Say the words “county fair” and you automatically travel back in time, to a more bucolic place. Lazy summer days pass by as you idly stroll on sawdust and straw (people actually strolled in the old days, probably wearing straw hats!), eating buttery corn-on-the-cob (real butter! non-GMO corn!), checking out prize-winning livestock, then cooling down with a fresh-squeezed lemonade (with real cane sugar, naturally). So quaint. So, well, corny.
One could be excused for thinking the same of the LA County Fair at Fairplex. After all, it takes place at the farthest reaches of LA County in relatively quaint Pomona. Many people make that assumption. And then they go to the Fair.
It’s big. Really big. In fact, it’s massive. Dwarfing many STATE fairs, the LA County Fair is one of the largest county fairs in North America and ranked in the Top 10 among all North American fairs and exhibitions. Since 1948, Fair attendance has topped the 1 million mark in all but one year (1963) - 2018 attendance was more than 1.2 million. By comparison, the Kentucky State Fair attracted just over 614,000 visitors over its 11 days in 2018. (Sorry, Colonel Sanders, but you’ve been served.) Since its inception, the LA County Fair has welcomed more than 89 million visitors.
Anyone who has spent a day at the Fair can tell you, it’s like walking into a bustling metropolis all its own. Imagine a fusion of Universal Studios Hollywood, Coachella, and every farmers’ market in the state happening at the same time, and you’re pretty close. Nestled against the hills of Pomona, Fairplex spans 487 acres and has hosted the Fair since 1922. Every square foot is packed with sights, sounds, smells, and flavors. Presidents, campaigning politicians and visiting dignitaries have made it a regular stop, mingling with the masses. Now it’s your turn.
Fair Goes Pop!
Opening at the Fairplex on Friday, August 30, the LA County Fair "Goes Pop!" with a celebration of decades of cultural phenomena. From art to clothes to technology and toys, the Fair takes a deep dive into Pop Culture, with a spotlight on LA's influence. Guests can stroll giant iconic LA art installations or dance at a modern-day Studio 54 at the Silent Disco; trek through memory lane with toys from years past at Toytopia, including a giant Etch-A-Sketch and life-sized Monopoly game; experience an explosion of pigmentation as the Flower & Garden Pavilion bursts in Pops of Color; and play among the collision of technology and pop culture in Popnology 2.0, where science fiction becomes science fact. New for 2019, each weekend will include a music festival – Fusion Fest – on the infield featuring the diversity of LA County.
The popular $6.50 Value Menu is back and admission prices will not increase. Weekday admission remains the same as 2018: $14 for adults (ages 13+), $8 for children (ages 6-12) and $10 for seniors (ages 60+); weekend admission is $20 for adults, $12 for children and $15 for seniors. Children ages 5 and younger are always free. Plus, the Fair will celebrate specially priced community days for LA County and Inland Empire residents.
The Farm & Gardens
The Farm is the Fair’s organic, beating heart. Amidst all of the changes in the ways Californians — and all Americans — consume food, the state remains the nation’s largest breadbasket.
- Big Red Barn - Sky Shivers stage show, Rawhide Dude Ranch, resident horse Copper and her friends
- Little Red Barn - miniature horses, pigs, cows and more
- The Gardens - learning, growing and sustaining are combined in one area
- Heritage Mission - learn about California’s history as you go back in time in this interactive exhibit
- Kickin' Country Stage
- Pig Races
The name of the game is fun in this popular neighborhood, which offers up attractions to rival those of any theme park. There are rides galore on the midway, from kid-friendly to the more extreme for adrenaline junkies. And what would a county fair be without a Ferris wheel? Test your skills with classic games and indulge in carnival fare that ranges from classic concessions to veggie options. Only the heartiest of appetites will be able to take down the Midway Gourmet's Big Rib - a two-pound beef rib on a 17-inch bone.
From esports to vintage toys, there's something for everyone in this sprawling neighborhood.
- America’s Kids - zip over to Hogwarts, zoom across to Jurassic Park, and see Where the Wild Things Are in Adventures in Literature
- The Imagination Factory - dress and learn to speak like a pirate, explore a life-size doll house, build a region out of Legos, and much more
- The Pop Up Stage on Pepper - featuring contests like hula hoop, bubble gum blowing, and appearances by some "Marvel-ous" characters
- Popnology 2.0 - see how technology has influenced pop culture with movies, TV shows, 3D gaming and more
- Toytopia - take a trip down memory lane and watch as some of your favorite toys and games come to life
- Esports Gaming World - go head-to-head with friends or complete strangers on some of Esports top video games
- Halloween Super Show - Activate Entertainment presents “Hollywood Stage 13” in building 10 with haunted house previews, live special effects makeup artists and more
- Auto Alley - classic cars will line up every night for your viewing pleasure
- The Theatre Stage - local dance studios, school bands, martial arts demos and more
- Plaza de las Americas - Olvera Street comes to life with traditional Latin American art, crafts and clothing
- Garden Railroad - one of the largest public garden railroads in the U.S. features more than 10,000 feet of operating track with 30+ individual operations running simultaneously
- Kiddie Carnival
Located in Downtown Fairplex, the Millard Sheets Art Center presents Shifting Aesthetics, featuring works by 11 contemporary visual artists living and working in Los Angeles. Works on view will be in various media including ceramics, painting, mixed media, and photography. The group exhibition also showcases the diversity of experiences, perspectives, and styles of each artist’s body of work as they forge their own unique artistic path within the LA landscape. Shifting Aesthetics is on view at MSAC from Aug. 30 - Nov. 3, 2019.
Mi Poco LA
Also located in Downtown Fairplex, Mi Poco LA is filled with nights of local entertainment, food and coffee from local Latino-owned businesses and craft beer from local independently owned breweries.
Blow up your IG feed with LA icons, Smokey Bear, massive locomotives, floral designs and much more.
- LA Pop Architecture - from the Hollywood Sign to Randy's Donuts' giant donut, LA’s most iconic landmarks have popped up all over The Hill
- America's Great Outdoors - meet pop culture icon Smokey Bear and his friends, explore exhibits, meet foresters, park rangers and learn about animals and the habitats they call home
- Pop Music Stage - tribute bands perform the best pop music from each decade
- Rail Giants - step inside some of the largest steam engines and diesel locomotives in the world, explore real sleeping and dining cars, and discover the authentic 1885 train depot
- Pops of Color - the Flower & Garden Pavilion comes alive as Pop Culture blooms in an array of unique and colorful floral displays
- The Atrium - see the beauty of books, movies and art come alive through floral designs
- Wine, Beer & Spirits Marketplace - award-winning wines, craft beers and spirits from the Los Angeles International Competitions
- CEEM - the 2nd annual Cooperative Economic Empowerment Movement (CEEM) Takeover Weekend is happening on Friday, Sept. 13 through Sunday, Sept. 15, featuring a “Tribute to Black Influence in Pop Culture!” on the Pop Music Stage
Clock Tower Plaza
Come to see the Clock Tower and stay for the entertainment!
- Clock Tower Stage - music acts perform some of pop culture’s greatest tunes from The Beatles, Madonna, Lady Gaga and more
- High School Marching Bands - bands from all over Southern California come to LACF to compete for $22,000 in cash prizes
The Fair keeps the party going with the popular End of Summer Concert Series, featuring a sizzling all-star lineup of evening concerts on Thursday-Sunday at the Grandstand. Highlights include The O'Jays & The Spinners, ABBA the Concert, Pitbull, George Lopez (special Labor Day show), WAR, Kelsea Ballerini, Juanes, classic rock with 38 Special, The Marshall Tucker Band, and The Outlaws; Hammer's House Party feat. MC Hammer, En Vogue, Biz Markie, Coolio; Ramon Ayala, Charlie Wilson with Montell Jordan, Old Dominion, and Chicago.
Admission to the Fair is included in the price of concert tickets. Concerts start at 7:30pm. For the full schedule and links to buy tickets, visit the LA County Fair website.
Fusion Fest takes over the Grandstand Infield every Saturday and Sunday with Pop cover bands, Lucha Libre and more.
- Aug. 31-Sept. 1: Pop Fusion kicks off Fusion Fest with a lineup of pop music tribute bands, host and DJ.
- Sept. 7–8: local Banda groups will go head-to-head in “Battle of the Bandas.” Four bands will compete each day for a chance to win prize money and the title of “Mejor Banda.”
- Sept. 14-15: high-flying luchadores take over the infield when “Leyendas de la Lucha Libre” comes to the LA County Fair!
- Sept. 21-22: The Fox Theatre in Pomona, in partnership with the LA County Fair, presents “Minor League Music,” an all-ages event featuring local bands ranging from indie pop rock to surf rock.
Top of the Park
With 180° panoramic views of the Fair and scenic surroundings, there's no better way to enjoy fine cuisine than at the Top of the Park Restaurant & Bar, located on the 4th floor of the Grandstand. All of the sights and sounds of the LA County Fair are amplified as you gaze at the energy and excitement below. Top of the Park will be offering two dining and concert options:
- Option 1 - New for 2019, this option includes two designated VIP pre-reserved zones located on the exterior landing of Top of the Park. With online advance purchase, your group of up to eight guests will enjoy all-day Fair admission, entry into either VIP Box 1 or 2 on the landing, buffet dinner, and two beverages each (beer, wine, call, or non-alcoholic).
- Option 2 - With online purchase, guests will enjoy a buffet dinner and choice of indoor or outdoor Top of the Park seating to view the evening’s grandstand entertainment.
Top of the Park opens for dining at 6:30pm each concert night. Buffet available until 8:30pm.
It’s a county fair so naturally, almost everything is battered and fried. And most likely served on a stick. In keeping with its scale and scope, the Fair has a wide range of cuisines on offer, from the decidedly decadent to fresh and healthy. For a more upscale experience, the Wine, Spirits & Beer Marketplace is a culinary showcase like no other and offers daily wine tastings and flights.
Priced from $37 to $46 per person, Picnic Packages are fully customizable and can include:
- Fair admission
- Buffet and beverage station
- Carnival rides
- Character visits
- Private shaded area
Groups of 100-600 - Host your picnic on Picnic Hill, which overlooks the entire Fair.
Groups of 601-10,000 - The most unique picnic in Southern California is located in the middle of the Fairplex Park Infield.
Getting There / Staying There
The LA County Fair is a straight shot to Pomona on the 10 Freeway for most visitors. Fairplex is also close to the 210 and 57 Freeways. If you’re of a greener inclination, you can catch the Metro’s 310 bus line from Union Station, which typically takes about an hour each way.
On weekends, Metrolink is taking riders straight to the fairgrounds after 9:30 a.m. Weekend trains on the San Bernardino Line will make additional stops at the Fairplex Station, located between the Covina Station and Pomona-North Station. Furthermore, a special service train (391) will run on Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day Monday at 8:30 p.m., providing additional timing opportunities for riders traveling back to Los Angeles after the fair.
Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center
With so much to see and do, you might want to spend more than a day at the Fair. Conveniently located near the Red Gate / Downtown Fairplex, the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center is offering exclusive LA County Fair packages:
- Weekday Rate (Sun - Thurs): $154
- Weekend Rate (Fri & Sat): $174
- Both offers include a $30 credit for Food & Beverage!
Fairplex KOA Campground
For a more rustic setting, book a reservation at the Fairplex KOA Campground, located across the street from the Fair. Bring your tent or RV, or stay in a cabin. KOA offers complimentary coffee and tea daily. Have some fun in the sun in the large pool, get a tan, and relax in the spa. Free WiFi available.
LA County Fair Special: $55 all available RV sites
- Offer available Aug. 30 - Sept. 22
- Call 909-593-8915 to make your reservation
Since 1922, the LA County Fair has presented a spectacular event that attracts visitors from near and far. And for all its sensory overload and overwhelming size, the Fair retains its old school charm. While the rest of the state, the nation and the world looks on in wonder, all you have to do is get yourself to Pomona to experience it for yourself. So what are you waiting for? Here’s some basic info to get you started.
See you at the LA County Fair!