OC Fair promises good times for all

The OC Fair has, once again, set the Orange County Wine Society up for fun all summer long (apologies to The Beach Boys)! The fair runs Friday, July 14, through Sunday, Aug. 13, with Monday and Tuesday dark. This year’s theme, “Happy Together,” fits not only the fair but the whole atmosphere of The Courtyard.

The Courtyard at the OC Fair is our major fundraiser for the entire year. Not only does it provide operating revenue for OCWS, it is the face of our organization to the fairgoers (more than 1 million in 2022)! The fair is also the source of many new OCWS members each year. When some attendees see how much fun the OCWS is, they join on the spot.

The Courtyard runs on volunteers and is a rewarding and fun opportunity. Rich Skoczylas is again coordinating the volunteer sign-ups. Invitations for managers, stewards and cashiers will be sent via email in April. Server sign-ups will open up the OCWS website May 1. Volunteers must sign-up for a minimum of four shifts. If you have not previously worked as a cashier or a steward and have previous experience working in The Courtyard and would like to cashier or steward, contact Rich at We will consider your experience for these positions. Leslie Hodowanec is the set-up/tear-down crew chair and will announce the dates as the fair opening approaches.

This summer, the fair is requiring everyone who works at The Courtyard to complete the Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) training that the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) requires for alcoholic beverage service. This is an online training class followed by a test. Teri Lane is the coordinator for training and more information will follow with links to the class and ABC. The certification is valid for three years and everyone who completed the class last year is still good to go.

At this writing, it looks like The Courtyard will have a summer run much like last year. We are planning on serving varietal wines by the glass, tastes of the award-winning wines and having the Express Bar. The fun and popular Featured Winery Program hosted by Liz and Lloyd Corbett (that earned more than $15,000 in scholarship donations) will be back. The ever popular, often- sold-out wine seminars also will return.

Don’t forget the added benefits of working shifts over the four-week run. Your credentials will give you access to the fair any day it is open (even sold-out days) and your parking pass also is valid. The big pluses are the wine tickets that equate to two glasses of varietal wine or eight tastes of award winners per shift worked. You can pour the two glasses into a Govino glass and head to a show. The lists the concert events at both The Hangar and the Pacific Amphitheatre.

If you haven’t volunteered for The Courtyard in a while, consider returning this summer for some of that summer fun. If you are new to The Courtyard, come on down. Fran Gitsham and I are co-chairing The Courtyard this year and we will see you at the Orange County Fair!
—Fred Heinecke,
OCWS Director