The 2016 Orange County Greek Festival returned this past weekend to St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Anaheim. At this all-ages fair, visitors found a multitude of Greek foods & desserts, wine, beer, ouzo, vendors, music, and more to keep everyone entertained throughout the weekend. Complete with merchandise, food, dessert, drinks, music, dance, rides, exhibits, and more, this annual fair brings a wealth of things for you, your friends, and your family to enjoy and make a lasting memory out of. While any visitor can participate in the dancing going on under the main tent, I opted to simply admire those who bravely stepped forth to display their Greek dancing abilities. For me, I chose to enjoy the eats of Greek culture with some Pastitsio, Dolmades, and Baklava. Support this local Greek Fair by following them on Facebook and liking them on Twitter. When the Greek have an occasion to celebrate, they will celebrate hard, as demonstrated whenever a Greek festival takes place.

When thinking about the originals of the South Bay beer scene, Smog City Brewing Company usually comes to mind. Having just celebrated their 3rd anniversary this past weekend, Smog City has a concrete plan about how to operate a brewery, and they do such a great job at it. People all over Southern California feel Smog City’s presence, from beer festivals to restaurants to bottle shops and more. Aptly named for their proximity to the Exxon Mobil Refinery, Smog City’s location essentially marks them as a hub for most of the South Bay breweries. Most people who conduct a South Bay brewery tour tend to start at Smog City as a result, not to mention the generous business hours of the tasting room. With a large portfolio of beers available at any given time, visitors to the tasting room will always find something new to try, and something new to take home.

New this year, Smog City has advanced over to the space adjacent to its left. This space not only holds over a hundred more visitors, but it houses dozens of barrels all quietly and slowly aging until ripeness. Smog City also had their private VIP tasting from 11am to 1pm where they sampled some of their rare exclusive brews. I could not attend that session, but I still got to try some of their other anniversary ales, and believe me, Smog City has still got it.

Smog City’s popularity precedes them, and their anniversary event proved just that. Wall to wall full of people, it appeared that this South Bay powerhouse could not contain every single visitor present. This bears no indication that they cannot handle a crowd – this measures just how significant a name they bear in the craft beer market. If you ever find yourself with free time on a weekend or just find yourself somewhere near the Torrance area, stop on by Smog City Brewing. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for updates from Smog City.

The annual US Sumo Open returned to CSULB’s Walter Pyramid for its 16th year running this past Saturday afternoon. This spectacle featured dozens of professional sumo wrestlers from around the world competing for the prized trophy and bragging rights. This tournament featured men’s and women’s lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight competitors, all of which contained wrestlers from multiple different countries. Across all the competitors, Mongolia and Russia appeared to have the most competitors. The day started with individual divisions, and the day ended with the Open Weight tournament, where all competitors of a gender competed. This meant that someone weighing 160 lbs may have ended up facing someone weighing over 500 lbs. Surprisingly for the women, the heavyweights could not outperform the lighter competitors – not surprising, as the women competitors appeared more brutal and vicious than the men. When the men competed, the heavyweights made it to the finals, as the spectators expected. Throughout the day between sets, attendees got treated to a musical performance featuring dance and drums. During an intermission, Japan’s heaviest man, whom the announcer nicknamed “Yama,” delighted the crowd with his girth and entertained the crowd by “wrestling” willing children. He basically teased the children for a bit before he allowed them to push him out of the ring.

The US Sumo Open makes for an interesting event to attend and bring friends & family to. Southern California does not get sumo wrestling events like this often, so when one does come around, many people flock to it. The US Sumo Open returns every year around this time, so bookmark your calendar for next year’s 17th Annual US Sumo Open. In the meantime, check out USA Sumo on Facebook for future updates and related events, such as the Sumo Sushi Show, which occurs next month among three consecutive Saturdays in Southern California.

Naja’s Place 8th Annual IPA Festival
2:00 pm – 12:00 am, May 18-25
Naja’s Place, Redondo Beach
http://www.najasplace.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/833351723463473/

For seven days straight, Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach will tap nothing but IPA’s from all over. Come get hopped up at Naja’s Place this week.

I Love Poke Festival
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, May 24
Bali Hai Restaurant, Point Loma, San Diego
http://onoyum.com/event/i-love-poke-sd-2016/

Sample the best in island cuisine at this tasting event in San Diego. Over 20 different chefs/restaurants will attend to serve food samples to attendees, while ten local chefs will compete in a poke competition, allowing attendees to sample their food too. Tickets to this all-ages tasting event cost $75, which includes unlimited food samples while supplies last. All attendees must take care of their own parking and transportation.

Angelic Upstarts: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 24, The Garage, Ventura
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 25, Soda Bar, Normal Heights, San Diego
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 26, Club Los Globos, Silverlake
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 27, The Observatory, Santa Ana
http://officialangelicupstarts.com/

Legendary punk band Angelic Upstarts currently tour through the nation, and that tour swings through Southern California this week. Ticket prices and age limits vary by show, so refer to the band’s website for show details.

2016 Lightning In A Bottle
May 25-30
San Antonio Recreation Area, Bradley
http://lightninginabottle.org/

If I could pick one word to describe Lightning In A Bottle, I would pick hippie. Lightning In A Bottle brings people together from all over the world to celebrate earth and life with music, art, dance, yoga, speakers, workshops, and more. Expect to encounter thousands of people with a hippie mindset, like Woodstock but more controlled. Ticket prices vary depending on the mode of attendance, and they offer a presale discount, so check the prices on their site, and if you like what you see, purchase a ticket online to save some green.

365 by Whole Foods Market – Opening Day
9:00 am – 2:00 pm, May 25
365 by Whole Foods Market, Silverlake
http://www.365bywfm.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1587622411548481/

A new grocery store opens in Silverlake this Wednesday morning, and the first 365 guests will receive mini-scones and vegan cookies, plus reusable shopping bags. The first 100 shoppers will receive gift cards in varying amounts, including one $365 gift card.

Scooper Bowl 2016 – Fundraiser
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, May 25
The Learning Centers At Fairplex, Pomona
http://www.tlcfairplex.org/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1199885140022271/

This fundraiser involves buying a bowl designed by an art student for $15, which will come with ice cream.

Mother Earth Brewing @ Far Bar
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 25
Far Bar, Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.farbarla.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1683971371868505/

Far Bar will receive a handful of brews from Mother Earth Brewing this Wednesday night. Stop on by and enjoy a cold one or two.

The English Dogs: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 25, The Complex, Glendale http://www.facebook.com/events/1553493521615672/
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 26, Alex’s Bar, Long Beach http://www.alexsbar.com/event/1118313-english-dogs-long-beach/
8:30 pm – 1:30 am, May 27, Soda Bar, Normal Heights, San Diego http://www.sodabarmusic.com/calendar.php?event_id=2881

Punk band The English Dogs currently tours across the nation, and that tour swings through Southern California this week. Ticket prices and age limits vary by show, so click on a show’s link for details.

D.O.A. – Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 25, Petie’s Place, Tarzana http://www.facebook.com/events/1707817879508070/
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 26, The Yost Theater, Santa Ana http://www.facebook.com/events/1104533162930651/
8:30 pm – 1:30 am, May 27, The Casbah, Middletown, San Diego http://www.casbahmusic.com/event/1156801-do-san-diego/
4:30 pm – 11:30 pm, May 28, Club Los Globos, Silverlake http://www.clublosglobos.com/event/1174565-united-punk-alliance-los-angeles/
http://www.suddendeath.com/

Legendary hardcore punk band D.O.A. currently tours across the nation, and that tours swings through Southern California this week. Ticket prices and age limits vary by show, so click on a show’s link for details.

Taste of Brea 2016
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, May 26
Downtown Brea
http://tasteofbrea.com/

This free and all-ages event will see over 30 restaurants from the area providing samples of their food to visitors. Visitors may freely walk into the event area for free, but must purchase a $25 wristband to redeem for food or drinks. In addition to all the food, visitors will find live music, a kids zone, arts & crafts, and more.

Mother Earth Brewing – Pint Nite
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 26
Meat Up BBQ, Placentia
http://www.meatupbbq.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1715262115378666/

Placentia’s Meat Up BBQ will receive a handful of brews from Mother Earth Brewing this Thursday night. Buy a pint, and keep the glass to take home.

Ska Brewing Tap Takeover
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 26
The Stache Bar, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/133188947093810/

Enjoy ska music and brews from Ska Brewing this Thursday night in Long Beach, free to attend.

The Buzzcocks: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 26, The Mayan, Downtown Los Angeles http://www.clubmayan.com/events_calendar/event/116
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 28, The Observatory, Santa Ana http://www.observatoryoc.com/event/buzzcocks
http://www.buzzcocks.com/

Legendary punk band The Buzzcocks currently tour across the nation, and that tour swings through Southern California this week. Ticket prices and age limits vary by show, so click on a show’s link for details.

Anti-Nowhere League: Live in Southern California
8:30 pm – 1:30 am, May 26, Soda Bar, Normal Heights, San Diego http://www.sodabarmusic.com/calendar.php?event_id=2784
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, May 27, Club Los Globos, Silverlake http://www.clublosglobos.com/event/1108505-united-punk-alliance-los-angeles/
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 29, The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana http://www.observatoryoc.com/event/antinowhereleague
http://www.antinowhereleague.com/

Punk band Anti-Nowhere League currently tours across the nation, and that tour swings through Southern California this week. Ticket prices and age limits vary by show, so click on a show’s link for details.

Gamex 2016
12:00 pm, May 27 – 6:00 pm, May 30
Hilton LAX, Los Angeles
http://www.strategicon.net/

This weekend-long expo will feature all sorts of board games, card games, miniatures, role-playing, collectibles, computer games and more. Registration varies, ranging from $5 all the way up to $500, so see the website for a breakdown of the prices to attend.

58th Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival
1:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 27
10:00 am – 10:00 pm, May 28-29
10:00 am – 9:00 pm, May 30
Village Green, Garden Grove
http://strawberryfestival.org/

This free annual all-ages city fair features rides, games, vendors, food, contests, live entertainment, a parade, and more. Despite its name, the festival does not liberally give out strawberries or sell it – it just uses strawberries as its theme. Guests may go on rides with all-day wristbands, which cost $30 each, or just $25 on Friday.

13th Annual Newport Beach Wine Festival
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 27
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, May 28
10:00 am – 2:00 pm, May 29
Balboa Bay Resort, Newport Beach
http://live-meritagecollectionevents.time.ly/event/13th-annual-newport-beach-wine-festival-memorial-day-weekend/

A handful of wine tasting events will take place in Newport Beach this weekend. Admission to these events range from $65 to $150.

Lower Class Brats: Live in Corona
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 27
Bar 1650, Corona
http://www.lcbarmy.com/

Punk band Lower Class Brats will perform live in Corona this Friday night. Tickets cost $10 presale or $15 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

Refused – Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 27, The Fonda Theatre, Hollywood http://www.fondatheatre.com/events/detail/306986
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 28, The Glass House, Pomona http://www.theglasshouse.us/event/1086697-refused-pomona/
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, May 30, Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach http://bellyup.com/refused
http://www.officialrefused.com/

One of the most influential bands in the history of punk rock embarks on a cross-country tour starting this week in Southern California. Tickets to these shows may have sold out, but you may still find them on after-market sites.

Muscle Beach Memorial Day Weekend Spectacular
May 28-30
Muscle Beach, Venice Beach
http://www.musclebeachvenice.com/

Various strength and strongman events will take place in Venice Beach this weekend. Visitors of all ages may spectate the events for free.

84th Annual Scottish Fest USA
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, May 28-29
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa
http://www.scottishfest.com/

This annual all-ages Scottish festival features hundreds of bagpipers & drummers, Scottish & Irish food & vendors, Scottish clans, Highland dancing, Scottish athletes, and more. Admission costs $18 with discounts available for military, seniors, and children. Parking costs $8 per vehicle.

The Inspired Market – Yorba Linda
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, May 28
RM Nixon Park, Yorba Linda
http://theinspiredmarket.com/

This free and all-ages arts & crafts fair takes place on the last Saturdays of each month in Yorba Linda. Swing on by and check out the various vendors here selling accessories, apparel, and more.

8th Annual Santee Street Fair & Craft Beer Festival
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, May 28
Riverview Pkwy & Town Center Pkwy, Santee
http://santeestreetfair.com/

Thousands of visitors will roam the streets of Santee this weekend during their annual street fair, now combined with a craft beer garden. Free for all-ages to attend, the fair will contain live music, entertainment, food, drinks, games, arts & crafts, rides, vendors, and so much more. Pricing for the beer festival varies depending on how many tasters a person wants, ranging from $10 to $30.

Classic Not Plastic 2016
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, May 28-29
Various locations, Long Beach
http://www.classicnotplastic.net/

A scooter/moped rally will take place in Long Beach this weekend. Consult with the website for the full schedule of events and rides.

Fiesta Hermosa
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, May 28-30
Downtown Hermosa Beach
http://fiestahermosa.net/

Fiesta Hermosa returns to the streets of Downtown Hermosa Beach this weekend. Free to park and attend, this street fair will have food, drinks, music, arts & crafts, games, rides, vendors, and more. You cannot park AT the event – for those driving, you must park at the Northrop Grumman Building at Marine & Aviation in Redondo Beach, and a free shuttle will carry you to and from the fest and parking lot.

Geeky Craft Faire
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, May 28-30
Whimsic Alley, Burbank
http://www.whimsicalley.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1564479810518077/

Check out this free and all-ages arts & crafts fair this weekend in Burbank featuring geek culture.

System Of A Stout – Bottle Release
11:30 am – 10:00 pm, May 28
Beachwood BBQ, Seal Beach & Long Beach
http://beachwoodbbq.com/events.html

Beachwood BBQ will have their annual release of this stout this Saturday at both of their locations. Stop on by to get a bottle or two for yourself before they appear in other retail shops.

Santa Anita Carnival
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, May 28-30
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia
http://www.santaanita.com/events/santa-anita-carnival/

Santa Anita Park opens their gates to the public for this FREE weekend-long festival for people of all ages. Visitors will find food, drinks, treats, rides, games, and more.

Deschutes Brewery Tap Takeover
12:00 pm – 12:00 am, May 28
The Bottle Room, Whittier
http://thebottleroombar.com/events/

Whittier’s The Bottle Room will receive a handful of Deschutes beers this Saturday. Stop on by and enjoy a cold one or two.

5000 Pies Celebrates 5000th Pie
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, May 28
5000 Pies, West Long Beach
http://www.5000pies.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/278830395787626/

West Long Beach’s 5000 Pies will offer free pizza slices this Saturday afternoon while supplies last. They will also hold a pie-eating contest at 2:30pm.

California Gold Rush Beer Festival
1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, May 28
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia
http://www.santaanita.com/events/california-gold-rush/

Beer and horse-racing mix up at the Santa Anita Park this Saturday afternoon. For $35 admission, you get ten 3oz beer tasters, one 12oz beer pour, and the souvenir cup to take home. No one under 21 may enter this event.

Hollywood Beer Festival
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm, May 28
Avalon Hollywood, Hollywood
http://www.hollywood-beerfestival.com/

Another corporate beer festival comes to Hollywood this Saturday afternoon. General admission costs $35 and starts at 4pm, while VIP admission costs $50 and starts at 3pm. No one under 21 may attend.

Anaheim Brewery’s Founder’s Day & 5th Anniversary
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 28
Anaheim Brewery, Anaheim
http://www.anaheimbrew.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/947946561993079/

Enjoy specials beers, guests food vendors, and live music this Saturday at Anaheim Brewery.

Plethora of Piñatas Festival
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, May 28
Border X Brewing, Barrio Logan, Downtown San Diego
http://borderxbrewing.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/182995588752153/

Piñatas and beer collide at this free event taking place in Downtown San Diego this Saturday night.

2016 Vista Village Strawberry Festival
7:00 am – 7:00 pm, May 29
Historic Downtown Vista
http://vistastrawberryfest.com/

At this free festival, guests of all-ages can experience a plethora of activities all day in Vista, formerly the Strawberry Capital of the World. The day starts with a 5K run, and when the run ends, the main festival begins. The multitude of activities include a beer garden, pie-eating contests, cooking contest, golf/putting contest, homebrew contest, video contest, strawberry costume contest, demos, live entertainment, car show, rides, games, food, and so much more. Visit the website for a full schedule and list of activities, plus directions on where to park.

20th Annual Redlands Firefighters Car Show
8:00 am – 6:00 pm, May 29
State Street, Downtown Redlands
http://www.redlandsfirefighterscarshow.com/

Check out a free and all-ages car show on the streets of Downtown Redlands this Sunday.

Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, May 29
2nd & Sycamore, Santa Ana
http://dearhandmadelife.com/patchwork-show/upcoming-shows/

This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fests at different locations. As with any typical arts & crafts fair, Patchwork will feature many traditional forms of art and merchandise, but also mixes in alternative art – thinking outside the box, or Rebel Art. Those who have attended Renegade Craft Fair will view Patchwork as a hybrid of that and a traditional art fair. Featuring clothing, accessories, home goods, jewelry, pet items, and more, this FREE fest caters to a wide & diverse crowd. Food trucks will serve guests during the fest. Always remember to carry cash, since most vendors only accept cash. Guests should park in the neighborhood south of the festival.

3rd Annual MAINopoly: Taste of Main Street
3:00 pm – 8:00 pm, May 29
Main Street & Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica
http://mainopolysm.com/

Sample the flavors of Santa Monica’s Main Street during this Monopoly-themed tasting event this Sunday afternoon. Admission varies in price depending on how much you plan to consume, starting at $25.

The Last Generic Ska Show @ House of Blues Anaheim
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, May 29
House of Blues, Anaheim
http://www.houseofblues.com/anaheim/events/eventdetail/?viewNav=/event-detail&eventId=0900509C9E9D2AC4
http://www.facebook.com/events/120462555025700/

An all-ages ska show will take place at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney this Sunday night. Tickets to this show cost $10.

18th Annual City of Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and Kids Run
5:30 am – 11:30 am, May 30
Laguna Hills Mall, Laguna Hills
http://www.lagunahillshalfmarathon.com/

Celebrate this Memorial Day with a run down in sunny Orange County. Register for any of various distances, and head to the starting line by 7am for the race start. Registration fees vary based on the distance, with the half marathon costing $75.

The popular Orange County Night Market returned this past weekend at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa to kick off its third year here. This weekend-long all-ages festival brought the nightlife of the east to the west, and showed the locals what goes on at night in populated Asian cities. Taking place in the northwestern section of the fairgrounds, this event dedicated a huge chunk of the space to the various food, drinks, and desserts that everyone could explore and taste, while leaving a smaller space for all other vendors. At the far back of the event, visitors could find a live stage with entertainment taking place all weekend. Admission only cost $5 per person, while guests had to pay for everything else once inside.

Upon entering the event area, visitors would find various merchandise vendors aligned in the center, while they would find all food and drinks on the sides. Some of the merchandise remained near the entrance, so visitors did not spend as much time in this front section as they did the open area with all the food. Regardless, visitors could find some neat items while they browsed around.

Visitors discovered the main attraction of the OC Night Market in the food. Visitors could find cuisine from multiple different regions of Asia, from Chinese to Thai to Vietnamese to Japanese to Korean and more. The huge front section housed all of the booths of vendors mostly hailing from all over Southern California, with a few from out of town. The longest lines occurred at booths with the demanded items, such as vendors with Takoyaki, spiral potato on a stick, and squid roe.

Since the 626 Night Market team puts this event on, those who attended those events up in Arcadia would feel right at home at this event. Expect more OC Night Markets to come around in the next two months, and check them out on Facebook and Twitter for future updates and news. Also catch the 626 Night Market going on every month at the Santa Anita Park all summer long.

Coincidentally landing at the end of American Craft Beer Week, Hangar 24 Brewery celebrated their 8th anniversary with their inaugural AirFest and beer festival at Redlands Municipal Airport this past weekend. This anniversary celebration took place just across the street from the Hangar 24 tasting room, allowing guests to roam much of the airport grounds to view all the airplanes on exhibit, and check out all the food and beer available. All around the festival area, all of the attractions evenly spread out, from the food vendors to the beer tents to the airplanes on display and more. Throughout the day, live music would occur on the main stage, and various aerial acrobatics would occur overhead, demonstrating cool stunts performed in airplanes.

Although physically organized similarly to previous years, a clear separation of two halves of the airport existed. Guests entered on the eastern side, which basically represented the “all-ages” side what with the kids’ zone, activities, entertainment, and aviation exhibits. Upon moving over to the western side, we start to see a clear depiction of a typical crowded beer festival what with the crowds and the empty beer cups littered across the ground. With thousands of people gathered mostly to this western side, I could barely manage enough time to get one beer from the limited release booth, which had already run out of most of their beers.

After dredging through the waves of people on the beer side, I return back to the east side to enjoy some aerial acrobatics.

At around 5:30pm, we got treated to a special performance by the Just In Time Skydivers.

Following the skydiving spectacle, we got to see some more aerial acrobatics.

As a special treat, we got to see a muscle bi-plane race against a jet car. As Mythbusters once proved, the plane wins because the car has to face friction, which slows it down tremendously. No surprise here: the plane won the race.

Lastly, the Patriots Jet Team treated everyone to a magnificent air show complete with dazzling red, white, and blue trails.

The City of Irvine hosted their inaugural Korean Cultural Festival for its seventh year running this past Saturday. Taking place at the Irvine Civic Center, this free and all-ages event showcased Korean culture with food, drinks, music, live entertainment, arts & crafts, and more. The organizers made good use of the full civic center campus, from the parking lot to the courtyard to the interior of the building and the huge grass field in front of the civic center. The parking lot held the food vendors and the stage for music and entertainment. The courtyard held more vendors and other demos. The building held the arts & crafts demos and the theater room for contemporary music. The grass field held the outdoor games and martial arts demos. With so much to do, visitors had lots of chances to see every corner of this event, and spend quite a bit of time here. For an event that caters well to children, visitors of all ages and backgrounds would surely enjoy this event when it returns annually in May.