Posts Tagged ‘December 2015’

Punk Rock Show @ Mission Tobacco Lounge
9:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 28
Mission Tobacco Lounge, Riverside
http://www.facebook.com/events/1156484284378873/

Start off your week with some punk rock at a free show tonight in Riverside. No one under 21 may enter.

OFF! Live in Southern California
8:30 pm – 12:30 am, December 29, The Casbah, Middletown, San Diego http://www.casbahmusic.com/event/5833
6:00 pm – 2:00 am, December 31, Shrine Expo Hall, Los Angeles http://www.shrineauditorium.com/events/detail/279760
http://offofficial.com/

Cap off your 2015 with some punk rock this week with OFF! and these two shows that they will headline. The age limit and ticket prices vary with each show, so click on a show’s link for details.

Benefit for Gabby Gaborrno
6:00 pm – 2:00 am, December 30
DiPiazzas, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/535138243306914/

End 2015 with a bang with these local punk rock bands this Wednesday night at DiPiazzas in Long Beach. The cover for this all-ages show costs $10. Guests can find plenty of free street parking in the adjacent neighborhood.

Ska Luau VI
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 30
House of Blues, Anaheim
http://www.houseofblues.com/anaheim/events/eventdetail/?viewNav=/event-detail&eventId=09004F5FAEF8113E

Time to skank! Get all ska’d out with Starpool, Suburban Legends, the Magnolia Polynesian Dance Troupe, and more at this all-ages show at the House of Blues at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. Tickets cost $15 presale or $18 at the door. Guests may park for free for up to four hours with the venue’s wristband as validation, so time arrival accordingly.

Nerdy New Year 2016
9:00 am – 9:00 am, December 31 – January 1
California Center for the Arts, Escondido
http://www.nerdynewyear.com/

24 hours of video games, cosplay, table top tournaments, workshops, panels, live music, and more await this New Year’s Eve in Escondido. Tickets cost $14 for a 12-hour session, $24 for all 24 hours, or $35 for VIP which grants access to a VIP area, drink tickets, and VIP parking.

Various New Year’s Eve Dinners/Parties
Nighttime, December 31

Anywhere you go on New Year’s Eve, you will find a dinner or party of some sort. Please party responsibly and commute safely. Minimize your time on the road if possible.

New Year’s Eve with Guttermouth
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 31
Karman Bar, Laguna Niguel
http://www.facebook.com/events/1518686321783080/

Ring in the new year with everyone’s favorite local raunchy punk rock band, Guttermouth, in Laguna Niguel this New Year’s Eve. The cover for this show costs $15. No one under 21 may enter.

The Aggrolites’ 5th Annual New Year’s Eve Bash @ Alex’s Bar
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, December 31
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.aggroreggae.com/
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/995445-aggrolites-long-beach/

Ring in the new year with The Aggrolites at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach. Admission costs $20 presale and $25 at the door. No one under 21 may enter. Guests should park in the neighborhood across the street from Alex’s Bar or on Orizaba Avenue.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 1
Various locations
Long Beach: http://firstfridayslongbeach.com/
Venice: http://www.abbotkinney1stfridays.com/

This monthly artwalk occurs on the first Friday of every month. Each location offers different activities, but most will contain food & drink specials, art exhibits & displays, street performers, and more. Venice and Long Beach have the two largest gatherings of all First Fridays. Other locations include Westchester, Fullerton, and City of Industry. Most First Fridays locations cost nothing to attend, while the local businesses uphold their standard rules (e.g. bars 21+ only).

Rikk Agnew New Year’s Celebration
7:30 pm – 12:30 am, January 1
Tiki Bar, Costa Mesa
http://www.facebook.com/events/1711758575720934/

Kick off the new year with some local punk rock this Friday night in Costa Mesa. The cover for this show costs $10. No one under 21 may enter.

2016 New Year’s Race + Health & Fitness Expo
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, January 2
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm – 12:00 am, January 3
Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.newyearsrace.com/

Kick off the new year with this fun run lasting your choice of 5k, 10k, or a half marathon. Registration varies depending on age and the course, but all participants receive with registration a medal, a shirt or sweater, admission to the expo & fair, a goodie bag, post-race recovery foods, and more. A health & fitness expo will take place at the Biltmore Hotel on Friday and Saturday afternoon, and all race participants can attend that expo. The race starts on 7th Street and goes up to around Grand Park and Chinatown, while half marathon runners will run through Dodger Stadium. This event WILL close off multiple streets in Downtown Los Angeles, something that rarely occurs, so you definitely will not want to miss this sight.

Doll Hut Reopening 2nd Anniversary Weekend
6:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 2
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/440700292788895/

Two years ago, the Doll Hut reopened their doors to the public. This Saturday night, they celebrate returning to the business with a local punk show with a $5 cover charge. No one under 21 may enter.

D.I. – Live in Corona
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 2
Bar 1650, Corona
http://www.facebook.com/events/1181883398506953/

Check out some great local punk bands this Saturday in Corona. The cover for this show costs $10. No one under 21 may enter.

Oshogatsu Family Festival 2016
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, January 3
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles
http://janm.org/oshogatsufest2016

Celebrate the year of the monkey at this free and all-ages celebration. Visitors will find food, arts & crafts, cultural activities, live entertainment, and more.

I & I Brewing’s 4th Anniversary Celebration
11:00 am – 9:00 pm, January 3
I & I Brewing, Chino
http://iandibrewing.com/
http://iandi4th.brownpapertickets.com/

I & I Brewing turns four years old this weekend, and to celebrate, they will have a celebration at their tasting room in Chino this Sunday. Admission costs $10 and comes with a pint glass and one beer pour. When purchasing admission, you must select a time that you will show up at, and you cannot enter until after your selected time.

Ill Niño Tour
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, January 3
Mission Tobacco Lounge, Riverside
http://www.facebook.com/events/477135762491013/

Enjoy some local punk rock music at this free show this Sunday night in Riverside. No one under 21 may enter.

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Indulge LA, a chocolate, wine, and champagne festival, returns for its annual run this Sunday at the Olympic Collection in West LA. As LA’s greatest fest of its kind, Indulge brings the best of chefs, bakers, pâtissiers, wineries, distilleries, and more to display to attendees of all ages. General admission costs $45, starts at 2pm, and provides access to UNLIMITED tastings of all food, dessert, and drinks, alcohol included. VIP admission costs $95 and starts at 1pm. Last call happens around 3:45pm, and the events end promptly at 4pm. The venue sets the parking fee, which ranges from $5 to $10. Avoid parking in the neighborhoods, as all streets have one or two hour parking only before getting a parking ticket.

Anchorage Brewing Flight Night
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, December 22
Select Beer Store, Redondo Beach
http://www.selectbeerstore.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1144689078892666/

This Tuesday evening, Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach will have three special beers from Anchorage Brewing available for tasting flights. This tasting event has no cover charge – simply show up, and pay as you go.

Christmas
December 25
Worldwide

Spend the holidays with your friends & family, and remember to have fun and stay safe.

5th Annual Tovarish Release
11:30 am – 10:00 pm, December 26
Beachwood Brewing, Long Beach
http://beachwoodbbq.com/events.html

Beachwood Brewing will release the fifth edition of their Tovarish stout this Saturday at their restaurant in Long Beach. In addition, they will have all of the previous years’ versions on tap for you to try. This event requires no reservations or admission fee – simply show up, enjoy a tasting on the spot, and/or pay for bottles to go.

Santa Anita Trackside Winter Brewfest
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, December 26
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia
http://www.santaanita.com/events/trackside-winter-brewfest/

Beer, music, and horse racing collide this Friday afternoon at the Santa Anita Park. Gain admission to the racetrack for $40, which includes two 12oz beers, a souvenir glass, and access to the races and betting. Use promo code FROSTY to take $15 off admission.

Modern Times Tap Takeover
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, December 26
Select Beer Store, Redondo Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/1750182281883119/

Modern Times will take over the taps at Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach all day this Saturday. This event has no cover charge – simply show up and enjoy a cold one or more.

The Day After Christmas Rock-N-Roll Party
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 26
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/546791472140766/

Rock out to local punk rock bands after Christmas this Saturday night at the Doll Hut in Anaheim. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may enter.

Indulge LA – Los Angeles Chocolate Festival & Pastry Show
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, December 27
The Olympic Collection, West Los Angeles
http://www.indulgela.net/

Come to Indulge LA, an all-ages expo where guests will experience the best of chocolates, wines, and champagnes from around the world. The $45 admission covers unlimited chocolates, pastries, food, wine, champagne, spirits, and other goodies, such as a souvenir glass. VIP admission costs $95 and begins at 1pm, while general admission enters at 2pm. The Olympic Collection charges for its own parking, which ranges from $5 to $10. I advise against parking in the neighborhood, which requires a permit that only locals carry.

Huntington Beach’s Old World Village gets into the holiday spirit with their German Christmas Market that takes place the first three Sundays of December. Free to attend for all ages, this event features dozens of local vendors setting up booths around Old World Village to sell various goods. The goods range from holiday-themed items to accessories to apparel to other gift ideas including books, toys, and trinkets. While browsing all of the vendors that set up, local musicians play under a music tent along one of the aisles, and many of the shops throughout Old World Village offer specials or sales. If visiting, check out the food businesses here, as some of them have food and/or drink specials as well.

The German Christmas Market will take place one more time this Sunday from 11am to 4pm before calling it quits until next year. For more information, visit the website linked above, and check out Old World Village’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Have a preview of what to expect if you plan to attend this Sunday:

The 69th Annual Naples Island Holiday Boat Parade returned to the canals of Naples Island in Long Beach this past Saturday evening. Completely free to attend for all ages, this annual holiday boat parade attracts thousands to this small community to not only witness the spectacular Christmas lights aboard all the boats, but to stroll along the canals of Naples Island to gaze upon all of the holiday decorations of the citizens of Naples Island. Immediate streets along the parade route closed to vehicular traffic at 5pm. Spectators get to see dozens of boats decorated with Christmas lights and props as they sail through the parade route.

Large boats start at 6pm and sail entirely south of 2nd Street, moving counter-clockwise and starting right before the bend of Lido Lane. Click here for a map of the large boat parade route. Small boats start at 6:45pm and begin at Marine Stadium before following a route similar to the large boat, but also passing through the inner canals of Naples Island. Click here for a map of the small boat parade route. By overlapping the two maps, we see a few spots to stand where spectators can catch both parades without moving: along the outer edge of the island reached by crossing Neapolitan Lane, along Lido Lane, and at the Long Beach Yacht Club, where both parade routes end.

This year, the small boats took some time to get started, as they must have had a hiccup of some sort. Observe the large boats on display here:

The Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market returned Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles for its sixth year in a row this past weekend. This FREE two-day event features over a hundred different vendors and exhibitors selling various arts & crafts goods, ranging from apparel to accessories to miscellaneous home goods and more. The exhibitors, which consisted of artists, designers, bakers, crafters, and more, brought plenty of merchandise for the thousands of guests to browse and buy, just in time for the holidays. The Renegade Craft Fair typically sees a consistent crowd throughout the day at all of their events. Navigating the numerous aisles proved somewhat of a challenge with so many people around. This year’s holiday fair featured a mix of returning vendors and new vendors. Some of the returning vendors included Bad Pickle Tees, Pop Candy, The Library Store, Yarnover Truck, Hepp’s Salt, and more.

No one can truly go wrong at an event like this because it supports the local community. Not only can you acquire some really neat clothes or accessories that many other people may not own, but you support locals, meaning your money helps to stimulate the local economy instead of sending money to a corporation outside of the state, or even outside of the country. Of course, one does not need a fair like this to support independents. Anyone can find mom & pop shops everywhere, and purchasing from them helps more than just the business staff and owners. Supporting local businesses also supports the people, workers and customers, linked to that business. An occasion like Small Business Saturday does not exist simply for the purpose of spending even more money on holiday shopping – it promotes the awareness of small businesses and their effect on the local community. Take some time to appreciate the local wonders in your community, and you may find the outcome rewarding at best. Keep up with updates about local craft fairs by liking Renegade Craft Fair on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

We all heard this growing up… “Breakfast: the most important meal of the day.” As the first form of food that we put into our bodies on a daily basis, breakfast sets the tone for how we will take on the rest of the day. Not only does breakfast supply the first dose of nutrients our body needs to burn to get through the day, but breakfast determines the rate of that day’s metabolism to handle food for the rest of the day. What do we normally envision as the traditional breakfast? Items such as bread, eggs, and meat supply the necessary carbs and proteins needed to start off the day. Over time, people have grown to appreciate breakfast foods and have started to crave them at other times of the day other than immediately after waking up. This has led some food businesses to offer breakfast items at all times of the day. While some places do offer breakfast for dinner, the intention of breakfast’s nutrients gets lost when going to sleep so soon. However, this does not stop most people from enjoying a comforting meal whenever possible, and Grill ‘Em All has decided to bring breakfast to any hour of the day.

Always searching for new and crazy ideas to produce out of their kitchen, Grill ‘Em All represents the mosh pit of new food ideas. While most restaurants want to stay safe by offering the typical hamburger with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and condiments, Grill ‘Em All smashes the mold by revealing the strangest yet tastiest combinations a burger can face. If you have not yet heard of Grill ‘Em All, they rose to fame after they won the first season of Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race, barely edging out Nom Nom Truck (who have since moved to San Francisco). Since then, their fame grew so much that even two trucks could not handle their overwhelming popularity, so they bunkered down and opened a restaurant in Downtown Alhambra. The restaurant allows them to not only churn out greater amounts of burgers, but also to serve craft beer with the food too. They also now have the capacity to launch other crazy things like special appearances by famous musicians, athletes, or celebrities, and their coveted burger-of-the-month, which brings us back to the aforementioned topic of breakfast. Capping off 2015, Grill ‘Em All has gone back to the beginning with a breakfast inspired burger that they dub No Presents For Christmas A.K.A. The Christmas Creature. Named after an 80’s metal song and a professional wrestler, Grill ‘Em All delivers a full breakfast meal in a small package with this massive messy sandwich. Supported by French toast as the buns, a half pound beef burger sits on a bed of strawberry jam while supporting cheddar, bacon, ham, and sweet cream cheese. To top it off, this sandwich receives a croque madame treatment with a slathering of gruyère sauce and a fried egg. They give you this meal with a knife in it on purpose – good luck trying to pick this up with your bare hands. Grab a fork, and spare a wad of napkins by going to town with a knife & fork into this sandwich. Every ingredient works well together, as no sole flavor overpowers another – the sweet ingredients help to balance the savoriness of the meats.

Do you love meat? If so, you owe it to yourself to trek on over to Grill ‘Em All in Alhambra sometime this month to take on the No Presents For Christmas A.K.A. The Christmas Creature. For all this meat, this burger will only set you back $13. Enjoy a cold beer while dining here, since Grill ‘Em All has expanded their craft beer lineup to include a greater variety of beers. For more news and updates from the Grill ‘Em All camp, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Free Punk Show in Riverside
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, December 14
Inkonsiderate Boardshop, Riverside
http://www.facebook.com/events/899549066761650/

Enjoy a FREE and all-ages local punk show tonight in Riverside.

Poison Idea: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 15, The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim http://www.facebook.com/events/502539276582171/
8:30 pm – 1:30 am, December 16, Soda Bar, Normal Heights, San Diego http://www.sodabarmusic.com/calendar.php?event_id=2678
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, December 17, Alex’s Bar, Long Beach http://www.alexsbar.com/event/969067-poison-idea-long-beach/
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 18, The Garage, Ventura http://www.facebook.com/events/957754764270678/

Portland’s own Poison Idea will headline a handful of shows this week in Southern California. The cover for these shows vary by location, so click on a show’s link for prices. No one under 21 may enter any of these shows.

107th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
6:30 pm – 9:00 pm, December 16-20
Balboa Island, Newport Beach
http://www.balboaisland.com/107th-annual-newport-beach-christmas-boat-parade/

Enjoy a free and all-ages Christmas boat parade around Balboa Island this week.

Give More, Get More On Fourth – A Holiday Celebration
9:00 am – 11:00 pm, December 17
Retro Row, Long Beach
http://4thstreetlongbeach.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/737067969757820/

Many shops on 4th Street in Long Beach will have sales or specials this Thursday. Check the Facebook event page linked above for a full list of what to expect on 4th Street this Thursday.

Allagash Bottle Release
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, December 17
Select Beer Store, Redondo Beach
http://www.selectbeerstore.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1654045568196956/

Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach will have a special bottle release this Thursday night from Allagash, as well as a handful of other Allagash beers on tap. No reservations or admission required – simply show up and enjoy a cold one.

Beachwood BBQ 9th Anniversary Celebration
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, December 17-19
Beachwood BBQ, Seal Beach
http://beachwoodbbq.com/events.html

Beachwood BBQ celebrates their ninth year in Seal Beach this week, and to commemorate, Beachwood Brewing releases Nine this week in bottles and at both locations on tap. When you visit either location, expect to find a plethora of seasonal beers on tap, plus an exciting menu full of exclusive items only found during this celebration.

Silent Night, Deadly Night
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, December 17
Phantom Carriage Brewery, Carson
http://www.phantomcarriage.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/205568859778533/

This Thursday night, Phantom Carriage Brewery in Carson will have an ugly sweater party, release a new barrel-aged beer, and show a 1984 slasher film. No admission required – simply show up and enjoy the night.

Artifex Brewing’s Ugly Sweater Party
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, December 18
Artifex Brewing, San Clemente
http://artifexbrewing.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/952232751509791/

Don your ugly Christmas sweater to Artifex Brewing in San Clemente this Friday night. The top three sweaters will receive a prize. This event has no admission fee or cover charge. No purchase necessary.

The Music Center Holiday Sing-Along
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm, December 18
The Music Center, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.musiccenter.org/events/special-events/holiday-sing-along/

At this free and all-ages event, visitors will get to sing holiday songs with many other people. The music center will provide lyrics sheets.

Save The Swim Team – Holiday Shows
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 18, Beatnik Bandito, Santa Ana http://www.facebook.com/events/844181019028037/
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 19, Bridgetown DIY, La Puente http://www.facebook.com/events/1480046275632977/
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 20, Ché Café Collective, La Jolla http://www.facebook.com/events/1650507011832983/

Ska-reamo band Save The Swim Team reunites for a series of Southern California shows this weekend. The cover charge for these all-ages shows vary by location, so click on a show’s link for prices.

Lightsaber Battle 2015
8:00 pm – 11:00 pm, December 18, Pershing Square, Downtown Los Angeles
8:00 pm – 11:00 pm, December 19, Waterfront Park, San Diego
http://www.thelightbattle.com/

To celebrate the new Star Wars movie coming out this week, Southern California will see two all-ages flash mobs involving lightsaber battles. Bring your own lightsaber, or order one from the organizers for $10 presale or $15 at the event. The event spaces will have food trucks, a temporary bar, and live DJ’s to take care of guests.

Retox and ACxDC Record Release Show
8:00 pm – 1:30 am, December 18
Characters Sports Bar, Pomona
http://www.gonzopresents.com/event/227054

Rock out to some local bands this Friday night in Pomona. The cover for this show costs $10. No one under 21 may enter. Guests can find plenty of free street parking in the area, and can avoid paying to park in the adjacent lot.

Punk Rock Christmas Party & Toy Drive for Toys For Tots
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, December 18
Viper Room, West Hollywood
http://www.x-members.com/

A handful of great punk rock bands will perform this Friday night in West Hollywood. Tickets to this show cost $12 presale or $15 at the door. Bring an unwrapped toy for special prizes and drink specials. No one under 21 may enter.

Let it Snow at the North Pole
11:00 am – 1:00 pm, December 19
Houghton Park, North Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/558354497646602/

At this free and all-ages event, visitors will find Santa Claus, toys, cookies, snow, and other forms of entertainment.

Akihabara Day
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, December 19
Weller Court, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
http://www.akibaday.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1390679991230480/

Fans of Japanese pop culture will not want to miss this free and all-ages event in Little Tokyo this Saturday afternoon. Activities include cosplaying, a gift exchange, speed dating, and photographs around the Christmas tree.

Star Wars Day at Helm’s Brewing
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, December 19
Helm’s Brewing, Kearny Mesa
http://www.helmsbrewingco.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/155866331436083/

To celebrate the release of the new Star Wars film, Helm’s Brewing will air the original trilogy, host raffles for various merchandise, and release a new line of beers based on the Star Wars universe. This event has no cover charge – simply show up, pound a cold one, and enjoy the movies.

7th Annual Champagne Tasting
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, December 19
The Sky Room, Long Beach
http://www.theskyroom.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/208038826194535/

Taste ten exquisite champagnes and sparkling wines, along with specialty hors d’oeuvres pairings. Admission costs $65 presale or $75 at the door.

Timeless Pints Holiday Party
1:00 pm – 8:00 pm, December 19
Timeless Pints, Lakewood
http://timelesspints.com/events/timeless-pints-holiday-party/

Ring in the holidays with craft beer, ugly sweaters, live music, food, and more this Saturday at Timeless Pints in Lakewood, free to attend.

Toys For Tots OC Punk Show
6:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 19
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/438866096318664/

Lots of great local punk bands will perform at the Doll Hut in Anaheim this Saturday night. The cover for this show costs $10 or an unwrapped toy valued at $10 or more. No one under 21 may enter.

The Vandals 20th Annual Christmas Formal
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 19
House of Blues, Anaheim
http://www.houseofblues.com/anaheim/events/eventdetail/?viewNav=/event-detail&eventId=09004F52D42D1C36

The Vandals headline their annual all-ages Christmas show at the House of Blues in Anaheim this Saturday night. Tickets cost $20. Guests can park for free for up to five hours, so plan your arrival accordingly.

Chaos For X-Mas
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 19
Old Towne Pub, Pasadena
http://www.facebook.com/events/515453028621517/

Rock out to some great punk rock this Saturday night in Pasadena. The cover for this show costs $6. No one under 21 may enter.

Victory At Sea Day 2015
9:00 am – 9:00 pm, December 20
All Ballast Point locations, San Diego
http://www.ballastpoint.com/events/victory-at-sea/

Ballast Point releases their coveted porter, Victory At Sea, this Sunday to the public. At each of their locations throughout San Diego County, Ballast Point will have Victory At Sea for you to taste. Admission to each location will cost $30 and comes with five 4oz tasters, a souvenir glass, and a bomber of their limited edition coffee-only Victory At Sea. In addition, nearly every other beer bar and restaurant across the nation will have Victory At Sea specials, so check in with your favorite craft beer establishment if you cannot make it down to San Diego this Sunday.

44th Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm, December 20
San Diego Bay, San Diego/Coronado
http://www.sdparadeoflights.org/

Enjoy a free Christmas boat parade along San Diego Bay this Sunday evening.

The 33rd Annual Belmont Shore Christmas Parade took over 2nd Street this past Saturday night. At this free all-ages event, dozens of businesses and organizations hosted floats or marching groups in a parade for the holidays. This parade allows locals to recognize the prominent figures and organizations of Long Beach, such as Mayor Robert Garcia and SoCal Corgi Nation. Originally scheduled to run from 6pm to 9pm, the parade began at the origin at 6pm, while the last group of the parade reached the end at 9pm; thus, the parade technically lasted two hours for those remaining in one location during the entire parade.

This parade marks one of the first of many Christmas parades across the country, with many more in the approaching weeks. In fact, another Christmas parade happens two weeks after this one – the Naples Island Holiday Boat Parade takes place on the night of Saturday, December 12th. In addition to this boat parade, spectators typically walk around the canals of Naples Island, gazing at all the Christmas lights and decorations following the parade. Anyone looking to spend some time with friends and/or family should not miss this next parade. Until then, plenty of other Christmas parades will take place for your enjoyment. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures I took at the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade last Saturday night.

Following up on the ravishing success of their Bacon Festival this past August, Big Bite Events returned this past weekend with a brand new event, the 1st Annual Big Bite Sugar Rush. Although not as large as the aforementioned festival, this dessert festival still managed to draw enough attention that all the attendees and vendors consistently had something to do. Taking place in one of the hangars at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, this festival pulled together dozens of some of Southern California’s top dessert businesses ranging from pastry chefs to caterers to retailers and more. About half of the vendors delivered copious amounts of sweet samples for visitors to munch on as the visitors strolled up and down the aisles gazing upon all the sugary goodness. To keep the attendees occupied throughout the day, some demos and seminars took place for those who desire to learn about creating desserts at home. To spread out the amount of attendees, Big Bite Events held this dessert festival across two days.

Anyone who did research on this event may discover an angry mob of reviews of this organization’s historical events. Excluding the last bacon festival, at least for the past three years’ worth of Big Bite Events’ festivals, too many things went wrong that no one thought that Big Bite Events could rectify their flagship event. Without going into too much detail, major issues involved the steep admission price, parking fees, long lines, low food quality, lack of food, food not fully cooked or heated, meager sample portions, too few vendors, lack of accessible water, and no crowd control. All of these factors over the past few years contributed to bad press for Big Bite Events. This past year, they flipped it around with the Bacon Festival (linked above) that actually managed to operate well, and that organization has carried over to Sugar Rush.

Much like the improvements of their bacon festival, Big Bite Events delivered a dessert festival that surely would please anyone attending. The amount of attendees compared to vendors matched perfectly, as no vendor ever had a long line, and no one had any trouble navigating through the event space. Fortunately, none of the vendors ever ran out of samples either, even with the vendors encouraging attendees to sample as much as they would like. Sugar Rush had a reasonable admission fee too: $10 for general admission, or $20 for VIP that included early admission, a goodie bag, access to a VIP area, and a complimentary alcohol & chocolate pairing. I believe that if Big Bite Events wanted to truly put a “cherry on top” they should have included a free pair of tickets to next year’s OC Fair.

While the Big Bite Events suffered from bad press in the past few years, I believe this year’s two festivals may help to bring them back into good standing. We all hope that they learned from their past mistakes and use this year’s festivals’ overall success to deliver quality events in the future. If you seek out more food & drink goodness, make sure you check out Big Bite Events on Facebook and Twitter for updates regarding future events.