Posts Tagged ‘All Ages’

Long Beach’s Green Prize Festival returned for its fourth year running this past Saturday afternoon. Taking place at its new location of Houghton Park in North Long Beach, this free and all-ages event takes place on Earth Day annually and celebrates all things Earth Day and natural. Visitors to the Green Prize Festival would find demos by local farms & chefs, live entertainment, local artists, green & eco-friendly services, speakers, arts & crafts, food from local restaurants, delis, food trucks, and more. This event primarily provides a method for local businesses to come out and exhibit their goods & services so that both locals and travelers can better get to know Long Beach and what makes up this city. Support the local community by giving the Green Prize Festival a like on Facebook.

The Orange County Fair & Event Center’s Imaginology event returned for its 38th year running this past weekend in Costa Mesa. This free and all-ages event covered all things S.T.E.A.M. related – science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. If it had anything to do with creativity, one would surely find it at Imaginology. Due to the nature of this event, its target audience primarily revolved around children from elementary school through high school. Suffice to say, anyone of any age would still surely appreciate all the gadgets, exhibits, demos, gizmos, toys, and whatnot available to interact with here.

As an event with lots of variety in the description, the plethora of available things to do would keep anyone occupied for hours. The center area in front of the hangar included a music stage, food vendors, and a handful of additional demo booths for visitors to check out. Around here, all the buildings contained something different. One building contained a good mixture of tables to interact with that included math, smartphones, costume design, traditional canvas art, 3D printing, automotive exhibits, fashion, medical devices, and more. Another building contained nature and biology exhibits, with the back exit door leading to outdoor nature exhibits. Between these two buildings, visitors would find the robotics hall, complete with teams and robotics competitions. Across the way, these buildings contained literature, photography, model kits, and traditional arts & crafts. The hall in between marked the main entrance to Imaginology – I had entered through the back, so I experienced this event in an odd order. In the entrance hallway, visitors got a glimpse at what they would encounter in the rest of the event, such as aerial arts, model trains, robotics, virtual reality, animals, engineering toys, and more. Lastly, the hangar contained what I refer to as glorified tabletop games, such as Jenga, Battleship, corn hole, jigsaw puzzles, and more. Once I stumbled upon this area, I quickly realized that all of these would fit in nicely at a beer festival.

Imaginology presents so much to do or see that it would clearly take more than a day to check out every single exhibit. Luckily, Imaginology takes place over the course of a three-day weekend, and it costs nothing to enter other than transportation and parking. Take note of other similar S.T.E.A.M. events in your area, as most of these do not cost anything to enter because they want to spread knowledge and education to today’s youth. Keep an eye out for Imaginology’s return next year as well, which normally takes place in mid-April.

The America’s Family Pet Expo makes its 28th annual return to the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa this weekend. Taking place across much of the northern half of the fairgrounds, this all-ages expo allows all guests to exhibit all the vendors, pet adoptions, pet fitness demos, pet competitions, and pet accessory vendors. Goods sold by vendors range from food to toys to furniture to apparel and more. The pet adoptions include multiple animals such as dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and more. The $15 admission provides guests with full access to the event grounds for an entire day.

As this event covers such a huge area, guests will find lots of things to see and do to last the entire day. The outdoors areas mainly hold the demonstrations and competitions. These include surf dogs, dachshund racing, agility training, K-9 demos, an exotic birds show, larger animal adoptions, and Splash Dogs, where dogs jump for length or height into a pool. The buildings hold all of the vendors, booths by individual dog breeds, aquatic pets, reptiles/amphibians, cat show, and others that need to remain out of the sun. Guests can interact with most of the dogs at the booths, but interaction largely depends on the breed. Guests can interact with playful dogs like corgis, akitas, and golden retrievers, while guests can only look at show dogs like the shiba inu or terrier. At the pet adoption area, guests can interact with some of the cats, but cats tend to stress out with so many humans around, so they may appear less than willing to play to visitors.

Out of all of the pet expos that I have attended, I have found this one the most entertaining. It provides many things to do and see so that guests can spend all day there without having to take a break or get bored & leave. Between playing with the dogs and watching the various shows, it feels like I can stay there all weekend. Check out America’s Family Pet Expo on Facebook and Twitter for more information and updates.

Glassjaw (FB) performing Tip Your Bartender at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on November 2, 2013.

Technology has truly come a long way in short time. In the 1990’s, many people did not know of the internet, and those that did had to deal with the frustration of dial-up. Just a decade ago, smartphones had just made its introduction to the world, revolutionizing information technology by placing the world in your hands. Many other gadgets have surfaced since the smartphone, including many wearables and other useful tools. The way we view electronics has changed greatly over time too. Touch screens started off as resistive, meaning it relied on physical pressure to measure taps and touches. Touch screens later evolved into capacitive, which senses the conductive capacity of an object that touches the screen, such as human skin. In addition to touch screens, 3D and virtual reality has existed for a long time too, but had not made it into the mainstream as much. Times have changed, and you can now possess virtual reality in your hands, which the VRLA Expo 2017 showcased many forms of VR.

The general public used to think of virtual reality as a luxury item, but in today’s economy, anyone can experience VR, and the VRLA Expo 2017 exhibited the many ways that one can experience VR. This all-ages electronics expo took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center’s west hall this past weekend, and contained dozens of vendors all showcasing their entry into the VR market. Within the expo hall, the convention center staff had the lights dimmed the entire time so that attendees can better witness the spectacle of virtual reality. Most of the demos involved a VR headset that you either hold up to your eyes or have them strapped around your eyes so that you get the full immersion of the video clip or game. Most commonly, attendees got to use the HTC Vive (a complete virtual reality headset that includes a viewer and controllers, but no headphones) or other similar VR headset such as the Samsung Gear VR or Oculus Rift. Other VR demos at this expo included mixed reality (MR), full body motion capture, physical/cardio machines (bikes, elliptical, etc), and a 360 dome that simulated perspective distortion, where you lie still in a room surrounded by a round screen, and that screen displayed a video that made you feel like you moved with the video.

The future has arrived, and the future includes virtual reality. We live in a future where we put clocks in our smartphones so that we do not need to wear a watch, yet we now have smartwatches so that we do not have to pull our phones out of our pockets. In this future, we now use a USB cord to charge books and cigarettes. Virtual reality does not have to cost you much – if you have a smartphone (I recommend at least a five inch screen), you can use a Google Cardboard with it, which should only cost a few dollars on third-party sites. If you missed out on the VRLA Expo 2017, fret not, as they normally run their expo twice a year. In the meantime, check out the VRLA Expo on Facebook and Twitter for more info about future expos and all the vendors that participated in this past weekend’s expo.

For most music fans, if their favorite band or artist rolls into town for a show or performance, they will make an effort to go see that show. Some music acts occur quite often, while others rarely occur in a given area. For example, Social Distortion used to play so many shows in Southern California that local fans started to attend those shows less often. On the other hand, artists not from the west coast would rarely perform in California, so whenever they came into town, fans immediately flocked to see them. In extreme cases, some bands break up or some artists take an indefinite hiatus. So when a band reunites for some more shows, you can bet that fans will want to catch this act one last time until they disappear for good. This sparked the reason for me attending Coachella in 2012 when both At The Drive-In and Refused reunited around the same time. This also sparked the reason for me to jump at the opportunity to see my favorite band back in action after many years of missing them, Thursday.

Legendary post-hardcore band Thursday announced late in 2011 that the band had disbanded, approximately a day after Thrice announced their hiatus on Twitter. Prior to this announcement, I had not seen Thursday live since 2006, so of course my heart sank upon hearing the news. Many years later at the start of 2017, the Thursday Twitter account started to bustle with activity, followed with the announcement of a reunion tour. I acquired my ticket to see them again in Los Angeles, and that show wrapped up last Tuesday night at The Wiltern in Koreatown. This tour will continue onward across the nation, culminating with the end of their tour in New York at the end of this month. What Thursday will do following this tour remains ambiguous, but personally I hope they have a few more tours or shows left until they retire the band for good.

As the banner above indicates, a couple of bands open for Thursday during the tour. From now until the end of the tour, Cities Aviv will open the show. For the show in Los Angeles, we had indie rock band Wax Idols opening, as they opened for shows during the first half of the Thursday tour. UK rock band Basement played second in the show, followed by LA’s own post-hardcore band Touché Amoré, both popular in their own right. While every band had its fair share of fans in the crowd, obviously everyone present awaited the arrival of Thursday to the stage. For that hour and a half, the entire room went ballistic as the nostalgia hit from a band prevalent during much of the teenage and young adult years of all the fans present. Despite an all-ages show, since Thursday had their primetime in the mid-2000’s, most of the audience consisted of fans from the mid-20’s to mid-40’s. Everyone got their hit of nostalgia and got to relive their youthful years during this show. Hopefully this paves the way for other legendary bands to reunite soon and play some shows.

Ever participate in a flash mob? No, not the kind of flash mob where everyone breaks out in dance. I speak of the infamous pillow fight flash mob. World Pillow Fight Day takes place every year on the first Saturday of April, where communities around the world gather to unleash a fray of feather-fueled frenzy on unsuspecting combatants. Due to the unorganized nature of a flash mob, no one can control what occurs, so anyone can join in, yet anything goes. One will encounter solo pillow fighters, pillow fighter parties, and specific pillow fighter “targets” dressed in costume. Throughout the melee, someone may call out a target, prompting anyone nearby to all focus on that particular pillow fighter. While many people brought cotton pillows, the few that brought feather pillows made the pillow fight much more interesting. Of course, this also caused some breathing issues as the air filled with dust and feathers. Regardless, everyone had a great time, and despite the location, the event did not see any troublemakers.