Posts Tagged ‘Free’

Many fandom events have occurred recently in Southern California. The term “fandom” refers to a broad range of pop culture interests and hobbies, from comics to video games to anime/manga and more. The most popular ones cost the most to get in, but a lot of smaller ones often do not cost much, if not completely free, to attend, and more often than not the smaller ones still attract a huge crowd, such as as Coast Con 2017. Hosted by Anime Academia, an organization of Orange Coast College, Coast Con represents a locally-run community event around all things anime, manga, and video games. Taking place this past Saturday from 12pm to 8pm, this free and all-ages event attracted hundreds of fans of anime, manga, and video games to this quaint gathering for a fun day of mixing and mingling. Visitors would find artists, merchandise, live entertainment, cosplay contests, video game booths, a maid café, and more.

While it may not have the abundant amount of content that larger conventions and expos would have, Coast Con still had enough content to keep visitors occupied for a few hours. The Student Center acted as the hub of the event, containing a check-in table, lots of vendors, and the maid café. Directly outside in the maid quad, more artists and vendors set up along the center aisle. Going past this aisle, we find the classrooms that had the event’s programming, which included the video game stations and anime viewing rooms. Walking down from the main quad to the Moore Theatre brought us to the main stage where they held the cosplay contests. I only stuck around for the main cosplay contest that had everyone strut their stuff for the audience, and boy did a lot of people dress up for such a low-key event. This goes to show the dedication that these cosplayers have towards their interests.

While Anime Academia exists as a college organization, they often put on events open to the public. Check out Anime Academia on Facebook to see what other events they have planned that you can attend.

The craft beer scene in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County has surged quite a bit in the past year or two, and the scene will continue to experience rapid growth for an indefinite amount of time. This trend saw another spike this past Saturday when Absolution Brewing Company celebrated their third anniversary. Located across the ExxonMobil Refinery from the Torrance microbrewery core (which consists of Smog City Brewing and Monkish Brewing), Absolution Brewing represents another fine member of the South Bay craft beer collective. While they may not yet appear as widespread as Smog City or Monkish, the brews of Absolution live up to the expectations of any brewery from the South Bay.

At their third anniversary celebration, guests could still enter the tasting room and order beers right off the menu. To add to the celebration, Absolution employed a handful of additions, which included cask ales, games, mobile food vendors, and live music. Guests could still purchase beers as normal at the counter, but to those looking for a festival experience, Absolution offered just that in the form of beer packages. A general package cost $25 and came with three full beer pours, a souvenir glass, and one meal ticket from the food vendors. The VIP experience took place from 11am to 1pm, which consisted of unlimited beer pours for those two hours, plus everything that the $25 package gets.

Expect lots of hype and excitement from the South Bay in the upcoming weeks. This upcoming Saturday, Phantom Carriage in Carson will celebrate their second anniversary. The following weekend, Redondo Beach’s King Harbor Brewing Company will celebrate their third anniversary as well. The Monkish anniversary already happened the previous week, but one can expect that Smog City should have an anniversary event before summer starts. Regardless, one cannot go wrong with breweries in the South Bay, so head on over and check out some breweries!

Some of California’s strongest athletes will compete in a strongman competition this Saturday morning in Huntington Beach as part of the 15th Annual California’s Strongest Man Contest. Taking place in a parking lot just east of Jack’s Concession Stand at Huntington State Beach, this competition allows visitors of all ages to spectate these weightlifting feats for free, as the competitors exhibit their strength and finesse among five different lifting rounds. While most of the competitors represent various lifting and/or barbell clubs or organizations, the contest still allows independent athletes to compete. Competitors will exhibit their athletic ability in the following events:

  1. Log clean & press: a power clean followed by a press/jerk using a log, barbell, or dumbbell
  2. Keg toss: throw a weighted keg over a high bar
  3. Farmer’s carry: hold onto two weights and move it over a distance
  4. Tire flip: flip heavy tires a set amount of times
  5. Atlas Stones: picking up a heavy Atlas Stone and lifting it over a hurdle

The event runs starting at 9:30am and goes until about 2:30pm. Its exact location resides in the parking lot across Pacific Coast Highway from the Waterfront Beach Resort. The closest free parking lies on Atlanta Avenue and the neighborhood north of it. Anyone planning to spectate should have sunscreen applied and prepare for hot weather. Spots to stand around the competition area to spectate operate on a first come first served basis. Spectators can find plenty of food & drink options at Pacific City one block up Pacific Coast Highway.

As of the time of this post, open competitor spots still remain – refer to the website linked above to inquire about registering to compete. For more information regarding this event as well as weightlifting training, check out East Coast/West Coast Strength Speed Conditioning on Facebook, or check out their YouTube for videos that include competitions from previous years.

The Hermosa Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade returned to Downtown Hermosa Beach for its 32nd year running this past Saturday afternoon. Covering the streets of Downtown Hermosa Beach, the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce gives back to the community every year with this local treat that celebrates the local politicians and businesses. Featuring a plethora of local businesses, organizations, and politicians, every participating group represented one part out of the South Bay’s many diverse aspects. From marching bands to local dance crews to community service organizations to servicemen, if it had roots in the South Bay, it had a spot in this parade.

The Los Angeles Lantern Festival returned for its 16th year running this past Saturday afternoon. Taking place at the Chinese American Museum in El Pueblo between Downtown LA and Chinatown, this free and all-ages event celebrates Chinese culture and the turn of the new year with arts & crafts, music, dance, activities, exhibits, photography, and more. While the event did not cause any street closures, it functioned similarly to a street fair with the vendors, lanterns at night, lion dance, and illuminations at night. The Chinese American Museum allowed visitors to tour the museum for free during this event too. Aside from all that, this event did not have much else to do for adults not interested in the arts. For those with children, this made for a fun afternoon activity to keep the little ones occupied.

The Chinese American Museum routinely has free events such as the LA Lantern Festival taking place at their location in Downtown LA. Check out their website, and keep up with them on Facebook and Twitter to see what else they have going on.

The Los Angeles Art Book Fair returned to the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles this past weekend for its fifth consecutive year running. Free to attend for all ages, this massive event hosted by Printed Matter attracted thousands of art and literature enthusiasts from all over to come check out the hundreds of writers and artists exhibiting their works here. As far as the types of art found here, visitors would only find print and canvas works. However, this fair possessed more than enough eye candy for anyone interested in the arts. The diversity of genres covered here would appeal to anyone, young or old, classic or modern. From paintings to photography to books to magazines, this fair had it all, and visitors could purchase any of it to take home.

As a free and all-ages event, this makes for a great event to check out with friends and family. Make sure you bookmark the LA Art Book Fair for next year to visit, which comes back some time around late February to early March.

Despite a little wet weather, the Crave Expo went on as planned this past Sunday afternoon at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim. The Crave Expo represents a gathering of food vendors all in one spot for attendees of all ages to check out and dine from. The organizers originally set this up as a ticketed event costing $5 presale or $10 at the gate per person; however, with the weather forecast showing rain all weekend, the organizers decided to nix the admission fee and allow people in for free as long as they preregister; otherwise it would still cost people $10 to enter if they just show up. Once inside, attendees gained access to all the vendors and could eat from whichever they chose. Basically, think of this as a food court, since attendees still needed to pay for any food or drink they wished to consume.

When I first heard about this event, it immediately appeared to me as a food truck fest. Remember food truck fests from 2010-2012? You paid some crazy amount of money to get in, then had to pay again for food. Once people realized that you could visit these food trucks elsewhere for free, people stopped going to food truck fests. Instead, people opted to go to weekly food truck gatherings, or the monthly ones such as First Fridays. Undaunted, I waltzed in to Crave Expo with a little over $40 in cash and checked out what they had to offer. Not surprisingly, I had seen most of these vendors before, either at other similar food events such as Artisanal LA or OC Night Market, or at local food truck gatherings such as Street Food Tuesday. Regardless, I did not want to walk away on an empty stomach. By the time I left, I had over $10 in my wallet.

I do anticipate that Crave Expo will return again in the future, but I advise to keep an open mind about how this event works. Remember that you can indeed find and visit most of these mobile food vendors elsewhere for free, thus avoiding paying for some sort of admission fee just to visit a food truck. Stay active with the local food truck scene by following your favorite food trucks on Twitter, and you will get to visit lots of them without needing to go to another “food truck fest” for some fee.