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  • Writer's pictureOC Edwards Co

(City of) Orange Street Fair ~ Friday 03SEP to Sunday 05SEP21

We've looked forward to some outdoor excursions around the OC, so we were excited to hear that the City of Orange was hosting their Annual International Street Fair. The 'International' moniker came in 1973 when the City was looking for a new way to celebrate in light of the centennial anniversary, with Street Fairs celebrated since 1910. Last year, due to Covid, the Fair was celebrated virtually - so it is good to have it back.

We were able to go this morning, Saturday the 4th, around 11:30a - and, boy, did it already start to hop. We weren't exactly surprised, we expected folks were eager to get out and enjoy the food and sounds of the Fair, and it was already filling up at that time (it opened at 10a).


A few hints for navigating the event:

- The Fair itself is free - but read on!

- Parking has always been a bit hairy, with cars crawling the streets looking either for a curbside spot, public parking, paid structure, or paid lot. Prices we saw ranged from free to $15 - so taking into account leaving early and giving yourself time to find the right spot.

(- In our case, we were able to find a spot right next to the Orange Train Station / Ruby's - free! It is a bit of a walk, but worth knowing we had a good, headache free spot.)

- Do not drive to close to the Circle itself, it is a bit of a nightmare. So, if you know OC, you know the Circle, typically wide open and easily traversed. When they close it off, as well as the surrounding streets - well. We recommend staying at least four blocks away from the center - you'll find no value getting closer.

- Take cash! There are ATMs there if you are in lurch, but the fair is comprised of a lot of non-profit or volunteer organizations - they many are using cash. Cards likewise are hard to use - so we recommend taking at least 1 or 2 hundos...things can get fun and you don't want to slow down.

- Secondly, when it comes to cost, you want to consider that a drink wristband is $5 an adult. This helps offset the cost of the Fair. Stands will not serve you unless they see the wristband.

- Walk or review the map before you dip into a food - there is plenty across multiple streets to try.

- Know right now there are no seats! We found a few smart folks that brought their own - if not, you are standing while you eat or finding a bit of shade and copping a squat.

- Have fun - it's a pretty decently sized Fair!

With those things in mind, it was a great time. We enjoyed seeing folks out en masse. Because there is so much eating and drinking, the masks were mostly off than on - so keep that in mind if you are looking for more of a structured event. The Orange PD were at each entrance and walking the event, so it did feel very secure.

As we said, it fills up quickly - so there were a lot of people early on and we suspect through-out the day. Expect lines for all stands as a matter of course.

There was live entertainment on each street - so we got to see about four (!) different bands perform. The music added to the ambience and was a nice touch that it was different types of music - keeping with the International theme we heard a traditional German band, a Lebanese modern set, a Country Western group near the Circle, etc.

All in all it was a great time - expect the food to not be inexpensive, by the way, I think they all were charging a bit more than I would expect, being a Fair and overhead, etc. But a few deals could be found here and there. Remember that the Orange Circle shops are still open so we found a few that were offering water for a buck and a few restaurants offering specials.

Lastly, it was hot today - and I mean 92 and 30% humidity. I was drenched walking through and everyone was finding spots of shade to hide in. I think that brought us all together in a weird, wonderful way. ;D

[Note to self: there is a great vintage record shop in the Circle I hadn't caught before by the name of Mr. C's Rare Records. Am going back as soon as the Fair is done so I can shop with a bit more time.]

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