Orange International Street Fair Attracts Half a Million Visitors

By Mandy Huang

Since 1973, the city of Orange in southern California has held the Orange International Street Fair during Labor Day weekend in the Plaza Square in Old Towne.

The free three-day event attracts about half a million visitors, who enjoy live music and international dishes at various food and drink booths extending out from the Plaza, covering several blocks.

It’s also a big fundraiser for local organizations, with about 100 participating in the event this year. Around one dozen non-profit organizations, clubs and schools also sell beer that’s sponsored by Budweiser.

Some of the international cuisine this year came from Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Mexico, Italy, Greece, Germany, Japan, Denmark, Vietnam, England, and even more countries. Some visitors raved that the Greek gyros were a must-try. The Italian gelato was also very popular.

The street fair also included a kids zone with different games, and some nearby businesses tried to attract customers with special deals.

Ryan Zimmerly is a student and a Taekwondo coach who attends the fair almost every year.

“You might end up filling up on food before you get to try everything. As this is a three day event, you can come Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,” said Zimmerly.

Most food items were around $7 or $8 each, and people could order as many drinks as they wanted. Zimmerly warns people to come with enough money if they want to try a lot of items.

In addition, there were four performing stages at different locations. One on German Street seemed to attract the largest crowd with easy-going music and plenty of seats and shade for visitors to sip their beer, take a rest, or sing along with the music.

A German band was invited by “Knights of Columbus” to attract more crowds and raise more funds.

“We build houses for poor people, with Habitat for Humanity. We give money to many, many different organizations in the catholic church,” said Tony Paukstis, a member of Knights of Columbus.

The event has additional policemen on site to prevent any harmful activities; however, it’s a fairly calm and relaxed environment, and the alcohol is not allowed beyond the fair limit.

 
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