Brew Hee Haw” at OC Fair

Brew Ha Ha Productions, creators of the most award winning craft beer festivals in Orange County, and the OC Fair, voted best fair in Southern California, have teamed up to bring fair-goers an exciting new craft brew experience. The Brew Hee Haw Craft Beer Roundup, will be held opening weekend of the 2014 OC Fair. The inaugural event will offer both day and evening tasting sessions with over 60 regional craft brews to sample including Southern California Pale Ales, IPA’s, Stouts, Saisons, Hefeweizens, and more.

Brew Hee Haw at OC Fair 2014

Tickets for the Brew Hee Haw Craft Beer Roundup are currently available for pre-order. Choose from a day or an evening session. Tickets are $50 for each 4-hour session, and they include 15 tastings, a commemorative glass, all event activities, and all day admission to the OC Fair. Get your tickets here, before the price goes up to $55.  Before or after your session you can enjoy all of the fun offered at the OC Fair.

OC Fair

Brewers, owners and other craft beer celebrities will be in attendance. In addition to a line up of incredible presentations, industry experts will be available to talk to everyone from ‘beer geeks’ to craft beer novices about the interesting and delicious world of craft beer. The lineup of presenters includes two local certified Cicerones (like a ‘Sommelier’ for wine) who will share their expertise and recommendations.

The only thing that could make a Craft Beer event better is awesome food. Once you’ve finished your tastings, you can get your fill of deep-fried delights from the various vendors at the OC Fair. It’s guaranteed to be a great time!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES