The Los Angeles Cookie Con & Sweets Show returned to the Los Angeles Convention Center this past weekend for its third year running. As the name suggests, this event featured all manners of sweets and desserts, but especially cookies and anything related to cookies. From traditional cookies to cookie sandwiches to cookie ice cream to cookie cups, if it had to do with cookies, attendees would find it here. This year’s event setup largely resembled last year – in the first year, it took place at the Pasadena Convention Center. Due to overwhelming popularity, they moved it to the LA Convention Center, expanded the event to two days, and tripled the ticket price. However, last year’s event STILL sold out. This year, admission went up to $60, and it still appeared as though they sold out once again.

Although now in their third year, it appears that some things never change. For the most part, the organizers have solved the problem of most of the lines. Last year, attendees had to wait in a line outside the convention center to even enter, and then once inside had to wait in a line to scan their tickets, and then wait in another line to get into the expo hall where the event took place. All of that did not exist this time – what lines did remain resided within the expo halls. Despite the best efforts to qualm all the line-waiting that attendees did, no one could avoid the massive lines for the vendors once inside the expo hall. Once inside, all the attendees faced lines upon lines for the few vendors that had samples. At this Cookie Con, less than half the vendors had actual samples for attendees to try – most of the vendors set up to sell things, such as products or services. Basically, attendees paid $60 in order to wait in lines to spend even more money. At this rate, eating $60’s worth of food would only occur if this event had a quarter of the amount of attendees so that everyone could efficiently reach the front of lines. In reality, it took half an hour of waiting in each line to finally get a sample of a cookie or some other dessert. On the other hand, the few vendors that had savory foods instead of sweets did not have bad lines, so I could easily get food samples such as jerky and tamales.

I fully expect Cookie Con to return next year, and likely with increased admission once again. When Southern California has food fests similar to this that costs like $175 or more to get in that sell out all the time, Cookie Con can just keep raising their prices, and would still sell out. If paying exorbitant admission fees to see these vendors sounds bad to you, just independently support the businesses on your own, such as Maya Brigadeiro or Bad Pickle Tees. The Cookie Con site (linked above) has a full list of all the vendors. By directly supporting the vendors, you omit the admission fees of going to an event, and you get to select what you want to see without the hassle of dealing with crowds of people and the dozens of strollers taking up space. Plenty of other dessert events will come up soon in the greater Los Angeles area, so check out my weekly events post every Monday to see how you can satisfy your sweet tooth.

Americans love their coffee. Visiting and inhabiting coffee shops represents a traditional American pastime. Business meetings, clubs, and first dates all do well with coffee in hand. Americans love their coffee so much that they dedicated events towards the love of coffee, such as at CoffeeCon LA 2017. Taking place at The Reef in Los Angeles this weekend, this java-themed event features all things coffee, from various types of coffee to coffee edibles to coffee equipment and more. Dozens of vendors may sample their brews, both hot and cold, while a handful of other vendors will exhibit their coffee complements, such as candy, desserts, and other food. Many other vendors exhibit coffee equipment, such as machines or presses used to brew coffee. Throughout the day, seminars take place detailing various topics about coffee, from the origins of certain types of coffee to how to utilize coffee in the culinary sense.

Due to last year’s overwhelming attendance, CoffeeCon has made some changes this year to accommodate attendees. They have expanded CoffeeCon from one day to both Saturday and Sunday. Admission for one day costs $15 per person, while two-day admission costs $20. A $40 ticket exists that grants one-day admission plus access to a coffee tasting seminar at 2pm. This seminar can only take up to 100 people each day, so if this interests you, act fact before it sells out. Last year’s CoffeeCon took place in the basement of The Reef, a small, tight, and compact space. They have not yet specified where in The Reef that CoffeeCon will take place this year, so prepare for a tight space again if it comes back to the basement. Attendees should bring extra cash if they intend to buy anything here, since most of the vendors will sells things and not necessarily sample their goods. Parking at the venue costs $10 per vehicle, but visitors can find street parking in a residential neighborhood about a block away, and can avoid paying to park.

For more information regarding CoffeeCon events both in Southern California and the rest of the nation, check them out on Facebook and Twitter for other updates.

5th Annual San Diego Comic Fest
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, February 17
9:00 am – 11:00 pm, February 18-19
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 20
Four Points by Sheraton, Parkview, San Diego
http://www.sdcomicfest.org/

Much smaller and more intimate than the San Diego Comic Con, this weekend expo will feature artists, writers, actors, models, screenings, speakers, autograph sessions, merchandise, apparel, accessories, and more. Admission on Saturday or Sunday costs $25 for adults, $12.50 for students, and free for children. Admission for Monday costs $15 for adults, $7.50 for students, and still free for children. A 4-day weekend pass costs $50 for adults, $25 for children, and still free for children. Parking costs $4 per vehicle per day.

Dine Out Long Beach Restaurant Week 2.0
February 19-25
Participating restaurants, Long Beach
http://dineoutlongbeach.com/

The city of Long Beach has so many fine restaurants that they will have an entire week to celebrate the bounty. During this 7-day period, participating restaurants will have various food & drink specials. Check the website linked above for a list of participating restaurants and their specials.

Total Chaos: Live in Downtown LA
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 22
5 Star Bar, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/585136735011813/

Enjoy a FREE hardcore punk show in Downtown LA this Wednesday night. No one under 18 may enter.

Suicidal Tendencies: World Gone Mad Tour 2017
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 22, The Observatory, Santa Ana
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 23, The Observatory, North Park, San Diego
http://www.suicidaltendencies.eu/index.php/news/item/312-world-gone-mad-us-tour

Legendary hardcore punk band Suicidal Tendencies embarks on a tour this week, and that tour will start in Southern California. Tickets to these all-ages shows vary in price, so check with the venue for prices.

5th Annual LA Art Book Fair
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, February 23
1:00 pm – 7:00 pm, February 24
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, February 25
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, February 26
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles
http://laartbookfair.net/

An all-ages book fair comes to Downtown LA this weekend. Thursday night costs $10 to attend, and will have live entertainment as well as a book signing. Visitors may enter for free for the rest of the weekend.

San Diego Burger Week
February 24 – March 4
Participating locations, San Diego County
http://sdcitybeat.com/burgerweek

Enjoy select specialty burgers from participating locations all over San Diego County during this 10-day period for just $6 each!

San Luis Obispo Craft Beer Fest
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, February 24
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, February 25
Alex Madonna Expo Center, San Luis Obispo
http://www.slo-beer-fest.com/

Get sudsy in San Luis Obispo this weekend and enjoy dozens of beers from dozens of breweries. Admission costs $30 for Friday night or $50 for Saturday afternoon. All attendees receive a souvenir cup and unlimited food and beer samples while supplies last. Both days will contain the same things, but Friday costs less due to lower demand. No one under 21 may attend.

Flavors: Future of Food
7:00 pm – 9:30 pm, February 24
The Autry Museum, Griffith Park
http://theautry.org/events/special-events/flavors-future-food

Immerse yourself in the wonders of California’s “Farm To Table” culinary phenomenon this Friday night at The Autry Museum. Admission costs $50 and provides unlimited food samples while supplies last.

2nd Annual Skacademy Awards
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, February 24-25
Out Of The Park Pizza, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/734994536662975/

Southern Californian ska bands have banded together to throw an awards show dedicated to the booming SoCal ska scene. Free to attend for all ages, various awards will go out to select bands, and a handful of ska bands will perform a set as well on both nights.

CoffeeCon LA 2017
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, February 25-26
The Reef, South Central Los Angeles
http://www.coffee-con.com/

This weekend at CoffeeCon LA 2017, indulge in all things coffee, from the classic beverage to coffee candy to coffee desserts to coffee foods and more. General admission costs $15 per day or $20 for both days.

40th Annual Orange County Home & Garden Show
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, February 25
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 26
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa
http://www.thebesthomeshow.com/

This all-ages expo will showcase the latest in home improvement, remodeling, interior-design, decorating, landscaping, and more. Admission costs $6 for adults, while children 12 and under enter for free with a paid adult admission. Parking at the OC Fair costs $8 per vehicle.

Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up – Northridge Appearance
10:00 am – 8:00 pm, February 25
Northridge Mall Fashion Center, Northridge
http://hellokittycafe.us/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1636182560019894/

SoCal Hello Kitty fans will not want to miss this rare opportunity to experience the Hello Kitty Cafe. This weekend, visitors will enjoy macarons, minicakes, and other Hello Kitty treats not found anywhere else.

$3 Hakata Ramen Sale
10:00 am – 10:00 pm, February 25-26
Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata, Fountain Valley
http://www.shinsengumigroup.com/en/event/2017_fv_ramen_anniversary.php

In celebration of their 16th anniversary, Shin-Sen-Gumi in Fountain Valley will offer $3 bowls of their famous ramen this weekend. They will stop when they reach a thousand bowls served per day. Arrive early to score this deal!

Brouwerij West 1 Year Anniversary Funky Breakfunch
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, February 25
Brouwerij West, San Pedro
http://www.brouwerijwest.com/

One of the most anticipated breweries to set foot in Southern California has turned a year old, and they will celebrate their anniversary this weekend with beers for brunch. Admission costs $30 presale or $35 at the door, and includes a souvenir glass and ten 4oz beer pours. No one under 21 may attend.

Long Beach Mardi Gras
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, February 25
Shoreline Village, Long Beach
http://lbmardigras.com/

Shoreline Village plays host this Saturday to a myriad of music, art, activities, entertainment, dance, parades, and more. The actual parade starts at 3pm at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Completely free to attend for all ages, all guests can get involved with the festivities, from the dancing to the games and more. Dress up to get even more involved!

Lager Festival & Pig Roast
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, February 25
MacLeod Ale Brewing Co., Van Nuys
http://www.macleodale.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/176129456205411/

This Saturday, Van Nuys’ MacLeod Ale Brewing will have a bunch of lagers on tap, and they will roast some whole hogs throughout the day. Free to attend, guests will simply pay for food and drinks as they go.

1st Annual Lumpia Fest – San Diego
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, February 25
Mira Mesa Community Park, Mira Mesa, San Diego
http://www.lumpiafest.com/

An all-ages food festival for all things Lumpia comes to San Diego this Saturday afternoon. Admission costs $55 presale or $75 at the gate, and includes unlimited food samples while supplies last. Drinks come at a separate cost.

Kiltomania Scottish Beer Festival
2:00 pm – 12:00 am, February 25
Hamilton Family Brewery, Rancho Cucamonga
http://www.hamiltonfamilybrewery.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1183051035142905/

This Saturday, Rancho Cucamonga’s Hamilton Family Brewery will release two Scottish beers for you to try. In addition, they will have live bagpipers in the evening, mobile food vendors, games, and more. This event has no cover charge. They will have a special glass available for purchase, and all refills in that glass will receive a dollar off.

Tater Tots & Beer Festival
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, February 25
Balboa Park, San Diego
http://tatertotfestival.com/events/san-diego-ca/

Snack on tater tots and craft beers this Saturday in San Diego. General admission costs $40 while VIP admission costs $75 and provides access to a VIP area. All attendees receive unlimited food samples while supplies last, and a beer stamp card good for one beer from each participating brewery. No one under 21 may attend.

4th Annual Pub Crawl “The Twelve Pints of Christmas (in February)”
3:00 pm – 8:00 pm, February 25
Port Pavilion, Downtown San Diego
http://www.sdbeerfest.org/
http://www.facebook.com/events/144957152671133/

Join in on a pub crawl this Saturday evening in Downtown San Diego and explore five different locations while you get drunk with friends and/or complete strangers. All participants must pay for their own drinks.

2nd Annual San Pedro Craft Beer Festival
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, February 25
USS Iowa BattleShip, San Pedro
http://chugginbrews.com/

Sample local craft beers and check out a tourist attraction this Saturday afternoon in San Pedro. General admission costs $42, starts at 3pm, and includes unlimited beer while supplies last and access to the museum. VIP admission costs $65, starts at 2pm, and also includes a pretzel necklace, beer float, mimosa/sangria bar, and a souvenir glass. Parking costs $6 per vehicle. No one under 21 may attend.

Pasadena Comic Con & Toy Show
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 26
Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena
http://www.pasadenacomicandtoyshow.com/

Pasadena gets their own all-ages convention dedicated to comics and toys this Sunday. General admission costs $10 and starts at 10am, while early admission costs $15 and starts at 9am.

Hollywood Beer & Music Festival
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, February 26
Avalon Hollywood, Hollywood
http://www.hollywood-beerfestival.com/

Another corporate beer festival comes to Hollywood this Sunday afternoon. General admission costs $35 and starts at 2pm, while VIP admission costs $50 and starts at 1pm. No one under 21 may attend.

Not Another Ska Fest 4
5:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 26
Club Los Globos, Silverlake
http://www.clublosglobos.com/event/1429936-not-another-ska-fest-4-los-angeles/

An all-ages ska show takes place in Silverlake this Sunday night. Tickets to this show cost $6.

The Haute Dogs Bulldog Beauty Contest returned for its 13th annual iteration this past Sunday at Marine Stadium in Long Beach. Organized by Justin Rudd and operated by the Community Action Team, this beauty pageant for bulldogs celebrates the charm and cuteness of these precious pets. Completely free to attend, guests could see and play with over 500 bulldogs, some even from out of state. Pet owners wanting to enter their dog had to pay a one-time participation fee of $10, which allowed the pooches to enter any of over 20 categories of competitions. These competitions more resembled sweepstakes than anything, as the dogs did not have to do anything physically tough other than walk around the runway once. In addition to bulldogs, a few of the contests allowed other breeds to participate, such as pugs, chihuahuas, and pit bulls. Other generic categories included cutest, ugliest, senior dogs, best in show, mutts, small dogs, and large dogs. Albeit not everyone who brought their dog actually entered a contest, everybody surely enjoyed the company of the pups, especially kids, whom bulldogs love to play with. Any pet lover should have made an effort to attend this free gathering of pets.

Events like these help to remind us of the joys these wonderful animals bring to our lives. If you currently do not have a pet, considering adding one to your life. They make great companions, and do not cost as much as a child. Stay on the lookout for pet events in your area for opportunities to learn about pets, and possibly acquire one. Other notable events from this organizer include the Howl’oween Parade for all pets, and the Santa Paws operation, a charity event that occurs in December. Additionally, check out the So Cal Corgi Nation, an organization dedicated to corgis that routinely puts on events throughout the year.

The Golden Years Vintage Market took place in Downtown Santa Ana this past Saturday. Free to attend for all ages, this outdoor shopping experience on the 2nd Street Promenade featured over a dozen local vintage clothing and vinyl records vendors selling lots of local goods and gifts. Anyone would find something to suit them here, as the apparel ranged from contemporary adult clothing to children’s clothing as well. Though this resembles other similar outdoor market events that take place here, the Golden Years Vintage Market took up a smaller space, so could only accommodate just over a dozen vendors. Regardless, as a free event, this made for a nice visit in the middle of a not-so-busy weekend. Check out when future Golden Years Vintage Markets will take place by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

The 3rd Annual Los Angeles Cookie Con & Sweets Show returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend. As the name suggests, this all-ages event features all manners of sweets and desserts, but especially cookies and anything related to cookies. From traditional cookies to cookie sandwiches to cookie ice cream to cookie cups, if it has to do with cookies, attendees will find it here. The price of admission actually went down this year from last year’s $50 admission. However, they have introduced multiple levels of attendance, from as low as $20 up to $60. I do not understand why, as they sold out last year even with the $50 admission. Parking at the convention center costs $20 per vehicle.

As anyone can guess, this event draws massive attention from the local populace. As of the time of this post, Saturday has already completely sold out. For anyone planning to attend Saturday, expect wall-to-wall people with long lines at every booth. I highly suggest early arrival, as the line to get in to the building takes about half an hour to clear through, and then you have to face another line to enter the convention hall. Once inside the actual event, you will have to endure even more lines to get to the vendors. I hope you bring your patience this weekend, as well as comfortable shoes, and cash since you will have to pay for the food you consume here. By the way, very few of the vendors actually bring samples – the vendors need to make a profit, after all!

Do some research about the businesses that will attend Cookie Con. Local businesses such as Velvet Rope Bake Shop or Bad Pickle Tees often set up at other cheaper, less crowded events. The Cookie Con site (linked above) has a full list of all the vendors. By directly supporting the vendors, you omit the middleman, and you get to select what you want without the hassle of dealing with crowds of people and the dozens of strollers taking up space. Plenty of other dessert events will come up soon in the greater Los Angeles area, so check out my weekly events post every Monday to see how you can satisfy your sweet tooth.

The 2017 Long Beach Comic Expo returns to the Long Beach Convention Center this weekend, taking place over two days in all its glory. Returning to Hall C and the Pacific Promenade area, hundreds of local comic book writers and artists will travel here to exhibit their merchandise, art, books, toys, and more. Eager fans can gain access to the entire show floor for $30 per person for Saturday, $25 for Sunday, or $50 for both days, with children 10 and under entering free with a paid adult admission. In addition to the expo on the show floor, various workshops and seminars will occur in the surrounding meeting rooms for those who register ahead of time. Diehard fans will recognize the various celebrities sitting in for meet & greet and autograph sessions.

Some general tips to make your visit pleasant:

  • Peak time: 12pm-2pm on Saturday, as you will encounter the most amount of cosplayers at this time
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as you will walk a lot.
  • I advise staying for as long as possible to see more and interact with other attendees. Also have enough energy to last the entire time.
  • While mostly indoors, a lot of the cosplayers like to hang out outside for photo shoots. Regardless, it would behoove you to dress for chilly or possibly rainy weather.
  • Have extra cash available for food as well as merchandise if you think you will buy something inside the expo.
  • Get into character! Even if you cannot dress up, cosplayers love to act their part and interact with others.
  • Expect to take a lot of photos, so bring an extra camera or power bank for smartphones.
  • I know we normally tell our kids to not talk to strangers, but at this event, attendees encourage others to chat with the cosplayers, especially children.

Even to those not interested in comics, everyone should attend a comic expo/con just to see everyone dressing up in costume. At any expo involving comics, video games, anime, manga, and more, any attendee cannot avoid seeing another guest participating in the inevitable cosplay for the duration of the event. Cosplay has turned into a staple for any sort of expo in this industry, and the fans proudly don their best gear for this expo.