Whether you're an Old Towne Orange native or have lived in Orange County for any part of your life, there's a pretty substantial chance you've been to the Orange International Street Fair or at least heard of it. We've written about the OISF many times over the years and believe me when I say that it's either a love it or hate it kind of event. I mean, with practically half a million people coming through our small town over the course of 2.5 days, it can get a little crazy downtown! This year, we've put together a few simple tips (that just might save your life) for he who is willing to brave our annual - both beloved and despised - 45th Annual International Street Fair.
I asked the staff here at Get Community/I Heart Old Towne Orange to each pass along their #1 tip for navigating the OISF, and here's what we've got to say.
Tip #1 - Don't be afraid to walk! If you can, park at Hart Park or in the Santiago Creek Park area and walk a few blocks to the street fair. Not only will you NOT drive around for hours looking for a close spot, but at the end of your stay you'll have a chance to walk some of those beers off before getting behind the wheel. But please, be smart and don't get behind the wheel at that point.
Tip #2 - Uber, Lyft or Train it! Seriously, this is the most obvious thing you should be doing rather than driving yourself, parking a mile away and walking in 90+ degree temperatures. These days having a driver is THE best - Uber changed the world! You can drink, not drive, and stay alive... all for the price of $10 - $30. OR, take the Metrolink peeps, it's a $10 round trip ride on Saturday and Sunday (yes, round trip). #winning - Get your tickets here.
Tip #3 - Getting your drink on. If you're planning on partaking in an adult beverage or two (or let's be honest, most of you will drink more than that), you're coming to the right place. The OISF is always spirit friendly (not the spooky kind), but you will need some cash in your pocket. Wristbands are $5 for those 21 and over - and credit cards aren't the norm. Come prepared with cash, comfy old shoes, and clothes you don't really care about. Chances are a beer will be spilled on you, your feet will be stepped on multiple times and vomiting is not out of the question. Yeah, yeah, just keeping it real folks, but please keep your drinking in check and your undigested beer to yourselves.
Tip #4 - It's a strategy game! This is important, especially for those of you who know what you like. Last year, changes were made to the various streets of the fair. If your game is to be 'in and out' then you must create a strategy. Your strategy should strategy involve the BEST times to go to the fair (see Tip #5), where to find your favorite foods (see map below), and finally how to find air conditioning. This last strategic tip is often right in front of your face. If you are HOT (the sweating kind) and smart, you will walk yourself into Provisions, Haven, Smoqued BBQ or The Wall for an icy cold craft beer and park your butt under an air vent. Believe me, plenty of beers will be sold at vendor booths and everybody will, in fact, win.
Tip #5 - Don't go? Ok, that's not gonna to happen, but here's when you should go if you don't like crowds but LOVE a good street fair (but really, if you don't like crowds, don't go). So, the ABSOLUTE BEST TIME TO GO TO THE STREET FAIR is on Friday the minute it starts - for the first 2 hours it's pretty awesome - then you should escape, especially if you have children with you! Also, hitting the OISF on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to Noonish is pretty good, you can be in and out and get everything you ever wanted. Finally, I want to impart a few words of wisdom, after around 8 pm on Friday and say 2 pm on Saturday and Sunday, your chances of experiencing things stated in Tip #3 will significantly increase, don't say I didn't warn you.
Now a final word, many of you out there are OISF die hards, and you should be proud of yourselves. It really can be a lot of fun, I've never personally had anything terrible happen to me, but I follow our Tip #5 pretty closely! For those of you that are going to spend the day or the night hooting and hollering it up at the fair, you'll want to know the line up of events, so here you go.
Enjoy the 45th OISF everybody, be safe, don't drink and drive, treat our local businesses with care and love, and be kind. Peace out and see you on the streets.