Every year during Labor Day weekend the city of Orange gears up for their annual International Street Fair. This is the 45th year for the street fair that is held in the downtown area of Orange famously known as the Orange Circle however its official name is Plaza Park. The downtown area is blocked off for three days every year and this year the fair will take place September 1-3. You can already see the preparation in downtown Orange as the four downtown streets that merge at the circle are already decorated with banners. There are five things you must do to prepare for the fair.
There are 15 featured countries this year that will be selling food ethnic to their country. Some of my favorites include the America region which features roasted corn and tater tots. There is also England street which features fish and chips and then there’s Mexico that features traditional Mexican food such as tacos, burritos, nachos and quesadillas. A very popular country is Germany that sells Bratwurst hot dogs. Some of the streets will also sell alcohol native to their country such as margaritas in Mexico or German beer in Germany. To see the full list of food items, check out the street fair’s official website at http://www.orangestreetfair.org
Although some places do accept credit cards, it is best to bring some cash. I always take at least $60 cash to spend on food and alcohol. It is the best form of payment and will make lines go by a lot faster. If you are taking kids, then definitely take at least $20 per child as the food can get quite pricey. You have to remember that the businesses that are selling food and alcohol are sometimes nonprofits who are trying to raise money for their causes. You can find schools and churches as some of the nonprofits taking part in the event. You can also find businesses who are selling items such as clothes and other unique items. These businesses are usually lined up around the Circle.
Uber or get a ride if possible
I have driven to the festival the past few years and have managed to find parking either at the Chapman library, which you can pay for, or a few blocks away in the neighborhood for free or at another public parking lot that you can pay for. I don’t recommend parking at business offices that are closed because you might get ticketed, but the Chapman library is a good choice. I recommend that you Uber there or get a ride if possible because if not, you are going to be walking quite a distance to get to the fair. I also recommend that you get there early because the crowds tend to go after 5pm so if you take the kids out to lunch there, you will find less crowds.
Bring the kids… Or not
There is plenty you can do as a family or with other adults at this fair. There is a children’s street at the fair so the kids can play carnival games, make crafts and eat snacks in this area. If you are going with adults, there is plenty of food to try, music to dance to and various types of alcohol you can purchase in the various streets. If you do bring kids, then take them early in the day as there are less crowds during that time. Because alcohol is served there, the later crowds tend to get a bit rowdy so take that into consideration when taking kids.
Come prepared to dance
There are several music stages throughout the fair and there will be entertainment at various times throughout the day with the evening being the most popular time. Once alcohol sales end at 9pm you can go over to a local bar and continue drinking responsibly with friends. Two popular bars are The District and Paul’s Cocktails which are walking distance from the fair. I would go early however to avoid standing in long lines as these places fill up fast. If you are looking to dance, then definitely go to The District and if you are looking to just have a drink such as pear cider which is my favorite, then head over to Paul’s Cocktails.
I hope you take the time to enjoy the Orange International Street Fair sometime during Labor Day weekend. It’s a great way to end the summer as this is the unofficial start to the fall season. The best part about the fair is definitely the food and we can’t wait to see what new food items are featured this year. Happy Labor Day weekend!
Event Dates and Hours
Friday, September 1 from 5pm-10pm
Saturday, September 2 from 10am-10pm
Sunday, September 3 from 10am-10pm
For more information, please check out the International Street Fair’s official website, http://www.orangestreetfair.org