Irvine Accountant Looks at Economic Impacts from the Orange County Fair

Residents of Orange County know summertime means longer days and warmer nights at the O.C. Fair. Every summer Orange County looks forward to the economic boost the fair brings to the region. As an accountant in Irvine, CA for over 25 years I thought it would be fun to take a look at just how much the area is financially impacted.

Last year, overall attendance to the fair dipped 3% even though in the final 2 days the attendance surpassed 80,000 people each day. The overall attendance was 1,337,167 compared with 2013 attendance of 1,374,579. That was up from around 1.3 million visitors in 2012.

In December of 2014 the California Department of Food and Agriculture published an economic impact snapshot exploring the 2012 fair.

• In 2012 the O.C. Fair generated approximately $256,239,000 in spending activity.
• In 2012 the equivalent of 2,255 jobs were created as a result of spending by the Orange County Fair.
• The labor income generated by these additional jobs was approximately $85,447,000.

As it turns out the network of California fairs is a huge revenue generator with upward growth of $3.1 billion in economic activity benefiting the local, state and global economy. Fairs in California provide a major return on investment as well as provide the communities fantastic opportunities for fun, culture, tradition, heritage, and education.

Although the 2015 attendance numbers have not been released yet, we can look at the 2012 attendance as a reference in conjunction with the report. If 2013 saw around a 25% increase in attendance compared to 2012, of which generated $256,239,000 in spending, it’s safe to say 2013 generated around $64 million more in spending!

With high expectations that attendance would be up this year in 2015, it will be interesting to see how the Orange County area will be affected by the injection of over $320 million in spending. One factor I would also love to look into one day are the local business impacts on restaurants, hotels and gas stations in Costa Mesa and other neighboring cities that host the fair grounds. I’ll save this for another post.

The O.C. Fair runs through the weekend, so be sure to check out all it has to offer! My favorites of course are the funnel cakes, concerts, rides, and carnival games. As an accountant in the Irvine area I find all of these figures really intriguing and impressive. I hope you do to.

Economic Impact of California CDFA 32nd_DAA.pdf

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