Posts Tagged ‘Convention Center’

Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Since the beginning of time, civilization has always asked what came first. While the public can typically attribute tangible items with an origin, everything else requires documentation to pinpoint an origin, unless generally accepted. For example, today’s gourmet food truck trend started in early 2009 with Kogi BBQ, which everyone will say started it all. When you look at expos for comic books, all fans will tell you that the San Diego one started it all. But with the San Diego Comic Con selling out in seconds every year, what else can fans do? Sure they can shell out the cash for super inflated after-market passes, but why not travel up two hours to the greater Los Angeles area? We have witnessed countless comic events in Southern California, with one seemingly popping up every weekend or two. But how does one know which event to go to compared to others? It takes the brave to venture out and seek the new comic events, and many found that the Comic Con Revolution held up to its promise to deliver a fantastic comic con experience.

The 1st Annual Comic Con Revolution took place at the Ontario Convention Center this past Saturday to a massive crowd easily in the thousands. For as large a turnout that appeared, this expo worked in a very small space to hold that many fans. Taking place in most of the rooms on the first floor, hundreds of local comic book writers and artists traveled here to exhibit their merchandise, art, books, toys, and more. Eager fans could gain access to the entire show floor for the low price of $25 per person or $15 for teenagers, with children 12 and under entering free with a paid adult admission. In addition to the expo on the show floor, various workshops and seminars took place in the surrounding meeting rooms for those who registered ahead of time. True fans will recognize the various celebrities sitting in for meet & greet and autograph sessions. For a small space, it took some time to walk through every single aisle to gaze at all the work on display.

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 donned their best gear for this expo. Check out some of the amazing costumes that I encountered at Comic Con Revolution below.

Considering the massive turnout for this event along with the cramped space, not only do I foresee Comic Con Revolution returning next year, but I also predict that they will have to expand their space to accommodate for all the extra vendors and attendees that will want to attend next year. Comic Con Revolution joins the ranks of big comic events in Southern California, such as San Diego Comic Con, Long Beach Comic Con/Expo, Wonder Con, Los Angeles Comic Con (formerly Comikaze), Anime Expo, Fantasia Comic Con, Comic Excitement Con, and lots of others. Keep in touch with future updates from Comic Con Revolution by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

The Robo Toy Fest returned for its annual event this past Sunday. Taking place at the Pasadena Convention Center, this all-ages expo features dozens of artists and vendors all showcasing any media involving robots or mechs. From Transformers to Power Rangers and more, any fan of robot toys would love to see everything here. Visitors would find more than enough toys around to keep their interests piqued for hours. Admission only costs $10 and allows in-and-out privileges the entire day. Robo Toy Fest normally operates along with Brick Boutique, but for some reason that event did not return this year, so Robo Toy Fest operated on its own. For a small event though, one could see everything present within half an hour. However, the event organizers provided some extra content to entice visitors to stay, such as complimentary snacks and special guest celebrities doing autograph signings and photographs with visitors. I specifically saw one of the Red Rangers from one of the Power Rangers seasons, as well as the actor that portrayed Liu Kang in a Mortal Kombat movie. For those with expanded interests, plenty of vendors present provided merchandise from video games, comics, anime, manga, and more, giving fans more to see than just robots.

Robo Toy Fest returns at different times of the year. Last year, Robo Toy Fest took place in October, way off from this year in May. The organizers of Robo Toy Fest also put on a lot of other similar events at the Pasadena Convention Center, which I will list below. Make sure you like Robo Toy Fest on Facebook to see what else they have coming up. To better understand what transpires here, check out these other similar events held at the Pasadena Convention Center:

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.

They said the classics never go out of style, but eventually they do. But when looking at trends, things that have goner out of style also eventually rebound back into popularity. Trends and fads ride a wave where they peak at one point then fall down and rise back up, repeating this cyclical process over time. Take a look at Pokémon for example. It had its prime time in the early 2000’s then slowly faded down, but then it surged in popularity again with the release of Pokémon GO last year. The Power Rangers had its glory in the 1990’s, then faded away for some time. However, a new Power Rangers movie will release later this month, hoping to revitalize the franchise. It helps to pay attention to the classics, as they will always find a way to come back into our lives, as we witnessed at the 2017 Pasadena Comic Con & Toy Show.

Pasadena gets their own event dedicated to comics and toys of new and old with the Pasadena Comic Con & Toy Show. Taking place this past Sunday at the Pasadena Convention Center, this all-ages convention represents a smaller, localized version of some of the larger comic events known throughout the world. Unlike those larger events, this one only costs $10 to enter for a decent amount of content. The main show floor had dozens of writers and artists all showing their work, as well as a handful of vendors selling toys, video games, and accessories. Additionally, some of the convention center’s side rooms contained more content, such as more toy vendors, guest cosplay booths, and a seminar/programs room. Altogether, this represents a nice scaled version of the big comic cons.

As a comic expo, we cannot forget about the diehard fans dressing up as their favorite fictional character. 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 an art of fans sporting outfits and accessories to appear like another usually recognizable character. Mainstream characters such as Harley Quinn and Deadpool often get selected as the costume of choice due to the fast recognition by many fans, while lesser known characters tend to receive more praise by the fans who recognize the outfit. As one of the smaller comic expos, the Pasadena Comic Con did not have as many cosplayers in attendance throughout the day. However, a good amount still showed up, and I got to interact with them at the same character level that I do at larger events.

The Pasadena Convention Center hosts a handful of related events, such as events dedicated to Legos, Transformers, Power Rangers, and more. Check out the convention center’s website often (linked above) to see when they will have an event next. Also make sure you like the Pasadena Comic Con on Facebook, as they will post links about the aforementioned similar events that will take place at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Like a flash, the 2017 Long Beach Comic Expo came and went this past weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center. This convention for all things comics returned to the convention center’s Hall C just like previous years, and visitors had to enter from the east side instead of the usual west side due to another convention taking place along the western rooms. The main operations of the expo had not changed – hundreds of local comic book writers and artists exhibited their merchandise, art, books, toys, and more, either for sale or for show. Elsewhere in other rooms across from Hall C, a number workshops and seminars occurred, ranging from speaker panels to art workshops to live activities. Cosplay Corner returned to the expo as a part of the show floor in the same side of the room as previous years. Nothing else drastic changed from the previous years of the Long Beach Comic Expo, but due to the weekend’s storms, a few things got moved around – notably, anything vehicular moved to the other side from the entrance, such as themed cars and the mobile food vendors. Many cosplayers often remain out in front for photo shoots; however, due to the weather, most attendees preferred to remain inside the expo halls. Overall, I experienced lower attendance than usual this past weekend, and many attribute that to bad weather.

As a comic expo, we cannot forget about the diehard fans dressing up as their favorite fictional character. 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 an art of fans sporting outfits and accessories to appear like another usually recognizable character. Mainstream characters such as Harley Quinn and Deadpool often get selected as the costume of choice due to the fast recognition by many fans, while lesser known characters tend to receive more praise by the fans who recognize the outfit. Check out this collection of the great costumes from the 2017 Long Beach Comic Expo. If you recognize any of these awesome people, please leave a comment with a URL to the person’s website or Facebook page, as well as the reference costume & photo! If the image links go down, click here for the album.

The Fall expo, the Long Beach Comic Con, returns in early September. The Fall event should return to the exact same location as this past weekend’s event, and generally has a greater turnout due to more famous people in attendance. Until then, keep an eye out for other similar expos, such as WonderCon at the end of March, or Anime Expo in early July. You have plenty of time to work up that unique and amazing DIY costume that everyone will want to take a picture of.

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 cost like $175 or more to get in and 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.

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.

Mustard Plug 2017 West Coast Tour
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, February 13, Mission Tobacco Lounge, Riverside
8:00 pm – 11:00 pm, February 14, Slide Bar, Fullerton
8:30 pm – 12:30 am, February 15, The Casbah, San Diego
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, February 18, The Viper Room, West Hollywood
http://www.mustardplug.com/

Famous ska band Mustard Plug currently tours across the west coast, and that tour swings through Southern California this week. Ticket prices and age limits vary with each show, so refer to Mustard Plug’s website for show details.

Valentine’s Day
February 14

Happy Valentine’s Day! Many businesses may offer special meals for this occasion, so check with your favorite local establishment to see if they have anything special to offer. This includes non-food places, such as museums.

Wine, Cheese & Chocolate
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm, February 14
Eat Drink Americano, Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.winela.com/wcc

Indulge in a cheese, chocolate, and wine pairing session this Tuesday night in Downtown LA. Admission costs $90 per person, and includes all foods and wines that attendees will enjoy. No one under 21 may attend.

Naughty Valentines Burlesque Show
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm, February 14
Gaslamp, Long Beach
http://www.dirtylittlesecretsburlesque.com/

Come see some sultry dancing this Tuesday night in Long Beach. Admission starts at $10 and goes up depending on where you want to stand or sit, with a dinner package available as well, starting at $50.

Bottle Share @ The Rookery
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, February 15
The Rookery, Pomona
http://rookeryalehouse.com/Events.html

Share your favorite craft beer with other craft beer enthusiasts at this bottle share this Wednesday night in Downtown Pomona. Bring in a 750ml bottle of craft beer and order at least $10 of food in order to participate. Guests can find plenty of free parking in the area, and can avoid paying for parking entirely.

Long Beach Coin, Stamp, & Sports Collectible Expo
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, February 16-18
Long Beach Convention Center, Downtown Long Beach
http://www.longbeachexpo.com/

This show brings tens of thousands of collectors worldwide to share, buy, sell, and trade their collectibles. Complete with seminars, workshops, press conferences, vendor booths, auctions, and more, this all-ages expo will delight anyone interested in collecting valuable goods. Admission costs $8, with discounts available for seniors and children. Use promo code MEDIA for free passes. Parking at the convention center costs $10.

Reel Big Fish: 2017 US Winter Tour
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, February 16, The Belasco Theater, Downtown Los Angeles
6:30 pm – 11:30 pm, February 17, House of Blues, San Diego
http://www.reel-big-fish.com/

Reel Big Fish currently tours across the country as part of their annual winter tour, and that tour swings through Southern California this week. Tickets to these all-ages show vary in price, so check the venue’s link for details.

Fang: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 16, Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 17, The Garage, Ventura
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 18, The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 19, Five Star Bar, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.fangofficial.com/

Hardcore punk band Fang will headline a bunch of shows in Southern California this week. Ticket prices will vary by the show’s location, so refer to Fang’s website for details. No one under 21 may enter any of these shows.

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.

Foam Wonderland – Climax Tour 2017
6:00 pm – 2:00 am, February 17
City National Grove, Anaheim
http://foamwonderland.com/

Want to get covered in foam without the necessity of moving for five kilometers? Check out this foam party this Friday night in Anaheim. Take a nighttime EDM scene, throw in colors, lights, and foam, and you have one messy and wet dance party. Tickets start at $58. No one under 18 may attend.

Blanks 77 – Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 17, The Observatory, Santa Ana
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm, February 18, Club Los Globos, Silverlake
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 19, Soda Bar, San Diego
http://www.facebook.com/Blanks-77-256493316808/

Oi punk band Blanks 77 will headline a group of shows this weekend in Southern California. Ticket prices to these all-ages show vary by location, so check on their Facebook page for prices for each show.

Punk Rock Karaoke
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, February 17, Saint Rocke, Hermosa Beach
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, February 18, Mission Tobacco Lounge, Riverside
http://www.originalpunkrockkaraoke.com/

Live out your punk rock dream with Punk Rock Karaoke this Friday night in Hermosa Beach, complete with a backing band consisting of professional musicians. Admission costs $10 for Friday in Hermosa Beach, or $15 for Saturday in Riverside. No one under 21 may enter.

Rock The Boat: Love Stinks
10:00 pm – 2:00 am, February 17
Grand Romance Riverboat, Long Beach
http://www.rocktheboatla.com/

Take a boat ride out to sea this Friday night to enjoy an unregulated no-limits skacore show. Admission costs $25 presale. No one under 21 may attend.

Insane Inflatable 5K San Diego
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, February 18
Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, Vista
http://insaneinflatable5k.com/san-diego-ca/

It appears that people will do anything to break the mundane cycle of 5k runs. Introducing the Insane Inflatable 5K, a 5k obstacle course that takes you through inflatable obstacles. You remember these things as a kid. Now endure them as you challenge yourself and others to get through over three miles of this stuff. Registration costs $65 online or $75 on the day of the event, and comes with an event t-shirt.

24th Annual Queen Mary ScotsFest
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, February 18-19
The Queen Mary, Long Beach
http://www.queenmary.com/events/scotsfestival/

Exhibit and explore Scottish culture this weekend at the Queen Mary’s annual Scottish Festival. Open to all ages, this festival will allow guests to experience Scottish music, dancing, athletic competitions, food, apparel, merchandise, and more. Plenty of activities will keep guests of all ages occupied, such as a kids’ zone and petting zoo for little ones, and a darts tournament and whiskey tastings for adults. Saturday ticket-holders also receive a discount for the ensuing Scottish music concert at night (see event below). Single-day tickets cost $19 for adults, while other ticket packages will vary in prices. Parking will get hectic, so I highly recommend taking the FREE Passport bus from downtown to here. As the majority of the fest takes place outdoors, I suggest applying sunscreen and dressing for outdoor weather.

12th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 18-19
Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles
http://travelshows.com/losangeles

Interested in traveling and getting out to explore? Find all the information and resources you need and more this weekend at the Travel & Adventure Show. Presale admission costs $11 for one day, or $18 for both days.

2017 Long Beach Comic Expo
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, February 18
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 19
Long Beach Convention Center, Downtown Long Beach
http://longbeachcomicexpo.com/

Comic fans rejoice! The Long Beach Comic Expo returns for its annual installment at the Long Beach Convention Center this Saturday. Admission costs $30 for Saturday, $25 for Sunday, or $50 for both days, giving guests all-day entry to the all-ages expo, where they can find plenty of merchandise, vendors, workshops, seminars, comic book signings/autographs, and more. Expect hundreds of cosplayers, as both exhibitors and attendees will dress up as their favorite fictional character. The convention center will sell food to hungry guests, but you can also check out the other great restaurants nearby if you get hungry, plus the bike fest going on across the street. Convention Center parking costs $10, so I suggest taking carpooling, taking public transportation, or parking in the neighborhoods east of Alamitos Ave and walking to the Convention Center.

Southern California Pet Expo
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, February 18
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, February 19
Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar, San Diego
http://www.petexposandiego.com/

This FREE all-ages expo for all things pet-related takes place this weekend at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego County. Open to all types of pets (with proof of vaccination), visitors can experience agility demos, prize giveaways, pet adoptions, free grooming, training sessions, and more. Bring cash for parking, which will cost between $5 to $10 per vehicle.

Santa Anita Winners’ Circle Chili Cook Off
10:30 am – 6:00 pm, February 18
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia
http://www.santaanitabbq.com/santa-anita-chili-2017/

Enjoy chili tastings from local cooks as they enter their prized chili recipes in hopes of taking home the grand prize. General admission costs $10 and provides entry to the event as well as access to the racetrack and betting. All food and drinks sold separately.

3rd Annual Los Angeles Cookie Con & Sweets Show
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 18
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, February 19
Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles
http://www.lacookiecon.com/

Got a sweet tooth? You will not want to miss this event featuring all things sweet. General admission costs $25, and includes access to unlimited treats while supplies last. Celebrity chefs will also make an appearance for anyone wanting photos or autographs.

16th Annual Venice Beach Mardi Gras
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, February 18
Venice Beach, Venice
http://www.visitveniceca.com/calendar/2017mardigras/

Get wild this Saturday afternoon in Venice Beach. Free to attend for all ages, expect to see of of wild and vibrant outfits in this parade. The public may jump in to the parade too!

Free Punk Rock Show @ The World Famous Doll Hut
1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, February 18
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/343804072685338/

Enjoy a FREE local punk rock show this Saturday afternoon in Anaheim. No one under 21 may enter.

3rd Annual Air + Style Los Angeles
1:00 pm – 11:00 pm, February 18-19
Exposition Park, Los Angeles
http://airandstyle.com/los-angeles-2/

Music and snowboarding collide at this extreme sports event this weekend in Los Angeles. Tickets to this concert start at $79 and go up depending on your mode of attendance.

San Diego Winter Brew Fest
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, February 18
Hall of Champions, Balboa Park, San Diego
http://www.sandiegobrewfest.com/

This winter beer festival returns to Balboa Park this weekend. General admission to this winter beer festival starts at 7pm and costs $40 presale or $50 at the door. Pay $10 more to enter the festival an hour earlier at 6pm. No one under 21 may enter.

Anti Social: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 18
Five Star Bar, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/1694642954199516/

Rock out to some local punk rock bands this Saturday night in Downtown LA. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may enter.

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.

Crave Expo
11:00 am – 8:00 pm, February 19
Phoenix Club, Anaheim
http://www.craveexpo.com/

Basically, a gourmet food truck or mobile food vendor fest. Preregister on their website to enter for free, or pay $10 at the gate to enter the event, and you gain access to a plethora of various food and beverage vendors. The admission only grants you entry, nothing else. Attendees will need to bring plenty of cash to pay for any food or drinks they intend to consume. Regular admission starts at 12pm, while a special VIP hour will take place starting at 11am. Dress appropriately for outdoor weather, including sunscreen for those intending to stay long. The venue provides free parking.

The Downton Abbey Tea
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, February 19
Whimsic Alley, Los Angeles
http://www.whimsicalley.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/356173821431857/

Fans of Downton Abbey will not want to miss this formal tea supper this Sunday evening in Burbank. The $40 admission includes tea, sandwiches, dessert, entertainment, and themed activities.

Legos – we all grew up with it, and while it has largely remained a toy for children, it has captivated our hearts so much that we can still enjoy it as adults. Thankfully, the world has Lego expos and conventions for those still young at heart, such as at Bricks LA 2017, a Lego exhibit. Taking place at the Pasadena Conference Center this past weekend, this exhibit for all things Legos contained multiple aisles of carefully curated works of art constructed with Lego pieces. Visitors paid an admission of $10 and gained access to the floor full of Lego sculptures, landscapes, artwork, Lego machines, and more. While visitors could interact with the master builders behind some of these works, most of the tables simply had the Lego artworks with no one else around to inquire about the work. The center of the floor primarily contained Lego art on display, while the outer areas had more. The back wall had all of the vendors, most of which sold Lego sets and other paraphernalia. The front area had some of the interactive demos, such as a medieval-themed board game.

Compared to last year’s Bricks LA, not too much has changed as far as content goes. On one hand, the price of admission doubled from last year’s $5 admission, and at the same time the event did not get any bigger. On the other hand, this year’s Bricks LA felt a lot more interactive. While last year’s event only had exhibits and vendors, this year featured a “sandbox” area for anyone to construct whatever they felt like. A few of the exhibits allowed attendees to interact with the constructs, such as the Ultimate Nexo Brick Battle near the front of the event. This game resembled a medieval board game of four teams trying to take out the competition to remain the last team standing on the field.

If you love Legos and/or art in general, you owe it to yourself to check out Bricks LA when it next returns. When will it return? To find out, give Bricks LA a like on Facebook and a follow on Twitter. I attended Bricks LA on Saturday afternoon, prime time for most people to attend. Still, it did not have as many crazy kids running amok as I had expected. Sure you could see everything in less than an hour, but at that low admission price, Bricks LA makes for a fun activity that anyone can enjoy.