Archive for May, 2013

The Tustin Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off returns for its 29th annual installment this Sunday afternoon. This FREE & all-ages street fair completely takes over Old Town Tustin, blocking off a sizable area between 1st and 6th Streets. The streets will fill up with many booths containing arts & crafts, merchandise, entertainment, kids’ activities, music, chili teams, and more. Spread throughout the festival area, guests will find multiple entertainment stages, with acts such as live music, dancing, and various contests. The streets do not follow categorical zoning – instead of all booths of one type in one area, guests will find all sorts of booths all over, though some vendors will concentrate more towards the south and north ends. The kids’ area lies to the northwest end of the festival area.

First-time visitors to this event should make adequate preparations to ensure a smooth experience. The street fair takes place entirely outdoors, so wear comfortable clothes to move in, and apply sunscreen all over. Bring cash, as most of the vendors do not accept cards, including chili ticket booths. Chili tastings cost $1 per ticket, which guests may redeem for a taster at any chili team. Guests 21 and over may purchase alcoholic drinks after purchasing a wristband for $2 following an ID check. Non-chili food vendors will also sell food too, but when you attend a chili cookoff, why eat anything else?

Parking gets extremely tough during this time, but I have typically found better luck with street parking north of 1st Street. Check the neighborhoods off of Prospect Avenue, as the neighborhood has no parking restrictions on Sundays. Understand that Old Town Tustin will completely close off to traffic starting in the morning, so normal routes to arrive there may not exist that day, so plan alternate routes on arriving at the location timely.

Everyone has seen art with normal lighting, but have you ever seen art in negative light? Treat your visual senses to Lumière Noir: A Higher Frequency, a free art show where guests will gaze upon art and photography based on black light. Using a special blend of paints mixed by hand, the artists create lush, vivid body art using costumes and the models’ bodies as the canvas. This special paint blend appears as normal paint in regular light, but under black light, the paint on the models illuminate to highlight the costumes and the natural beauty & shape of the models’ bodies. Once photographed, the photo goes onto a special brushed aluminum sheet that boldly highlights the colors of the art.

A preview night of Lumière Noir took place last week on Wednesday night at Proof Bar in Downtown Santa Ana. At the preview, guests could view a handful of art work all around the bar, while gazing at the live body painting occurring at the back of the room. As the body painting occurred, guests could approach and take pictures as the model posed while getting painted on. At the end, all guests could take pictures of this living ultraviolet art.

The main event will occur in the downstairs area of Proof Bar this Saturday night, as part of the monthly First Saturday Art Walk. This main event will feature much more art work hung on the walls around the room, live video of the body painting, recorded video from previous shows, and more almost-nude models getting painted on, culminating in a spectacular show of mobile, sentient ultraviolet art at the end of the night. For a free event, what have you got to lose? Keep in mind that no one under 21 may enter.

When a person or group of people go into business, their first objective in mind consists of raking in lots of profit. Depending on the industry entered, the entrepreneurs can utilize any of various methods to reach the point of making profit. Once that point occurs, the path of owning a business splits off into different routes. Where do the entrepreneurs go now that they have an avenue of revenue? Do they stay with one business and improve its quality? Do they sell the business off? Do they franchise the business? Do they grow and expand? Each path represents different levels of profit, and each comes with its respective costs and outcomes. In today’s society, reputation holds more value than monetary worth because the public can easily see the perceived reputation, not how much money the business holds. Generate a great product and/or service, and the people will talk. When people talk, more people hear about the business, leading to profit the humane way. However, disregarding quality in exchange for efforts to expand can lead to dissatisfactory customers despite the profit. Can a business owner truly afford to pour out something bad just to see more dollar signs? If you can afford the marketing, any business can sell a bad product – look at many commercials nowadays that sell products generally bad for you. In the virtual world, look at how much Taste of Brews marketed their event, then look deeper at how much money they aim to extract out of citizens that drink the Kool Aid.

The Taste of Brews beer festival returned to White Park in Riverside for the second year at this location. Attendees to this beer fest paid a flat fee to enter and consume all the beer they can drink. Whereas some beer fests limit the beers that the attendees may consume, this one allowed unlimited pours until the attending breweries ran out of beer or the event ended at 4pm. During the festival, some local tribute bands played on the small stage in the center of the park. Some of the vendor booths contained restaurants or caterers sampling food, but these lines stretched out far, and the vendors swiftly ran out of food each time they attempted to restock. In fact, the Bacon Mania truck ran out of bacon by 2:30. Other food trucks present did not run out of food, but had a persistent line the entire time. Despite the staff not allowing pets or anyone under 21 into the venue, someone brought dogs. At first this all seems fine, but what did the above photo indicate to you? I snapped that photo at 12pm, when the gates should have already opened. What does this mean to you? Glance at some of my photos, then read below to find out.

Despite what appears as a typical beer fest, the organizers clearly sought to maximize their money gain from this event. For a group that has thrown beer fests in the past, how did they end up with a line longer than the perimeter of the park when all attendees in that line should already have gone inside? The early bird entry should require a limit, as this gives privileges to anyone who purchased a ticket to this event way in advanced, like how I purchased a ticket to this event back in February. Seeing more people enter at 12pm than the general admission time at 1pm makes all early bird ticket purchasers not feel special enough to merit entering sooner. With this many people already inside the fest so early, all lines to receive beer filled up immensely fast. The number of attendees vastly outnumbered the capacity that all the vendors can serve in a timely manner. Also consider that security promptly started kicking people out right at 4pm, not even giving attendees a chance to stick around and wait off the alcohol in their bodies.

Event organizers need to understand the perfect ratio of people to vendors when setting limits to events. For example, a food truck fest operates best with 200 people per food truck, as this satisfies both sides. A higher ratio will irritate the people, while a lower ratio will irritate the vendors. At a beer fest, organizers need to discover the ratio of people to breweries in attendance to please both sides. Generally, a lower ratio allows for a smaller, more intimate event, where attendees can socialize with the vendors easier than at a large event. A beer fest can manage with a smaller ratio since attendees do not pay for the beers anyways. For example, an upcoming beer fest has a limit of 300 tickets, while boasting an already impressive roster of 12 breweries (as of yesterday) and growing. This eliminates the crowding while allowing guests to roam freely around and actually chat with the vendors while learning about the brewery/company. Taste of Brews does not recognize this, and continually sells tickets with no regard to any limit. Any beer fest that dares invite Anheuser Busch to pour Shock Top does not deserve to call themselves a beer fest. As this took place in Riverside, Taste of Brews should change their name to Taste of Bros – the Bro Fest. After all, the Nine Bro Nine had to get that name from somewhere, right?

Get Porked
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 29
Beachwood Brewing, Long Beach
http://getporked.eventbrite.com/

Love BBQ and/or pork? Then you cannot miss this one-time dinner event! LA Foodie will record a live podcast during dinner speaking about styles of BBQ and the beers that pair with them. Dinner starts promptly at 8pm, which consists of four carefully crafted pork courses, four 5oz beer pairings, and four dessert pairings. Attendees also receive lots of other goodies to take home. Guests may park in the parking structure behind Beachwood Brewing for up to three hours with validation from the restaurant. No one under 21 may attend. Tickets normally cost $40, but use the promo code newsletter to save $10!

The Business @ The Observatory
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 30
The Observatory, Santa Ana
http://www.observatoryoc.com/events/the-business

Catch a punk rock show headlined by UK punk band The Business this Thursday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $13.

Slam Dance Fest
5:00 pm – 2:00 am, May 31
The Airliner, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/149389055233857/

Kick May in the nads with this end-of-the-month punk rock fest in Los Angeles. With over 15 bands playing across two stages plus live DJ’s, expect one rowdy and unforgettable time. Tickets only cost $6 presale and $8 at the door! The venue will contain a food vendor, a cash bar, and other merchandise vendors. No one under 18 may enter.

Brea SummerFest 2013
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, May 31
12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, June 1
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 2
St. Angela Merici School, Brea
http://www.summerfestbrea.org/

Brea brings all of the elements of a state fair into one weekend with their annual SummerFest. Find food, rides, live entertainment, games, vendors, and more at this weekend-long fair for the entire family. Guests may enter and park for free – please adhere all signs for parking and entering the fest.

Pacific Islander Festival
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, June 1-2
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach
http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/pacific_islander_festival/

Explore the cultures of the Pacific Islands all weekend at the Aquarium of the Pacific. For just the price of the aquarium’s general admission, guests of all ages will experience music, dancing, arts & crafts, ethnic cuisines, educational programming, storytelling, artisans, and more. Parking at the adjacent parking structure ranges from $5 to $10. The local Passport bus operates for free, so guests may ride public transportation to save money.

5th Annual Downtown Pomona Community Car & Bike Show
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 1
Thomas Plaza, Downtown Pomona
http://www.facebook.com/events/534341013294646/

Check out custom & vintage cars & motorcycles at this community auto show in Downtown Pomona this Saturday afternoon. Free to attend for all ages, any profit or money made from this event via participants and vendors go towards local charities benefiting underprivileged children. Some of the nearby streets provide free parking, while parking lots west of Main St cost nothing to park in.

The Ultimate Radio Control Expo
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, June 1
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 2
Long Beach Convention Center, Downtown Long Beach
http://www.rcx.com/

Check out this expo for remote control toys and gadgets as you relive your adolescent life playing with portable mobile vehicles. With plenty of remote control cars, boats, planes, helicopters, and more, guests of all ages will find many attractions to check out. Admission costs $10 presale and $15 at the door, while children get in free with paid adult admission. Parking at the convention center ranges from $5 to $10, or you may park on the street in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Avenue.

22nd Annual Santa Monica Festival
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, June 1
Clover Park, Santa Monica
http://www.smgov.net/Portals/Culture/content.aspx?id=15035

Free and open to all ages, this festival in Santa Monica celebrates the local community with family activities, live music, dancing, arts & crafts, vendors, food trucks, cooking demos, and more. Guests can park for free at the location.

Make Music Pasadena
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, June 1
Old Town Pasadena, Downtown Pasadena
http://www.makemusicpasadena.org/

This FREE and all-ages music festival completely covers the streets of Downtown Pasadena. All day long, guests can catch over 150 free concerts from dozens of local bands, including Youngblood Hawke, and other bands that have traveled from afar to play here. Local long-term parking may cost quite a bit, so opt to park further and take public transportation to cut down on costs.

Balls For Balls 2013
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, June 1
The Mezz Bar, Alexandria Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.ballsforballs.philanthroproductions.org/

In a nutshell, gather a team to competitively eat meatballs for charity. The winning team does take a cash prize home. A team of four enters for $60, while individuals enter for $20 and get placed in a random team as a filler. Spectators may enter and watch for free.

1st Annual Long Beach Sea Festival Kickoff Extravaganza
1:00 pm – 7:00 pm, June 1
Marina Green Park, Long Beach
http://www.lbseafest.com/index.php/events/kickoff-extravaganza/event/2

This FREE event kicks off the summer series of festivals, as it previews all upcoming festivals that make up the season-long Sea Festival. Guests of all ages will find food trucks, live music, arts & crafts, jumpers, and more. After sunset, bring out the beach chairs and blankets for a free viewing of Finding Nemo on the beach.

AutoCon Los Angeles
1:00 pm – 7:00 pm, June 1
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia
http://www.autoconevents.com/autocon-los-angeles-2013/

See hundreds of classic, custom, and exotic cars this Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. Guests will also find beautiful models, food trucks, and plenty of automotive vendors to spend money on. General admission costs $12, while expedited admission costs $17. Children enter free with a paid adult admission. Please bring cash for parking at the venue. The event takes place outdoors, so dress accordingly for the hot weather, and apply sunscreen.

Lumière Noir: A Higher Frequency
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, June 1
Proof Bar, Santa Ana
http://noirart.org/lumiere-noir/

This collaborative art project involves various models to create living art in ultraviolet light, or blacklight. Free to attend, attendees will see art, photography, videos, live nude body-painting, and more. As this takes place at a bar, attendees may purchase drinks at their leisure, but no one under 21 may enter.

FotoSensori – ​A Multi-Dimensional Photography Group Show & Fundraiser
6:30 pm – 12:00 am, June 1
Monk Space, Los Angeles
http://www.fotosensori.com/

This atypical art & photography show showcases more than just art – it utilizes all five of the human senses to experience and absorb the art. Over ten photographers will collaborate to present this diverse exhibit to all attendees. Throughout the night, local bands and DJ’s will fill the air with feet-moving beats, while attendees may purchase dumplings or vegan cupcakes to munch on. Attendees can find plenty of free street parking in the nearby neighborhoods. Although the organizers have not enforced an entry fee, they suggest a $15 donation at the door.

16th Annual SoRo Community Festival
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 2
Robertson & Cattaraugus, Los Angeles
http://www.soronc.org/events/sorofest2013

This FREE and all-ages street fair takes place in West LA between Culver City and Beverly Hills. Attendees will find live music, a kids’ zone including rock-climbing, arts & crafts, food trucks, and more. Guests can park for free in the neighborhoods surrounding the fest.

Spring 2013 Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival – Long Beach
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, June 2
Marine Stadium, Long Beach
http://patchworkshow.com/craft-fair-locations/long-beach-events/

This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fests at multiple 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. 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. The surrounding neighborhoods contain plenty of free street parking.

29th Annual Tustin Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off
11:00 am – 5:30 pm, June 2
Old Town Tustin
http://www.tustinchilicookoff.com/

Once again taking over the streets of Old Town Tustin, this FREE street fair contains lots of activities to keep the entire family busy and full the entire day. Attendees will find arts & crafts, live entertainment, merchandise vendors, kids’ area, the multitude of chili teams, and much more. This event gets highly crowded each year, and w3hile it requires no admission to enter, guests will end up parking on city streets a few blocks away. To sample chili, guests must purchase tickets for $2 each, and redeem these tickets at the chili teams for samples.

8th Annual Lummis Day Festival
10:30 am – 7:00 pm, June 2
Heritage Square Museum, Northeast Los Angeles
http://www.lummisday.org/

Catch music, dance, poetry, art, and more at this free multicultural festival this Sunday afternoon in Northeast LA. Guests may park for free at the venue.

Chicks That Rock
2:00 pm – 7:00 pm, June 2
Billy O’s, Ventura
http://www.facebook.com/events/132875120235497/

Five female-fronted bands will play at this show in Ventura this Sunday afternoon. Tickets to this show cost $7. No one under 21 may attend.

11th Annual Taste of Alhambra
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, June 2
2nd & Main, Downtown Alhambra
http://www.downtownalhambra.com/component/option,com_eventlist/Itemid,49/func,details/did,37/

Savor the local flavor of Alhambra at this annual all-you-can-eat food fest on the streets of Downtown Alhambra this Sunday evening. For $50 presale and $60 at the gate, guests 21 and over will receive unlimited food samples from various Alhambra restaurants and unlimited drinks from local establishments. Guests may park for free in nearby parking structures.

Less Than Jake performing All My Best Friends Are Metalheads at House of Blues at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, CA. Filmed on October 9, 2012.

Coincidentally coinciding with the end of American Craft Beer Week this past Saturday, Hangar 24 Brewery celebrated their 5th anniversary with an all-day AirFest taking place at Redlands Airport. Hangar 24 fans could enter for $5 if purchased online, or $8 at the gate. Located just across the street from the tasting room, this all-ages gathering covered almost the entire airport area, sans the runway, with tents and trucks pouring beers. Strewn throughout the area, in addition to the various tents and trucks pouring beer, the airport crew set out vintage planes that guests could inspect and gaze at, and opened some of the hangars so guests could tour the airport. Guests could climb into some of the planes for photo opportunities as well. All day long, taps poured beers, food trucks sold their food, local bands played live music, and pilots put on aerial acrobatics shows, providing more than enough entertainment for the crowd. A kids’ play zone kept the little ones busy while the adults could go and drink elsewhere. Free parking meant that guests could leave and return at their leisure, provided that they leave their wristbands on. With so much ground to cover, so much beer to drink, and so much else going on, no guest should have ever felt bored the entire day.

Various music acts performed throughout the day on the single center stage, eventually headlined at night by a Journey tribute band. At noon, the stage played host to a local comedian as well.

Albeit barely visible in the following photo, stunt pilots performed aerial acrobatics throughout the day, maneuvering planes in dangerous ways that impressed all onlookers. At one point, one of the pilots performed the Pugachev’s Cobra, a maneuver which Hangar 24 named one of their beers after.

Down at the west end, guests would find all of the vendors selling food and merchandise, plus the food trucks: Bacon Mania and Garlic Scape.

As this fest took place at an airport, guests could find airplanes all throughout the venue area. For some of the older planes, guests could only look at them and take pictures with them. For newer or larger aircraft, guests could actually enter them.

If you have ever attended the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, you will surely remember the beautiful sunset over the mountains and palm trees. While this airport had no palm trees, its location by the mountains yielded a spectacular sight as night fell and the sun produced an entrancing glow over the horizon. This almost makes you want to go to Hangar 24 one day in the evening just to witness the sunset from the tasting room.

With the airport closing prior to sunset, the nighttime activities started to set up for the final curtain call of the night. A Journey tribute band took to the stage for the stage’s final performance of the day. Once the band had finished their set, Hangar 24 treated all present guests to a wonderful nighttime fireworks show courtesy of pilot Bob Carlton.

As a friendly note to all other beer fest organizers, you have met your match. All things considered, Hangar 24’s AirFest could easily win the title of the best beer fest on the west coast. A combination of all small details contributed to the greater success of this event. First off, guests could park for free, and could reenter the venue. This alone can sway hesitant minds towards purchasing a ticket to attend. With such a large area to cover, guests did not have to wait in long lines to receive beer tickets or beer pours. As I entered the fest, the immediate ticket booth had a long line, but as I explored further into the area, I discovered more ticket booths with no line at all. Unlike the standard beer fest with tribute bands as the only form of entertainment, AirFest brought varied forms of entertainment, especially with the air shows and local bands playing their own original music. Most importantly of all, the people made this fest a grand event. From the amicable attendees to the sociable staff, the general aura of goodwill in the air placed everyone in a good mood that bounced from person to person.

Cheers to Hangar 24 – you have exhibited accomplishments, bountifulness, craftsmanship, dominance, and expertise in the craft beer industry with just one event. May your company live long, and may your brews satisfy many souls.

The 17th Annual North Park Festival of the Arts took place in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego this past Saturday afternoon. Completely occupying the closed street section of University Avenue from 30th St to 32nd St, this free and all-ages street fair pooled together a diverse range of businesses and visitors to an all-day party in San Diego. With such a wide space to cover, visitors could find plenty of merchandise, apparel, accessories, and more while absorbing the live entertainment in the form of live music and dancing. The festival featured a total of six stages, all complete with various music and dance acts. Throughout the area, booths along the center of the street featured almost anything a street fair could carry, such as clothing, accessories, art, tools, stationery, ingredients, food, drinks, and more.

As a festival of the arts, not only could visitors view and purchase art, but visitors could also create their own art. Anyone could create chalk art on the street or sidewalk, while a Kids Art Block on the east end allowed children to get creative and messy.

In the middle of the area, I spotted the poster used to advertise the festival, along with other art work created by the same artist.

All six of the stages featured a wide diversity of acts, though most acts depended on the location of the stage. Acts included adult dance, children dance, classic rock music, DJ’s, rappers, and alternative rock, the latter of which occurred in a 21 & up only zone.

Down on one end of the festival, a small beer garden allowed any guest 21 and over to enter. This basic beer garden cost nothing to enter, and guests pay for each drink. However, this beer garden only meatured standard macro brews, as shown below.

Real craft beer enthusiasts sought out the Craft Beer Block. This fenced-off area cost $25 online or $30 at the door to enter, giving guests 12 tickets good for a 4oz pour each. The entry fee essentially paid for three pints, a bit pricey for craft beer, even after tax and tip. This small area carried a good amount of local breweries, but the small space could not hold all of the oversold tickets to this area. A line formed outside waiting to get in, and many of the bystanders in line had prepurchased their ticket, indicating that many of the guests inside had purchased their ticket at the gate. Sure enough, after snooping around a bit, the majority of guests already inside bought their entry that day, and many of them did not seem to appreciate craft beer as much as those who prepurchased their tickets and waited in that everlasting line outside the gate to get in. Entertainment came in the form of someone hosting a karaoke stand, but that caused more audible damage than any good.

Surprisingly, a flash mob broke out right next to me completely out of the blue. No pun intended.

For a weekend with so much already going on, North Park managed to attract thousands of guests throughout the day. This annual staple brings together people from all walks of life to gather and have a good time. Does this event attract too many people though? As I arrived around 2pm, I struggled to locate nearby parking, and ended up parking beyond El Cajon Blvd. This free event also allowed some shady individuals to enter, partially pestering some of the visitors. Once you get past all the bad occurrences, you have an event that will not disappear any time soon. Until the North Park Festival of the Arts returns next year, check out North Park for all their great restaurants and bars, or come back on the 30th of any month for their monthly day of specials.