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OC Fair a floral fest

July 04, 2006

Flower power, indeed.

The Orange County Fair's theme this year is "Flower Power," and it's got plenty of both.

When the first visitors drop in to Thursday's free "Taste of the Fair," they'll, of course, see hanging flower baskets everywhere.

There is a gardening exhibit every year at the fair, but new additions this year include an Italian garden, a butterfly garden and a floral pavilion of creative floral arrangements by local florists.

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But if gardening's not your thing, check out the "Lucha Libre" show July 22-23 that features wrestlers from Mexico and Orange County. The Mexican-style wrestling should be familiar to fans of theatrical, antic-driven professional wrestling.

"What's really unique about it for us this year is not only are we going to have some of the local wrestlers with World Power Wrestling, but we are going to be bringing in some celebrities from Mexico," Doug Lofstrom, the fair's director of planning said.

The celebrities include El Hijo del Santo, Dr. Wagner Jr., Super Kendo and Super Parka.

"If they have interest in going to any of the shows this year, I would suggest going early, because seating is limited," he added.

Believe it. The concert schedule features luminaries such as comic Bill Cosby, Paul Simon, The Steve Miller Band, Linda Ronstadt, the Moody Blues, Seal, X and Cindy Lauper.

Hipper acts include Danger Mouse's new gig, Gnarls Barkley; as well as All American Rejects and Velvet Revolver.

The concert series also features the Fab Four doing a different Beatles tribute show each night, a reggaeton (dance music) night, Mariachi Sol de Mexico and a Reggae Fest.

"They (Mariachi Sol de Mexico) are probably one of the premier mariachi groups in southern California," Lofstrom said.

Other Spanish-singing performers on the schedule are Maldita Vecindad and Julieta Venegas.

The fair will run from July 7-30, with a free "Taste of the Fair" event from 7:30 to to 8:45 p.m. Thursday. Visitors Thursday will get to sample free food and enjoy a fireworks display and a performance by Aga-Boom!, a group of Russian clowns.

Other highlights include the Washington Mutual arena demolition derby and speedway racing, bull riding, the culinary arts series and the Junior Livestock Auction.

The fair also has its educational and charitable goals.

For those wanting to learn about alternative sources of energy, there will be a UC Irvine fuel cell exhibit, Joan Hamill, the fair's director of community relations, said.

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