Shortly after Orange County was created in 1889, the Orange County Community Fair Corporation was formed. This group put on a small fair in 1890 that included a horse race and a few exhibits in Santa Ana. In 1894, another group, the Orange County Fair Association, Inc., took over
The first Orange County Fairs were primarily livestock exhibitions and horse races. At the turn of the century, a "carnival of products" was added and the Fair became an annual event. In ensuing years, the Fair was held in Santa Ana, but after World War I it was moved to Huntington Beach for two years and then back to temporary grounds on East Fruit Street in Santa Ana.
In 1916, the Fair was taken over by the newly organized Orange County Farm Bureau. The first OC Fair Board was elected in 1925 and the Fair relocated to Anaheim, across the street from the Orange County Hospital. In 1925, a rodeo and carnival were added to the Fair.
OC Fair Clowns After World War II, the state formed the 32nd District Agricultural Association and made it responsible for the Fair. The state then purchased land occupied by the Santa Ana Army Air Base and some of it was earmarked for a new fairground. The Fair was first held at the new site in 1949 and it soon was designated as the permanent Fairgrounds. In 1953, the City of Costa Mesa was incorporated - the new city included the Fair's location. From 1949 to the present, the OC Fair has grown from a small, community, five-day celebr /ation to a 23-day festival that is one of Orange County's most eagerly awaited annual events.