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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for June 2013

It's All About the Food at the OC Fair!

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013

OC Fair Chocolate Covered BaconOne of my family's favorite summer traditions is going to the OC Fair.  I loved going as a kid and now I love taking my boy and letting him experience the fun and all the amazing food.  Last year he discovered chocolate covered bacon!  I can't wait to see what he discovers this year, and with the 2013 fair theme being "Come And Get It!", we'll be ready to dig in to all the fair food finds when the dinner bell rings!

 Just as dinner bells would call hard-working farmers to the table for meals, the OC Fair is ringing the metaphorical dinner bell for Fairgoers to "Come & Get It" July 12 to August 11, 2013. With plenty of food vendors and culinary activities, the OC Fair has something for every palate. Here's what the Fair is cooking up this year:

The new Krispie Kreme Sloppy Joe available at Chicken Charlie's

Cheesy Bacon Bombs
available at Bacon A-Fair

• Chicken Charlie: Chicken Charlie is churning out new food with Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joes, Deep-Fried Bacon-Wrapped Pickles and Waffle Dogs (a hot dog wrapped inside a waffle and all on a stick). Plus, don't miss deep-fried cookie dough!

• Bacon A-Fair: This year's new additions at Bacon A-Fair include Truffle Gouda Bacon Fries, Bacon Beer (root beer) and Cheesy Bacon Bombs. Plus, wild boar bacon on a stick will be served exclusively at the OC Fair.

• Biggy's Meat Market: Channel your inner cave man (or woman) and come to Biggy's Meat Market for the returning 17-inch The Big Rib plus the new Biggy Sausage, a 2-foot-long smoked sausage on a stick, and the Big Chic, 24 ounces of chicken breast on a stick of course.

• Ten Pound Buns: The mad scientists at Ten Pound Buns have added ground bacon, whipped butter and Nutella on top of their famous sourdough "pizza" for the Bacon Nutella Bun.

• Pink's Hot Dogs: Long known for their innovative hot dogs named after celebrities, the Ghiradelli hot dog takes it to a new level. It is a beef dog topped with cream cheese, honey mustard, crumbled bacon and dark chocolate.

More New Food: There are new tastes to be found throughout the OC Fair this year including deep-fried strawberries, a macaroni and cheese hamburger, fried bacon ice cream, deep-fried lobster, cream cheese on a stick, mango & chamoy popsicle (spicy-sweet lemon chile flavoring), heart-shaped funnel cake, Dirty BBQ Tasti Chips and more.

OC Fair Foodie Carl (cotton candy)

OC Fair Foodies: New this year the OC Fair is introducing food-themed mascots including Scoop, Carl, Dip and their foodie friends all inspired by iconic Fair and farm foods such as ice cream cones, cotton candy, corn dogs, vegetables, fruit and more. Costumed characters, plushes and signage will be representing the foodie friends throughout the Fair.

• $2 Taste of Fair Food: Every Friday from Noon-4 p.m., Fairgoers can sample the best the Fair has to offer for only $2 each sample. Fun-sized samples include funnel cake, BBQ tri-tip, lemonade, cinnamon rolls, corn dogs, tacos, gelato, cotton candy and more.

• Celebrity Chefs: The 2013 OC Fair presents two shows in The Hangar featuring charismatic celebrity chefs demonstrating their culinary prowess. Scheduled appearances include the owners and chefs of the award-winning La Casita Mexicana Restaurant Jaime Martin del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu (July 20, 4 p.m.) and award-winning chef and owner of Bottega in Napa Valley and Coqueto in San Francisco Michael Chiarello (August 1, 4 p.m.) Free with Fair admission.

• Culinary Presentations: In addition to celebrity chefs, the 2013 OC Fair is also featuring local professional chefs from some of the county's top local restaurants and other culinary artisans in the OC Promenade. Presentation days and times vary.

• Food Truck Fare at the OC Fair: On top of traditional and new Fair foods, Fairgoers can purchase gourmet fare from their favorite food trucks from inside the OC Fair gates every Thursday from Noon-10 p.m. Access is free with Fair admission and prices for food and drinks vary per truck.

• Kitchen Challenge: Watch local culinary professionals show off their chops and go head-to-head in a series of live cooking challenges set to various themes every Thursday in the OC Promenade: Meatheads (July 18), Time to Make The Donuts (July 25), Firehouse Chefs (August 1) and Vegan (August 8). Winners will receive bragging rights and an award to commemorate their culinary victory. Viewing is free with Fair admission.

• Contests and Competitions: Most of the traditional Culinary Arts competitions have closed their registrations but the Culinary Arts department is again hosting live contests that offer late registration with the Special Culinary Contests held the last four Saturdays, including the popular OC Cupcake Classic on August 3. Registration for these contests is the Wednesday before each contest. New this year is the Salad Daze contest, which is judging for the best picnic-ready salads. For a complete list, visit

• Food As Art: Chef Ray Duey is an acclaimed food sculptor who was a gold medal winner from the Food Network's Challenge Team and will be creating works of art out of fruits and vegetables daily in the OC Promenade. Award-winning Shaile Socher creates masterful floral arrangements out of sugar and will be demonstrating her intricate and dazzling talent in the OC Promenade daily. Demonstrations are free with Fair admission.   

• Centennial Farm: Experience being home on the range in this year-round, three-acre demonstration farm complete with crops, livestock and the Millennium Barn. Check out educational exhibits, agricultural organizations and the fruit and vegetable competitive entries. Visit for details on the Garden and Floral competitions offered.

The 2013 OC Fair, themed Come & Get It,is July 12 - August 11 and brings 23 days of food, rides, exhibits, animals, music, action sports and fun, as well as the Toyota Summer Concert Series at the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena. The Fair is open Wednesday-Sunday. Concert tickets, action sports reserved seats and single-day general admission are available for purchase online at or from the on-site Box Office. The popular Super Pass, which offers the passholder 23 days of admission, is available for purchase online at from the onsite Box Office.

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, become a fan at, follow us at or call (714) 708-1500. Also, download the free OC Fair iPhone and Android apps featuring a Food Finder and schedules of events.

Filed In: Events

A New Home for Families Forward

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Friday, Jun 14, 2013

Irvine's home-grown philanthropy, Families Forward, has a new place to put down roots.

On Thursday, June 13, the charitable organization that helps people find independent housing celebrated a new home of its own. 

Families Forward 

Since 1984, Families Forward has been providing housing and services for local families in crisis. The non-profit organization started as a collaboration between community volunteers, the City of Irvine and The Irvine Company.

Over the past 30 years, Families Forward has grown to a thriving source of assistance for South County's needy. Over 8,000 individuals benefited from the program last year alone.

Families Forward 

When people think of Orange County, they may not think of homelessness or families on the brink of financial crisis. But an unexpected job loss, sudden illness, divorce or rent increase can push a family into homelessness.

Families Forward offers a hand up, not a hand out. All services are designed to give families the tools necessary to reestablish permanent housing and to assist those in crisis so that homelessness can be prevented altogether.

Families Forward 

The 8 Thomas Program Center provides much needed elbow room for programs and services. Along with an expanded food pantry and welcome area, there are family counseling rooms and a new Learning Center.

families Forward

This vital safety net of services is made possible through community collaboration and the generosity of volunteers, primarily from the City of Irvine.

Volunteers donate over 16,000 hours of service to the organization; working in the food pantry, preparing transitional housing for residents, and answering the more than 4,000 phone calls requesting help each year.

"It's impressive how this organization uses limited resources so well," said Meg English who has been a volunteer for the past nine years. "It is an incredibly efficient operation that serves so many people." 

Aid comes from local churches who sponsor food drives, doctors and dentists in the  community who donate free professional services, and from Irvine residents who give time, money and food donations. Families Forward provides services to the community by members of the community and demonstrates the power of neighbors helping neighbors. 

Families Forward 

Most people think about giving during the holiday season, but summertime is one of the most important times to donate, since the food pantry shelves become depleted.

For information on how to get involved, visit the website at  

Families Forward

Movie Night @the OC Great Park

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 had just finished teaching an OC Dance Productions Parent & Me Dance class at the OC Great Park as apart of their Family Fitness Fridays Series when I passed by the welcome table on the way out and noticed a flier for the Great Park Movie on the Lawn Series. The series kicked off that evening with Singin' in the Rain and then the following Saturday evening with Thunderstruck. For the month of June, Classic movies are featured on Fridays and Family Blockbuster Flicks are featured on Saturdays, check out the entire movie schedule here!

Grab a blanket, chairs, and snacks and enjoy this FREE outdoor cinematic experience at the OC Great Park!

Admission & Parking: FREE

Food and light refreshments will be available for purchase.

Movies start around 8pm

Warm clothing, low back chairs, and blankets are encouraged

Events are weather permitting

The Orange County Great Park is located at Sand Canyon and Marine Way, and can easily be reached by the 5 or 405 freeways. For more information, visit, please visit or call 866-829-3829. 

Check out other summer events this month on Destination Irvine's Events Calendar!




Images via OC Great Park

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