COSTA MESA ( – The 127th annual Orange County Fair will begin Friday in Costa Mesa, featuring calorie busters like the Krispy Kreme Ice Cream Chicken Sandwich and Flaming Hot Cheetos Pizza, a gigantic Ferris wheel and later start times during the week.

The fair, featuring a “Farm Fresh Fun” theme, will kick off at noon, but this year, the early-bird guests on opening day Friday will get free admission for the first three hours, instead of just the first hour. Fairgoers will get a break on admission and parking until 3 p.m.

Weekends will offer the “Best Deal Ever” with fairgoers getting half-price admission from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Carnival rides are half-price as well during those hours. But unlike past years when the fair opened at 10 a.m. on weekends, the gates will open an hour later.

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Food will again be one of the more popular draws said Kathy Kramer, chief executive of the fair.

This year’s diet-challenging delicacies include bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts, fried peanut butter meatballs, fried octopus on a stick, and deep- fried ravioli on a stick, Kramer said.

This will be the first fair showcasing the Heroes Hall on the fairgrounds, Kramer noted. Fairgoers will get a chance to write letters and postcards for service members, she said.

On the carnival side of the fair, the new Le Grande Wheel XL will offer a Ferris wheel experience with air-conditioned cabs that are all glass so you can see Orange County from every angle, Kramer said. The Ferris wheel is so large it needed 22 semi-trailer trucks to get it to Costa Mesa.

The 36 cabins hold six to eight people each. At 130 feet high, weighing 616,000 pounds and with 500,000 LED lights, it is one of the largest in the world.

Not to be outdone, the fair also features the Big Wheel, which is 108 feet high and has 24 open-air gondolas.

Then there’s the Endeavor, which offers thrill seekers the experience of 3G acceleration, being thrust 60 feet in the air at 25 mph, Kramer said.

At the Pacific Amphitheatre, highlights include country singer- songwriter Jake Owen, who will be making his debut at the fair Aug. 13, Kramer said.

Fair favorites the B-52s will also perform, but this time backed by the Pacific Symphony, on July 20.

Another new feature will include the “pig cam,” a live-streaming of the animals on the fair’s website.

At the action sports area of the fairgrounds, guests can watch medieval- style jousting July 19-23.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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