It's time for the Big Irish Fair. Billed as the largest Irish Fair in the Western United States, this festival of Celtic culture is moving to Long Beach this year.
The event features multiple entertainment stages with regional Irish dance competitions, and a variety of traditional and contemporary Irish music styles. This year's music line-up includes the Fenians, Young Dubliners, Golden Bough, Anita and the Mansfield Band, Irish dance, harp and fiddle competitions, and more. There are also sheep herding demonstrations and rides for the kids.
When: Saturday and Sunday, June 14-15, 2014, 10 am - 7:00 pm
Where: El Dorado Park, Area III, 7550 E Spring Street,Long Beach, CA
Cost: Adults $15 advance, $20 on fair days, Seniors (62+) and students $14 advance, $16 at the gate, Children 12 and under, free. $3 Off with coupon on the website.
Parking: for an additional fee at the park
View photos from the Big Irish Fair.
Photo © 2006 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com
This weekend is the LA Wine Fest at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Although it's called a wine festival and there are dozens of vineyards represented, you'll also find other spirits to taste, including a wide variety of tequilas. A dozen restaurants will also be on hand to feed you, and lifestyle exhibitors to tempt your wallet. There will also be educational seminars on wine and cheese pairings and more.
When: May 31 - June 1, 2014, Sat 2 - 6 pm, Sun noon - 5 pm
Where: Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Ave, Hollywood, CA 90038
Cost: $70-$85 Single Day General Admission, $25 Designated Driver, Couple $130, additional fee for seminars
Parking: metered street parking, pay lot across the street
Metro: Red Line to Vermont/Santa Monica, walk 2 blocks south
West Hollywood will go all out June 6-8, 2014 for the annual LA Pride Festival, Christopher Street West. Highlights include live bands on the main stage, DJs, a Country stage, Latin Dance, Hip Hop and R&B stage. There are also art exhibits and various gathering spaces. There will also be youth activities and a Children's Garden. The festival takes place along San Vicente Boulevard from Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue. The three-day event begins with the West Hollywood Dyke March and Lavender Menace Friday evening and culminates with the all-day Pride Parade and more festival on Sunday.
Friday, June 6 - Dyke March 7:30 pm and Lavender Menace 5 - midnight
Saturday, June 7 - Festival 12 Noon - 12 Midnight
Sunday, June 8 - Festival 11 am - 11 am, Parade 11 am to about 4 pm.
Dyke March: From San Vicente east on Santa Monica Blvd.
Festival: The entrance to the festival is on San Vicente Blvd just south of Santa Monica Blvd.
Parade: Santa Monica Blvd from Crescent Heights to Robertson
Festival Tickets: single day $20 online or at the gate, discounts are available for seniors, and the disabled at Christopher Street West office, (323) 969-8302 or with ID at the special ticket sales window at the event. $12 Seniors, Disabled and Veterans, 2-day passes $35 online (click Attend on the website) $40 at the gate. Free for Children under 12 and Active Military
Parking: Permit restrictions on the streets of West Hollywood will be suspended from 7 am Saturday to 7 am Monday. Check the website for additional parking information.
Info and Tickets: www.lapride.org
Note: Streets will be closed for a few blocks beyond the festival area, so if you're not going to the event, it's a good idea to stay out of West Hollywood for the weekend.
Photo courtesy of the West Hollywood CVB
The word "alternative" has different meanings to different people, but it generally has a sense of doing something other than what everyone else is doing. If you want to get away from the top Los Angeles attractions, and have a different story to tell from your LA vacation, here are my picks for the top 12 Alternative Things to Do in LA with some ideas that might have you thinking..."hmm, never thought of doing that in LA." There are tons more ideas in my comprehensive guide to What to Do in LA.
Photo by George Wolfe, LA River Expeditions
Some of the best parties in Los Angeles are fundraisers, which range from big festivals for a small fee to intimate events with a hefty price tag. Aside from the constant stream of walkathons, events tend to be centered around food, alcohol and music. Yes, you might have your heartstrings tugged and be inspired by the work done by the benefiting charity, but if you're visiting Los Angeles, it's a great way to meet the locals and possibly do a little celebrity spotting for a good cause.
Here are a few ways to party for good in LA.
The LAWineFest, benefiting Make a Wish Foundation, will take place May 31 - June 1, 2014 at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. In addition to wine tasting and education, there are restaurant booths, food trucks and vendor booths. $85, $1530/couple, Designated driver $25 www.LAWineFest.com
Also June 1, 2014 is Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation food and wine event in Culver City, part of a national effort to stamp out child hunger in America. LA's top chefs and celebrity fans show out in force for this event. $110+ http://ce.strength.org/events/taste-nation-los-angeles. There is also a Taste of the Nation event in Laguna Beach on June 8, 2014.
The non-profit Walk With Sally, which provides mentors to children who have lost a parent to cancer, is hosting their annual star-studded White Light White Night Gala July 19, 2014 at a location yet to be announced. www.walkwithsally.org
You could lounge around on one of LA's many beaches, or go to one or more of the many Memorial Day Weekend Commemorations and festive celebrations this weekend, but if you're up for something a little more adventurous, take one of these Adventure Learning Lessons in LA from surfing to flying or book any of a variety of adventure options from kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, paragliding, or motorcycle rental to horseback riding in the local mountains on Kijubi.com.
The Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda will offer free admission for Memorial Day, May 26, 2014. Special activities for the day include a formal wreath-laying ceremony at 10:15 am and a family concert featuring the Placentia Symphonic Band at 2 pm. Book your free tickets through the website.
The Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace
18001 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Hours: Mon - Sat 10 am - 5 pm, Sun 11 am - 5 pm
The Reagan Library in Simi Valley charges regular admission on Memorial Day, but is still a popular destination for the holiday. If you're planning a visit there over the weekend, go early. They often stop selling tickets as early as 2 pm so everyone has time to visit Air Force One before 5 o'clock closing. Visit www.reaganfoundation.org for more info.
If you missed the Book of Mormon, at the Pantages, you can still catch it in Orange County at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts May 13 to 25, 2014. From South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez , who co-created the hit musical Avenue Q, the irreverent Book of Mormon pokes fun not only at Mormons, but at all organized religions. After opening to rave reviews on Broadway in March 2011, the show won 9 Tony Awards including Best Musical. There are only a few tickets left, so book now at www.scfta.org.
There are so many fun things going on around Los Angeles for Memorial Day weekend that I'm having a hard time making up my mind what to do myself. It's forecast to be pleasant toward cool at LA beaches, which means the crowds will likely be even bigger at LA Theme Parks.
The best patriotic parades of the weekend will be in Canoga Park, but the parade is not the only big event in the East Valley for the holiday weekend. The Topanga Days Country Fair has its own little country parade along with a three-day music festival and Greek music, dance and food fans will be kicking up their heels at the Valley Greek Festival in Northridge. Even further north is the Cajun Music Festival in Simi Valley.
In the Southbay, Hermosa Beach will be the center of attention with the three-day Fiesta Hermosa music festival and street fair.
In Orange County, Garden Grove will host the annual Strawberry Festival starting Friday night, and further south, the Scottish Fair and Highland Games will take over the Orange County Fairgrounds.
Details of these and memorial ceremonies can be found on my list of Memorial Day Events in Los Angeles.
Disneyland will kick off the summer season with 24 hours of fun and food, pirates, princesses, villains and party animals - staying open from 6 am Friday, May 23 until 6 am Saturday morning May 24, 2014. Dressing up as your favorite pirate, princess, mermaid, mouse or other Disney character is encouraged (see costume guidelines here http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/24-hour-event/). Disneyland will host an after-hours swing-dance party, and both parks will be serving up special scarey foods for the duration. Not all rides and attractions will run the full 24 hours.
It's one day you can be sure to get your money's worth from a 1 day ticket, but it's sure to be crowded.
Top photo by Paul Auyeung, bottom by Todd Anderson, courtesy of Disneyland Resort