Orange County Fair, Theme Parks Set Sights on Summer

April 5, 2021 Updated: April 6, 2021

As events and theme parks prepare for the return of customers throughout Orange County, officials say they expect the county to be almost fully reopened by July.

The Orange County Fair is set to take place this summer, and both Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland are scheduled to open by next month. All three have started hiring employees.

Officials expect restrictions to ease further in the following weeks as more vaccine doses are distributed, according to Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley and Orange County Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau.

“I’ve been talking to Dr. Chau about how can we get all the fair workers—the concessionaires, the vendors, people that will be here opening the fair—vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Foley told The Epoch Times at a recent press conference.

Currently, there have been over 1 million vaccine doses administered countywide, Chau said last week. He predicted that California would reach a significant 4 million mark for administering doses in disadvantaged areas sometime this week, making it easier for the state to ease restrictions even further.

The Orange County Fair

The Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa plans to hold its annual fair this summer, beginning July 16 and running until  Aug. 15, with the theme “Time for Fun.” There are currently no ticket restrictions to attend the fair, but that could change, depending on the county’s status at the time.

“We remain very optimistic that we’ll be able to maintain an in-person fair with limited capacity,” Orange County Fair Board Chairwoman Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia told The Epoch Times.

She said they expect to hire 1,500 seasonal employees, adding that “bringing jobs back from the community is a major initiative for the fair.”

The fair expects a maximum capacity of 45,000 guests per day. Tickets go on sale May 1, and advance ticket purchases are required in order to manage crowds. Rubalcava-Garcia said details on rides, food vendors, and other fair features are still being determined.

Spokesperson Terry Moore told The Epoch Times that the economic impact of not being able to hold last year’s fair, which was canceled due to COVID restrictions, was approximately $20 million. This year’s fair is expected to net $10 million, she said, with an estimated $30 million in revenue and $20 million in expenses.

Theme Parks

Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park is set to reopen in May following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, park spokesperson Diana Bahena told The Epoch Times.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming our guests back, celebrating our 100th Anniversary Milestone, ‘The Knott’s Family Reunion,’ debuting our new Bear-y Tales ride, ‘Knott’s Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair,’ and sharing many more surprises we have in store,” Bahena said in an email.

The company has already begun adding to its cast. “We are currently in the process of hiring staff members in preparation of our grand reopening. We recently had a virtual hiring event in which we aimed to hire around 1,700 employees,” she said.

In the meantime, Knott’s Berry Farm has seen success with its Taste of Boysenberry Festival, a food-focused outdoor event that will continue running until May 2.

In nearby Anaheim, Disneyland is slated to reopen its theme park on April 30, but only California residents will be able to purchase tickets.

Other Southern California theme parks are already entertaining guests.

Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles County reopened April 1 at 25 percent capacity with COVID-19 regulations, including mandatory masks and social distancing.

Seaworld in San Diego County is operating as a licensed and accredited zoo, with indoor and outdoor animal attractions open with limited capacity. Its rides and rollercoasters are still temporarily closed, and reservations for tickets must be purchased before visiting the site.

Legoland, located in Carlsbad, opened with select rides and attractions April 1. Legoland’s resort, water park, and aquarium will reopen April 15 with limited capacities. Pass holders and existing ticket holders will have priority to be the first park guests.

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