Many fandom events have occurred recently in Southern California. The term “fandom” refers to a broad range of pop culture interests and hobbies, from comics to video games to anime/manga and more. The most popular ones cost the most to get in, but a lot of smaller ones often do not cost much, if not completely free, to attend, and more often than not the smaller ones still attract a huge crowd, such as as Coast Con 2017. Hosted by Anime Academia, an organization of Orange Coast College, Coast Con represents a locally-run community event around all things anime, manga, and video games. Taking place this past Saturday from 12pm to 8pm, this free and all-ages event attracted hundreds of fans of anime, manga, and video games to this quaint gathering for a fun day of mixing and mingling. Visitors would find artists, merchandise, live entertainment, cosplay contests, video game booths, a maid café, and more.

While it may not have the abundant amount of content that larger conventions and expos would have, Coast Con still had enough content to keep visitors occupied for a few hours. The Student Center acted as the hub of the event, containing a check-in table, lots of vendors, and the maid café. Directly outside in the maid quad, more artists and vendors set up along the center aisle. Going past this aisle, we find the classrooms that had the event’s programming, which included the video game stations and anime viewing rooms. Walking down from the main quad to the Moore Theatre brought us to the main stage where they held the cosplay contests. I only stuck around for the main cosplay contest that had everyone strut their stuff for the audience, and boy did a lot of people dress up for such a low-key event. This goes to show the dedication that these cosplayers have towards their interests.

While Anime Academia exists as a college organization, they often put on events open to the public. Check out Anime Academia on Facebook to see what other events they have planned that you can attend.

The craft beer scene in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County has surged quite a bit in the past year or two, and the scene will continue to experience rapid growth for an indefinite amount of time. This trend saw another spike this past Saturday when Absolution Brewing Company celebrated their third anniversary. Located across the ExxonMobil Refinery from the Torrance microbrewery core (which consists of Smog City Brewing and Monkish Brewing), Absolution Brewing represents another fine member of the South Bay craft beer collective. While they may not yet appear as widespread as Smog City or Monkish, the brews of Absolution live up to the expectations of any brewery from the South Bay.

At their third anniversary celebration, guests could still enter the tasting room and order beers right off the menu. To add to the celebration, Absolution employed a handful of additions, which included cask ales, games, mobile food vendors, and live music. Guests could still purchase beers as normal at the counter, but to those looking for a festival experience, Absolution offered just that in the form of beer packages. A general package cost $25 and came with three full beer pours, a souvenir glass, and one meal ticket from the food vendors. The VIP experience took place from 11am to 1pm, which consisted of unlimited beer pours for those two hours, plus everything that the $25 package gets.

Expect lots of hype and excitement from the South Bay in the upcoming weeks. This upcoming Saturday, Phantom Carriage in Carson will celebrate their second anniversary. The following weekend, Redondo Beach’s King Harbor Brewing Company will celebrate their third anniversary as well. The Monkish anniversary already happened the previous week, but one can expect that Smog City should have an anniversary event before summer starts. Regardless, one cannot go wrong with breweries in the South Bay, so head on over and check out some breweries!

When it comes to adding flavor to foods, nothing can boss the sauce. At its base, sauce contains sugar, salt, pepper, or any combination of those plus additional ingredients. Some foods contain flavor within itself, such as meats that have seasonings and herbs that help bring out the meat’s natural flavor. Most of the time, people add sauces or condiments to their foods to add flavor. For the most part, sauces bring a sweet component to the table, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, steak sauce, or teriyaki sauce. Many other sauces can add flavor components from sour to salty to spicy and more. However, when it comes to enhancing the flavors of the original dish, nothing can beat hot sauce. The capsaicin in hot sauces helps to open up our taste buds, allowing us to detect and absorb more flavors. For those that cannot take the heat, just a little bit helps to greatly enhance the flavor of the dish, something you can do at Burger Parlor as of this week.

An Orange County staple, Burger Parlor brings the right balance of familiar foods with intuitive innovation. Now approaching their fifth year in business, Burger Parlor has the right business formula to keep customers coming back, as well as attract new customers to crave more. Their standard menu has not changed that much since they got started – the menu you see today contains items that has lived on that menu for years. However, that does not mean that Burger Parlor does not innovate – in fact, Burger Parlor appears to always have limited-time specials, such as their Gringo Bandito Burger available starting this week. Named for its signature ingredient, this burger comes with Gringo Bandito aioli, roasted Anaheim chiles, crushed avocado, a crisp tostada chip, a fried egg, and Gringo Bandito crema, topped with more Gringo Bandito sauce. Despite all the hot sauce getting thrown around, the overall burger does not come off as a spice attack. It balances quite nicely between the aioli, crema, avocado, and egg.

You can snag this burger at both Burger Parlor locations in Fullerton and Orange for a limited time. Head on over and taste this bit of heat to spice up your day. Follow Burger Parlor on Facebook and Twitter for more details about the Gringo Bandito Burger.

Some of California’s strongest athletes will compete in a strongman competition this Saturday morning in Huntington Beach as part of the 15th Annual California’s Strongest Man Contest. Taking place in a parking lot just east of Jack’s Concession Stand at Huntington State Beach, this competition allows visitors of all ages to spectate these weightlifting feats for free, as the competitors exhibit their strength and finesse among five different lifting rounds. While most of the competitors represent various lifting and/or barbell clubs or organizations, the contest still allows independent athletes to compete. Competitors will exhibit their athletic ability in the following events:

  1. Log clean & press: a power clean followed by a press/jerk using a log, barbell, or dumbbell
  2. Keg toss: throw a weighted keg over a high bar
  3. Farmer’s carry: hold onto two weights and move it over a distance
  4. Tire flip: flip heavy tires a set amount of times
  5. Atlas Stones: picking up a heavy Atlas Stone and lifting it over a hurdle

The event runs starting at 9:30am and goes until about 2:30pm. Its exact location resides in the parking lot across Pacific Coast Highway from the Waterfront Beach Resort. The closest free parking lies on Atlanta Avenue and the neighborhood north of it. Anyone planning to spectate should have sunscreen applied and prepare for hot weather. Spots to stand around the competition area to spectate operate on a first come first served basis. Spectators can find plenty of food & drink options at Pacific City one block up Pacific Coast Highway.

As of the time of this post, open competitor spots still remain – refer to the website linked above to inquire about registering to compete. For more information regarding this event as well as weightlifting training, check out East Coast/West Coast Strength Speed Conditioning on Facebook, or check out their YouTube for videos that include competitions from previous years.

Bottle Logic Brewing 3rd Anniversary Celebration Week – The Week of Logic
March 19-25
Bottle Logic Brewing, Anaheim
http://bottlelogic.com/

In anticipation of a massive turnout, Bottle Logic will celebrate their anniversary with a full week of beer festivities. Starting on Sunday, Bottle Logic will release a new beer daily, culminating with the release of their anniversary ale on Saturday. Throughout the week, Bottle Logic will also bring back some old favorites, as well as opportunities to win merchandise. None of the days require a cover or admission fee – simply show up, and drink away.

Women’s Beer Forum
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, March 22
Eagle Rock Brewery, Eagle Rock
http://www.eaglerockbrewery.com/womens-beer-forum/

$30 gets you a flight of four beers from various breweries. Judging by historical posts about this event, it appears that men may not participate in this.

Cro-Mags: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, March 22, Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
8:30 pm – 1:30 am, March 23, Soda Bar, Normal Heights, San Diego
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, March 24, Union Nightclub, Los Angeles
http://www.cro-mags.com/

Hardcore punk band Cro-Mags will headline some shows in Southern California this week. Ticket prices to each show varies, so check with their website for details. No one under 21 may enter any of these shows.

Universal Flow Gathering 2017
March 23-26
Apple Valley
http://www.universalflowgathering.com/

Many details about this event remains unknown such as time and location, but this looks like a hippie gathering out in the desert with music, yoga, interpretive dance, and more. It costs $150 to attend this. No one under 18 may attend.

13th Annual San Clemente Mixologist Competition
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, March 23
Pierside Kitchen & Bar, San Clemente
http://www.scchamber.com/events/details/san-clemente-mixologist-competition-03-24-2016-1073

Local bartenders work their magic to deliver quality drinks with a quality show this Thursday afternoon in San Clemente. Admission costs $35, and comes with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a sampling of the presented libations while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

The Grand Celebration Event
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm, March 23
Anaheim GardenWalk, Anaheim
http://www.anaheimgardenwalk.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/771332659693542/

Free to attend for all ages, this art walk will contain live entertainment, food samples, giveaways, demos, art, and more.

Leftöver Crack: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, March 23, The Observatory, Santa Ana
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, March 24, Majestic Ventura Theatre, Ventura
http://www.facebook.com/Leftover-Crack-190096094352619/

Punk rock band Leftöver Crack will headline some shows in Southern California this week. Ticket prices to these all-ages show vary, so check with the venue for ticket prices.

Kilowatt Brewing’s 2 Year Anniversary Black Light Party
March 24-26
Kilowatt Brewing, Kearny Mesa, San Diego
http://kilowatt.beer/

One of the hundreds of breweries in San Diego celebrates their second anniversary this week, and to stand out from the crowd, they will celebrate with black lights instead. They will have special anniversary beer releases, glasses, and t-shirts available. This has no admission or cover charge – simply show up and enjoy a cold one or two.

67th Annual Los Angeles County Science & Engineering Fair
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, March 24-25
Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena
http://lascifair.org/

See lots of science and engineering projects from students this week at the Pasadena Convention Center. Free to attend for all ages, this event will have student projects on display as well as many seminars about science and engineering.

SoCal Etsy Guild Market – Riverside
10:00 am – 9:00 pm, March 24-25
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, March 26
Galleria at Tyler, Riverside
http://socaletsyguild.com/

Free to attend for all ages, the SoCal Etsy Guild will hold its monthly vendor market this weekend, filled with dozens of vendors selling apparel, accessories, and more.

Noche de Estrellas
6:30 pm – 10:30 pm, March 24
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach
http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/noche_de_estrellas/

This all-ages Latin-themed party celebrates the sea stars of the aquarium. Live bands, DJ’s, dancers, and more will keep the Latin music going all throughout the night. Entry into this party comes with the cost of admission into the aquarium.

Punk Rock Karaoke
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, March 24, Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, March 25, Brick By Brick, San Diego
http://www.originalpunkrockkaraoke.com/

Live out your punk rock dream with Punk Rock Karaoke this weekend, complete with a backing band consisting of professional musicians. Admission costs $10 for each show. No one under 21 may enter.

Dirty Little Secrets Burlesque – Video Game Mania
8:30 pm – 11:30 pm, March 24
Harvelle’s, Downtown Long Beach
http://www.dirtylittlesecretsburlesque.com/

Check out a burlesque show that pays tribute to video games this Friday night in Long Beach. General admission costs $15 while a reserved seat costs $30. No one under 21 may attend.

Adult Skate Night
9:30 pm – 12:00 am, March 24
The Rinks, Huntington Beach
http://www.ocderby.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1655108801450035/

If you ever wanted to try roller derby or just skate with current players, you have a chance this Friday in Huntington Beach. Registration costs $7 and includes rental gear. No one under 18 may attend.

Tough Mudder Los Angeles 2017
7:00 am – 6:00 pm, March 25-26
Glen Helen Raceway, San Bernardino
http://toughmudder.com/events/2017-los-angeles

Tough Mudder needs no introduction – its legacy alone describes it in ways that words cannot. Expect to train hard this week, all leading up to madness this weekend.

25th Annual Walk With The Animals
8:00 am – 12:00 pm, March 25
Fairmount Park, Riverside
http://www.petsadoption.com/index.php/news/events/290-walk-with-the-animals-2017

Enjoy a pancake breakfast, a pet walk, and K-9 demonstrations this Saturday morning in Riverside. Registration costs $25 for adults or $15 for children. All participants receive a t-shirt and the pancake breakfast.

Bubble Run Anaheim
8:00 am – 12:00 pm, March 25
Angel Stadium, Anaheim
http://bubblerun.com/upcoming-locations/anaheim-ca-2017/

Tired of the same 5k run everywhere? If you have had your fill of color runs and glow runs, try your hand at the Bubble Run. Participants wear all white and run through colored foam bogs in this 5k race. Registration costs $50, and all levels of runners may participate. Space will fill up fast, so register early, and try to carpool to this event.

Piecemakers Peddler’s Market
8:00 am – 3:00 pm, March 25
Piecemakers Country Store, Costa Mesa
http://www.piecemakers.com/events/peddlers.html

Free to attend for all ages, this semiannual outdoor market contains dozens of local vendors selling various goods from antiques to apparel to accessories and lots more. Visitors will surely find great items to furnish a living space or to give away as gifts.

Discover The Dinosaurs – Los Angeles
9:00 am – 7:00 pm, March 25-26
Fairplex, Pomona
http://www.discoverthedinosaurs.com/

Bring your friends and family to this dinosaur exhibit at the Fairplex in Pomona this weekend. Check out all the dinosaur exhibits or participate in arts & crafts, while children can play in the inflatables section. Admission ranges from $18 to $25 – see the website for pricing details.

15th Annual California’s Strongest Man Contest
9:30 am – 2:30 pm, March 25
Parking lot east of Jack’s Beach Concession, Huntington Beach
http://eastweststrength.com/contest/

Free to attend for spectators, come watch a strongman competition down by the beach this Saturday morning.

OC Weekly’s Fresh Toast 2017
11:00 am – 2:00 pm, March 25
Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, Newport Beach
http://www.ocweekly.com/freshtoast

Splurge on breakfast foods, beer, cocktails, coffee, and more this Saturday early afternoon in Newport Beach. Tickets cost $40 per person and includes unlimited food and drink samples while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

2017 ¡Latin Food Fest! Los Angeles
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, March 25
Santa Monica State Beach, Santa Monica
http://latinfoodfest.com/

The title explains it all – sample all sorts of Latin foods and drinks at this tasting event in Santa Monica. General admission costs $29 and starts at 12pm. Early admission costs $109 and starts at 11am. VIP admission costs $149, also starts at 11am, and provides access to a VIP area.

Timeline Photos

Tequila & Taco Music Festival
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, March 25-26
Embarcadero Marina Park South, San Diego
http://www.tequilaandtacomusicfestival.com/

Indulge on tacos and liquor this weekend in San Diego. Entry into the festival costs $10 per person per day. A $40 Saturday admission exists that comes with six half-ounce tequila samples plus a souvenir glass, but this sampling only occurs from 11am to 3pm on Saturday. All admission does NOT include food or drinks – those come at a separate cost.

Sip ‘n Savor
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, March 25
Quartyard, San Diego
http://go.liverfoundation.org/site/PageNavigator/sip_main.html

A food & alcohol tasting event takes place in Downtown San Diego this Saturday afternoon. General admission costs $55 presale or $60 at the door. VIP admission costs $120 and provides access to a VIP line and VIP area. All attendees receive unlimited drink samples plus ten food samples, only from 12pm to 3pm and all while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Phantom Carriage Brewery’s 2nd Anniversary Party
2:00 pm – 9:00 pm, March 25
Phantom Carriage Brewery, Carson
http://www.phantomcarriage.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1460843950593627/

Phantom Carriage turns two years old this week, and to celebrate, they will have lots of rare beers at their tasting room in Carson this Saturday. Unlike last year, they will not have a festival nor an admission fee – simply show up, buy the $7 anniversary glass, and then pay for beers as you go.

Spring Beer Release Party
2:00 pm – 12:00 am, March 25-26
Hamilton Family Brewery, Rancho Cucamonga
http://www.hamiltonfamilybrewery.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/665921790243415/

Rancho Cucamonga’s Hamilton Family Brewery will release their two spring seasonal brews this weekend. Stop on by and enjoy these refreshing brews.

2017 Grain Games
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, March 25
Rainwater Gallery, Huntington Beach
http://www.statementsmagazine.com/woodsnap

Check out a free art gallery this Saturday night in Huntington Beach that will feature lots of art, where the winning works will get placed on wood canvases.

Orange County Beer & Music Festival
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 25
The Yost Theater, Santa Ana
http://www.orangecounty-beerfestival.com/

Drink your night away at this corporate beer festival taking place this Saturday night in lovely Downtown Santa Ana. General admission costs $35 and starts at 7pm, while VIP admission costs $50 and starts at 6pm. All attendees receive unlimited beer pours for the duration of the event while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Hot Chocolate 15k/5k San Diego
6:00 am – 9:00 am, March 26
Petco Park, Downtown San Diego
http://www.hotchocolate15k.com/sandiego/

Run through Downtown San Diego this Sunday morning, and get lots of chocolate out of it, not just the hot drinkable kind. Registration costs $54 for the 5k or $74 for the 15k race.

19th Annual Reaching For The Cure: Run & Ride
6:00 am – 2:00 pm, March 26
Irvine Valley College, Irvine
http://pcrf-kids.org/events/reaching-for-the-cure-half-marathon/

Run or ride at this fundraising event this weekend in Irvine. Registration starts at $40 and goes up based on duration and mode.

CicLAvia
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, March 26
Washington Blvd, Culver City/Venice
http://www.ciclavia.org/

Much of Washington Blvd from Culver City to Venice will close to bikers this Sunday afternoon. Cars may not enter the designated areas during this time – only bikers and pedestrians may roam the streets.

South Bay Food Swap 2017
11:00 am – 1:00 pm, March 26
Honest Abe Cidery, Carson
http://southbayfoodswap.wixsite.com/2017

As the name suggests, this event allows attendees to trade food with others. Exchanged items should come from the person’s own work, not bought from a store. From raw ingredients to prepared foods, as long as both parties agree to the trade, it can happen here.

2017 Vegan Street Fair
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, March 26
NoHo Commons, North Hollywood
http://www.veganstreetfair.com/

The vegans have their day in North Hollywood this Sunday afternoon. This event takes place on the streets of North Hollywood, closing Chandler Blvd between Lankershim and Vineland to traffic. Dozens of vendors will set up booths in this event, serving up vegan food samples to all visitors. Entry to the fair costs nothing, while most vendors will sell food for under $3.

Bottle Share @ Monrovia Homebrew Shop
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, March 26
Monrovia Homebrew Shop, Monrovia
http://www.monroviahomebrewshop.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/174205466421861/

Share a beer or two at this free bottle share in Monrovia this Sunday afternoon. Guests should bring a 22oz bomber or two 12oz bottles to share with others.

Craft Beerd 4th Anniversary Party
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, March 26
AleSmith Brewing, San Diego
http://www.craftbeerd.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/2228084184083393/

Beer apparel designer Craft Beerd celebrates four years in business this week with a party at AleSmith Brewing. This event costs nothing to attend. Craft Beerd will have all their merchandise on sale here, including some limited edition items. For every $40 spent, you will receive a souvenir glass.

LA Weekly’s The Essentials
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, March 26
California Market Center, Downtown Los Angeles
http://essentials.laweekly.com/

Mix & mingle with other rich people as you munch on delicate food and drink samples curated by some of Los Angeles’ most hip places to hang out at. General admission costs $65 and starts at 2pm, while VIP admission costs $105 and starts at 1pm. All attendees receive unlimited food and drink samples while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

8th Annual AutoCon Los Angeles
1:00 pm – 8:00 pm, March 26
Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles
http://www.autoconevents.com/autocon-los-angeles-2017/

See all things cars at AutoCon this Saturday at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown LA. Attendees will find hundreds of classic & customs cars, a huge vendor village, demos, food trucks, import models, and more. General admission to this all-ages convention cost $20 presale or $25 at the door. Bring cash for parking as well, which will cost between $15 to $20 per vehicle.

19th Annual Huntington Beach Crabfest
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, March 26
Old World Village, Huntington Beach
http://hblionscrabfest.com/

An all-you-can-eat crab feast comes to Huntington Beach this Sunday evening. The $70 admission allows you to stuff yourself full of crab and other sides and appetizers.

Skacore Night @ Union Nightclub
7:30 pm – 12:30 am, March 26
Union Nightclub, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/614847555381126/

Get your skanking on at this all-ages skacore show this Sunday night. The cover for this show costs $8.

The Spring 2017 edition of the Los Angeles Comic Book & Science Fiction Convention returned to The Reef this past Sunday. This small gathering for comic book fans occurs quite often throughout the year, but does not draw crowds as huge as the major conventions such as the big one in San Diego. This event caters well for fans looking to actually browse and shop for comic books, toys, accessories, and other merchandise. Unlike other comic book conventions, I did not witness any artists or writers at this past weekend’s event, although the event certainly has the space to host them. I also did not encounter many cosplayers – I saw no more than ten people dressed up in character during my visit. However, this event still managed to bring out some celebrities from film and television for fan meet & greets.

If you want a good way to shop for items for yourself or the friends & family into comics, the Los Angeles Comic Book & Science Fiction Convention makes for a fun local event sure to deliver what you need. This event occurs a few times a year, so make sure you like them on Facebook to see when they will return with another event.

The Hermosa Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade returned to Downtown Hermosa Beach for its 32nd year running this past Saturday afternoon. Covering the streets of Downtown Hermosa Beach, the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce gives back to the community every year with this local treat that celebrates the local politicians and businesses. Featuring a plethora of local businesses, organizations, and politicians, every participating group represented one part out of the South Bay’s many diverse aspects. From marching bands to local dance crews to community service organizations to servicemen, if it had roots in the South Bay, it had a spot in this parade.