Orange County Fair 2012 Free Admission and Discounts

2012It’s time again for the 2012 Orange County Fair, which runs Friday July 13 through August 12. Each year I compile a list of discounted deals, promotions and free offers that are available at the OC Fair, including ways to get in free or at a discount.

So before you go, be sure to check if there are any special deals!

By now you know my wife and I are pros at finding discounts and freebies for all sorts of events including the OC Fair.

The OC Fair is an event we attend at least once during the summer, but like most people we want the get the most out of our visits.

In fact, for the past several years we have never paid admission to the Fair. No, they don’t give them to us, we seek out the deals!

With all the concerts, shows, exhibits and the endless supply of food booths, one can easily spend a couple of hundred dollars (and that’s just the two of us!). But what if you could do it for half the cost or even less! That’s the goal and part of the fun.

That’s what you’ll find here, ways to have fun at the OC Fair without overspending.

Below I’ve compiled a list of special OC deals being offered directly from the Fair.

  • Opening Day July 13th – free admission and parking from noon – 1 p.m. (one hour only)
  • Active military & Veterans w/ ID – free admission daily.
  • We Care Wednesday’s – You can get one free admission and one carnival ride per person on Wednesday’s by making a donation. Person donating items must be present to receive admission ticket. Free admission tickets are only valid on the day of the drive. Donations will only be accepted at the Blue, Green and Yellow Gates. In order to get free admission it must be at these gates on the day of the drive. Drives are only on Wednesdays from noon to 4pm. See dates and what to donate below.
  1. Wed July 18 – donate 5 perishable food items.
  2. Wed July 25 – donate 1 new children’s book or 3 gently used children’ books.
  3. Wed Aug 1st – donate 5 gently used clothing items.
  4. Wed Aug 8th – donate one new school supply valued at $5 or more.
  • All Thursday’s – Free Kids admission 12 yrs and under – all day!
  • All Friday’s are Senior’s Day (60+) – $2 off admission and free Ferris wheel and merry-go round rides all day.
  • All Friday’s are also $2 Taste of Food fair from noon to 4pm.
  • Friday – Sunday – OC Fair Express – Riders traveling on the OC Fair Express get a coupon for $2 admission. Bus fair is $1.50 each way or $3 round trip. See OCTA for routes and schedule.
  • Every Friday – $2 rides and $2 games up to 4pm only.
  • Every Saturday & Sunday – from 10 am to 11 am General Admission is only $2!
  • Read and Ride – Children ages 5-11.  Read 2 books and get 3 free carnival rides. Use this form for instructions.
  • Every concert/show ticket also gives you admission to the fair on date of show.
Note that if you plan to attend the fair multiple times this summer, the best deal is the OC Fair Superpass.

Also, discounted admission prices are sometimes announced towards the end of the OC Fair dates. Not sure if they will do this again this year, but they normally let people know through their Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Additional tips to make your visit enjoyable:

  • It’s ok to bring your own snacks or beverages (plastic bottles only) into the fair. No outside alcoholic drinks allowed, no cans or glass bottles and/or coolers. Of course no weapons or pets. See the full list here.
  • Think ahead – download a schedule of events for the day you plan to visit.


– The OC Fair is open Wednesday through Sunday only, starting Friday July 13 through Sunday August 12th, 2012.

The Fair is open:

-Wednesday to Friday from noon – midnight
-Saturday through Sunday from 10 am to Midnight.

OC Admission prices are:

-General (ages 13–59) $11
-Seniors (60+) $8
-Youth (6–12) $6
-Children 5 and under get in free everyday.

If you have any questions or concerns, it’s always best to visit the official OC Fair website for more information. Like I said, things can change so if I don’t catch it, it’s best to verify it on their website.

As I mentioned earlier, sometimes there are unscheduled discounts which I’m always on the look out. So be sure to follow on Facebook, Twitter or by Email all summer long. I’ll update this page with any new special OC Fair deals I find.

The OC Fair address and map:

OC Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, California 92626.

Driving Map

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Ramon is a long time resident of Southern California and an expert in online advertising as well as an avid photographer. He runs as well as other local photography sites like, and Coolest-Travel-Pictures.

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