The OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC) announces the return of the Youth Expo Experience, an annual family event that celebrates the talent of local students, April 12-14, 2013. This year's theme is "Ham It Up!" and hours are Friday 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is free all three days and many activities are free of charge. Parking is free on Friday and $5 on Saturday and Sunday. Friday is also Field Trip Day, when schools are encouraged to attend as a group. For more information, visit ocfair.com/youthexpo.

 

Local students check out exhibits at the annual Youth Expo Experience at the OC Fair & Event Center. Youth Expo 2013 is April 12-14.
(OC Fair & Event Center)

Youth Expo attendees can also experience Vital Link's STEM and the Arts Career Showcase, which encourages students to consider careers in the professional fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Held every day of Youth Expo, the STEM Showcase will include a robotic competition, competitive exhibits, displays and workshops.

Additional, family-friendly events and competitions for the Youth Expo weekend include:

  • "Make & Take" Activities: Free hands-on learning demonstrations in ceramics-making, portrait painting, cartooning and various handicrafts will be offered every day for youth ages pre-kindergarten through high school. All the necessary equipment and supplies are provided and local professionals and Youth Expo staff lead the demonstrations, while participants get to take what they make home with them.
  • Youth Projects: Local students show off their talents in art, creative writing, woodworking, science, fashion and photography.
  • 4-H Competitions: Local youth are judged on their abilities to raise small livestock, their understanding of animal and veterinary sciences and their display projects on community service, aerospace, entomology, electricity and more.
  • Lil' Sprouts Jr. Farm and Garden Contest: An opportunity for children to show off their green thumb and see who can grow the best fruits, vegetables and flowers. Contest categories include divisions for both fruits and vegetables, terrariums and more.
  • Youth Chess Tournament: On Saturday, April 13 from Noon-4 p.m., chess enthusiasts of all ages and levels are invited to compete. Entry fees are $10 per person and $5 for each additional family member.
  • Building Industry Education Council (BIEC) 24th Annual Design⁄Build Competition: Watch as future architects and builders compete to see who are the best young home builders in Southern California.
  • Gourmet Food Trucks and Local Fundraising Food Booths: Enjoy gourmet food truck fare on Saturday and Sunday from Fresh Fries, Ragin Cajun, Piaggio On Wheels, Chunk N Chip, TJ's Woodfire Pizza, Waffles de Liege, Kala Truck, Bakery Truck, Tropical Shave Ice and Spudrunners (food trucks will vary each day). Plus, every day of Youth Expo, local youth groups will be selling snacks, drinks and lunch.
  • Centennial Farm: Families can check out the gardens and animal pens, plus enjoy free hay rides, oxen team demonstrations, hands-on arts and crafts, a Bug Barn, leather-making demonstrations and scavenger hunts.
  • Amusements & Carnival: Roll around like a hamster in the human-powered Land Bubbles or take a spin in the carnival. Fees apply to amusements and carnival rides and games.

The Youth Expo Experience 2013 is sponsored by YMCA OF ORANGE COUNTY, LEGOLAND® California Educational Field Trip programs, and ScholarShare - California 529 College Savings Plan and is underwritten by the OC Fair & Event Center. For more details on this year's event, visit ocfair.com/youthexpo.

The OC Fair & Event Center is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, please visit ocfair.com, become a fan on Facebook.com/OCFair, follow us at twitter.com/ocfair or call (714) 708-1500.