Orange County is full a family fun with different types of fairs and festivals. Check out some of our favorite ones from each season of the year.
First Night in Fullerton
Christmas Eve marks the First Night Fullerton festivities, located in downtown Fullerton, a family-oriented and alcohol-free night to celebrate the New Year. The average 15,000 attending the event enjoy great food, rides, and games as they wait for the spectacular fireworks display.
Location: Downtown Fullerton
Reviews: “The energy level was high and fun as we all waited for the fireworks and when the lamp lights went out to darken the area more, the crowd went wild. When the fireworks signaled the midnight mark, modest sized flowers shot up in the air but there was a lot! The fireworks show lasted 10 mins, waaay longer than I expected and it was cool to feel the “boom” so close.—Alice L”
While there, enjoy live celebrity cover bands and festival food as you countdown to the incredible aerial display fireworks.
Orange County Fair
This month-long fair boasts the best fair foods and entertainment of the year. It has everything from baking competitions to carnival rides, art exhibits and actions sports arenas and more.
Location: 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa
Reviews: “I have to say this is amazing!!! Got to try a bunch of delicious stuff! A great place to come with family! I love trying new things!—Daisy G”
Check out the action sports arena, it is home to some death-defying stunts and events that blow to mind. Or you could check out the carnival agricultural and culinary exhibits and competitions to try truly delicious food
Soka University Annual International Festival
Soka University’s International Festival hosts 900 musicians and dancers from around the world on 4 different stages. Peruse the 250 craft and business exhibits as you enjoy an international experience. Kids can enjoy the children’s play area and learn about and discover the world.
Location: Soka University, 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo
Reviews: “It was an awesome festival. The student volunteers are very nice, friendly, happy, polite, and most helpful. There were plenty of food vendors, merchandise and live performances.—Gerry B”
Shop for hand-craft art and ethnic clothing as you develop your international taste buds with food from countries across the world. You can also support the university students as they show off their student projects for public enjoyment.
Laguna Beach’s largest festival is home to 200 Laguna artists whose artistic skills rage from pottery to painting and more. Attendee can enjoy live entertainment and live are demonstrations as they stroll through the galleries.
Location: 935 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beachgeneral admission is $9 to $25
Price: $9 to $25
Reviews: “I love this place and always have. Have been attending since I was young when my mom would bring me and its still the relaxed culturally rich Laguna Beach event its always been.—Jen R”
If you’ve never been to the Sawdust Festival you are seriously doing life wrong. I look forward to this every single summer and it never disappoints.—Janel A
This is the place to go for hand crafted bags, spun glass, and beautiful painting. You can also create art of your own and the pottery station and other stations around the festival. If you can’t make it in summer, try attending the Winter Fantasy for beautiful seasonal art.
Festival of Whales
Dana Point hosts a beachside festival for all the family to enjoy. Take a ride on a boat and whale watch for a chance to see magnificent aquatic beasts of the sea. Enter or enjoy the results of the Sand Sculpting Contest and look at all the classic oldies and the car show.
Location: Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point
Enjoy the results of the recent event addition, the clam chowder cook-off, or enjoy so BBQ while listening to the bands and walking through the art in the park. Try participating in the Dinghy dash for some fun memories with the family or watch the whale parade float on by.
Newport Beach Film Festival
Watch classic and contemporary film making at this first-class, international film program. The festival hosts 350 film which will play across 15 screen over the course of several days. Film categories range from documentary to horror and a Q and A is opened at the end to discuss with film makers about the process and concept.
Location: Newport Beach
Price: $225 for a 3-day pass
Reviews: “The festival was great this year so many movies and their fans. A big shoutout and thank you to all the volunteers for making the festival great.—Jordan B”
“A top notch film festival anywhere! Great films, great venues and great parties! Try at least one film and party this year! Also a great event to volunteer.—Houston W”
Kids are welcome to watch children designated films as not all films are rated to child enjoyment. Attend some of the in-depth seminars and learn what it takes to make a great film.
Cypress Community Festival
One of the largest one-day festival in Orange County that attracts over 20,000 people annually. All day entertainment for the family to enjoy with four stages for performances, games and crafts for the kids, and the chili cook-off of the ages.
Location: Oak Knoll Park, 5700 Orange Ave, Cypress
Reviews: “I’ve found some great treasures while shopping among the wide variety of vendors selling their products and I’ve even participated, for a couple of years, as judge in the chili/salsa contest!—Lorri D”
Start the day with the morning 5K/10K run and pancake breakfast. Let the kids have fun on the children’s rides and have a walk around the car show. Don’t miss this one day event.
The fruity festival has fun for all the family to enjoy including a variety of Commercial booths, Arts and Crafts, Game Booths, Food and major Carnival Rides. Watch the parade and attend stage shows which feature celebrity and local performers and take a chance to try the largest Strawberry Shortcake on opening night.
Location: Village Green (Euclid St & Main St), Garden Grove
Reviews:“This is by far my favorite festival to go to the best part of course are the strawberries you can buy . They also have really good food and a cool little shopping are with little stands.—Chris G”
“Lots of cute vendors including clothes and jewelry , food , sports, everything really!! The food was great ! And the rides we’re safe and fun better in the evening because it was very hot in the day time !—Maricela R”
Hop in line for the carnival ride available to the tinniest tot to the tallest adult or take a chance at one of the many game booths. Keep an ear and eye out for all the different bands and performances scheduled throughout the festivities as you fruits of fair.
Everything about the fest comes straight from Germany, from the imported beers to the German Bands straight from Germany. There is no better place for a good beer and wurst than Oktoberfest. The army of beautiful shot girls are a definite plus.
Shot Girls, and other festivities, competitions, games & more.
Location: Old World Village, 7561 Center Ave, Huntington Beach
Price: Wednesday-Thursday free admission, under 21 need supervision
Friday-Saturday $10-$15 at the door
Sunday family day adults $7, kids $3, under 5 free
Reviews:“One of the few places you can get Warsteiner Octoberfest on tap (the best octoberfest beer) well worth the admission. Fun German band and dancing. It’s a must to come and participate in the chicken dance.—Nick J”
“By far our favorite! We got in on their deal $30 for two admission, two bratwurst, And two 16oz beers. We arrived at 6 pm. Perfect time, as the sun is just getting ready to set, which makes for great pictures in the little German town.—Kim K”
It can be hard to find a good dark beer on tap around here, but not at Oktoberfest. Here you can watch the parade and dachshund races with a good beer, food, and great music. Games, competitions and more can be had as well.
Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
This 2 ½ hour parade starts at Collins Island and features 250 participants both on and out of water and cruises around hundreds water front estates. The Ring of Lights competition mirrors the parade with dozens of home and business participants. This parade draws in over a million viewers each year to see this spectacular light show.
Location: Newport Beach
Reviews: “It’s an annual holiday tradition of mine to head down to Balboa Island and check out the holiday decorations. I usually like to walk with a cup of hot cocoa or coffee and take my time checking out the details.—Sukhraj B”
“Such a great experience that i cant wait for the next one, It’s always thrilling to see the lights, the staff was very helpful and courteous with the quick answers to my questions.—Hector A”
Take a walk to see all the sparkling houses and see which one is your favorite. R you can be a part of the parade and take a ride of one of the 3 general admission cruises available during the parade night.