Top 5 Summer Festivals and Events in Orange County

Here’s a short list of Orange County’s signature events of the summer season.

Orange County is home to an endless amount of exciting family-friendly summer festivals, fairs and events that residents and visitors alike look forward to each year. The OC has everything from surfing to art so no matter what, these must-see festivals in Orange County are sure to entertain and create memorable experiences for all. Here’s a short list of Orange County’s signature events of the summer season. 

Let’s take a look at five of the major summer events in The OC!

OC Fair (Costa Mesa)

OC Fair & Event Center is about more than cows and corn dogs.

Founded in 1890 with the mission of “celebrating Orange County’s communities, interests, agriculture and heritage,” 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 a famous annual event with attendance reaching almost 1.5 million people! Located in Costa Mesa, the OC Fair has grown from a small, five-day celebration to a 23-day festival that is one of Orange County’s most eagerly awaited fairs in Calfornia. This signature festival boasts 68 rides and 58 games, giving fairgoers tons of summertime fun in the OC sun. 

U.S. Open of Surfing (Huntington Beach)

Carrying on the tradition of major competitive surfing at Huntington Beach since 1959, the Vans US Open of Surfing has evolved into one of the largest action sports festivals in the country. Each summer, the family-friendly event showcases the world’s best surfing alongside an unparalleled entertainment experience that includes curated retail spaces, world-class skateboard and BMX competitions, and the Van Doren Village featuring art exhibitions and hands-on creative workshops for attendees. 

Sawdust Art Festival (Laguna Beach)

200 Artists. Three stages of live music and entertainment. Art classes and daily demonstrations. Glassblowing. Hands-on pottery wheel. Craft beer and wine. Outdoor eateries and cafes.

Located outdoors in a cool three-acre eucalyptus grove in the heart of Laguna Beach, Sawdust Art Festival features a picturesque and eclectic hand-built village featuring the fine art and craft of over 200 local artists and makers. For nine weeks during the summer, Sawdust Art Festival draws more than 200,000 visitors and features only Laguna Beach residents. Guests are invited to shop along sawdust-covered paths in a hand-built village of fine art and eclectic craftsmanship.

Since 1965, the festival has celebrated and supported the work of its hometown Laguna Beach artists. With two main events annually—Sawdust Art Festival summer festival (June to August) and Winter Fantasy (November to December)—the organization is designed to both educate and entertain.

Sawdust Art Festival remains true to its humble beginnings, with the intention of always being different from other art venues, visualizing itself as an artists’ happening rather than an art gallery. To that end, each summer the artists themselves build a handcrafted village of 200 booths to reflect each individual style. The architectural designs are as varied and interesting as the work they showcase, providing guests with a unique experience within the world of the arts. A truly special and memorable experience for all!

Pageant of the Masters (Laguna Beach)

Taking place in beautiful Laguna Beach each summer, The Pageant of the Masters is the Festival of Arts’ crowning jewel and arguably one of the most unique productions in the entire world.

On each evening of the Festival of Arts summer schedule, ticket holders are amazed and enchanted by ninety minutes of tableaux vivants (living pictures), incredibly faithful re­creations of classical and contemporary works of art, with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces.

An outdoor amphitheater, professional orchestra, original score, live narration, intricate sets, sophisticated lighting, expert staff and hundreds of dedicated volunteers have won world-wide acclaim for the Pageant of the Masters as the best presentation of its kind. 

OC Night Market (Costa Mesa)

Produced by 626 Night Market, the original and largest family-friendly night market in the U.S., OC Night Market has been operating since 2013 at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. The biggest party of the summer invites you to bring foodie friends and family to eat, drink and shop from 200+ local vendors.  

OC Night Market also features a diverse mix of activities such as an Art Walk, dance competition, eating contest, entertainment stage with live performers and more. 

Whether you’re into surfing, art or great food present, the world-famous summer festivals and events in Orange County won’t disappoint!