Posts Tagged ‘Oak Canyon’

Orange County’s largest Irish cultural festival returned for its 38th annual run this past Father’s Day weekend at Oak Canyon Park out in the hills of Irvine. This festival celebrates Irish culture by throwing together thousands of traditional Irish step dancers, a handful of Celtic bands, lots of characters, and more vendors than you can shake a clover at. First-time visitors to this fair may feel overwhelmed at all the activities available – after all, they call it the BIG Irish Fair for a good reason. Luckily, this fair takes place on two consecutive days, allowing guests to select which day they want to explore this fair. The event staff provides a map of the fair, as long as guests can read it and get past the immediate wave of vendors upon walking in through the front gate.

Once past the initial wave of vendors, guests will find a Fish & Chips booth and the Sean Baun’s Stage, complete with its own lineup of Celtic bands.

Continuing onwards past the stage and the lake places guests out in a wide field with many more things to see and do. One of the exhibits out here features Irish automobiles, including real DeLoreans.

Guests would find animals to the right of the automobiles. The animals including herding border collies and the sheep herd, and Irish wolfhounds.

On the other side of the automobiles, the Emerald Bowl sat under the shade of the big tree. This stage’s lineup included more of the younger, modern Celtic bands that carried more modern rock sounds, such as a Celtic reggae band, and a handful of Irish punk bands.

Down at the far end of the fair, guests will find three shaded stages housing the Irish step dancing competitions, where girls display their precision and grace with their fluid and bouncing movements.

Immediately adjacent to the step dancing area lies the football field. Throughout the day, teams would appear on the field to play rounds of football (soccer) or Gaelic football (offshoot of rugby).

Following a counter-clockwise route from the entrance after the athletic fields, the Innisfree Pavilion allows guests to observe and participate in reenactments of traditional Irish life, including demos on playing with Irish musical instruments.

In this back area, guests could purchase some of the art on display randomly throughout the fair.

Continuing full-circle, we now return to the front of the fair on the left side of the entrance, where more vendors set up shop.

Completing the circle tour of the fair, we end up at the Shamrock Bowl, where the traditional Celtic bands played to large crowds all weekend.

At random points during the fair, bagpipe bands would march and play around the fair, each representing a different squad/team.

The Big Irish Fair hosted its own Rose of Tralee pageant, but had already selected their Rose of Tralee prior to the fair. Think of the Rose of Tralee like an Irish version of Miss America, because the organization selects a young woman with the beauty and brains to represent their organization for a year.

The Big Irish Fair has now completed its 38th year running, operating very similarly to how they did many years ago. Of note, they use traditional means of marketing and advertising the fair. Today, the new generation uses a lot of internet and social media to get word of events out to the public, as well as publications like local newspapers or magazines. In the past few years I have attended the Irish Fair, I barely discovered any form of marketing – I personally originally discovered it through word of mouth. Speaking of the past few years, very little has changed as far as structure and activities. If you attended the Irish Fair many years ago, you would not miss a lot in the recent years of the fair. Also, for an Irish Fair, the fair did not sell Irish food, or at least American Irish food. One booth sold Fish & Chips, but at a quality like a county or state fair, meaning mostly fried with little regard to the quality of the fish and chips. Another booth posted a Corned Beer & Cabbage sign; however, that booth lied with the sign because they sold corned beef sandwiches that contained so little meat. For a true corned beef sandwich, head to Roscoe’s Deli in Fullerton, where they pile on over a pound of meat on your sandwich. In the end, first or second time visitors to the fair will enjoy it, especially if you attend with friends and/or family. But as the fair barely changes year after year, attending more than two years in the row yields less excitement. If you have not gone, then I certainly recommend attending next year. If you already have attended, spread the word out to your friends and family. For such a low price to enter, any new attendee will easily get his or her money’s worth.

The largest Irish festival in Orange County returns this weekend for its 38th year running. The BIG Irish Fair comes to Oak Canyon Park this Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7pm both days, delivering two days’ worth of Irish fun in the sun, filled with many activities, live entertainment, animals, merchandise, vehicles, food, drinks, kids’ activities, games, and much more. Just to name a few of the things guests will experience at the Irish Fair:

  • Spectate thousands of Irish dancers participating in numerous competitions at the various stages at the far end of the festival.
  • Listen and dance to dozens of live Celtic bands, including the Irish Ska Pirate band California Celts.
  • Watch marching bands compete for best in show, with plenty of bagpipes to go around.
  • Pet lots of animals from Ireland, such as sheep, border collies, and more.
  • Gasp in amazement at the athletic feats of the sports competitions in the far field across from the entrance.
  • Stroll through reenactments of older times in the countryside of Ireland.
  • Cheer for all the participating individuals in the grand parade, including the Rose of Tralee.
  • Peer at the Irish vehicles, including real DeLoreans like the one from Back To The Future.
  • Taste the Irish culture with authentic Irish food, such as bangers.
  • Peruse through the various merchandise vendors, selling lots of Irish souvenirs and memorabilia.

The BIG Irish Fair will contain plenty of fun and excitement for the entire family. The festivities run from 10am to 7pm on both Saturday and Sunday. General admission presale costs $15 per adult per day, while a 2-day adult admission costs $22. Seniors and students can enter for $12 each. Kids 12 and under enter for free with a paid adult admission. Until 11:59pm this Thursday, you can purchase general admission tickets for only $8 using this link. Admission will increase by $3 when purchasing at the gate. This festival takes place entirely outdoors, so dress appropriately for hot weather, and apply sunscreen prior to leaving home. The venue does not allow attendees to bring chairs, coolers, canopies, or any other large camping item; however, the park will provide more than enough tables and benches in the shaded areas. If you plan to purchase anything, bring cash, as the vendors cannot accept cards.

The BIG Irish Fair takes place at Oak Canyon Park out in the hills of Irvine. To arrive there, make your way to the 55 Freeway, exit Chapman, and drive east all the way into the hills. You will pass two toll roads and the Irvine Lake Park, before turning left onto Haul Road and following the road from there. If approaching from south of Lake Forest, take El Toro Road all the way into the hills, then at the final split, turn left onto Santiago Canyon Road and drive up this road all the way until Haul Road on the right. Expect to see volunteers receiving cash for parking, which cost $7 last year.

Prior to 2012, the BIG Irish Fair used to take place at Hidden Valley Park, opposite from the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. With the closure of that park, the fair moved to its new home in 2012 at Oak Canyon Park. The activities remained the same between the transmission.

Alkaline Trio @ House of Blues
6:30 pm – 11:30 pm, June 11 – House of Blues, West Hollywood
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 12 – House of Blues, Anaheim

Alkaline Trio currently tours with Bayside and Off With Their Heads, and you can catch them all this week at the House of Blues in West Hollywood and Downtown Disney in Anaheim. Tickets range from $24 to $28 depending on presale price and date, so check both links above to see the prices.

Crawfish Boil
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 13
Beachwood BBQ, Seal Beach

Love crawfish? Head over to Beachwood BBQ this Thursday night for their special Crawfish Boil. This dinner requires no reservations, so simply show up, order crawfish by the pound, and receive your crawfish with a baguette, corn, andouille sausage, and potatoes. Depending on the available taps, your server will recommend some beer pairings for your crawfish dinner.

Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk (Second Thursdays)
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 13
Downtown Los Angeles

This free monthly event takes place over many blocks in Downtown Los Angeles. Many galleries will open late, and some parking lots will contain more art, vendors, food trucks, entertainment, and more. Unless you know business owners, free parking does not exist in Downtown LA, although some meters only operate until 8pm. First-time visitors should attend with someone who has gone here before.

3rd Annual Sugar Rush Los Angeles
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 14
Aesthesia Studios, Culver City

Satisfy your sweet tooth at this dessert & cocktail reception this Friday night in Culver City. Treat yourself to delectable eats and desserts from high-end chefs, along with wine and champagne. Attendees can also bid in a silent auction for various items. The VIP reception starts at 6pm and costs $125 presale or $140 at the door. General admission starts at 7pm and costs $75 presale and $85 at the door.

38th Annual Big Irish Fair & Music Fest
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, June 15-16
Oak Canyon Park, Irvine

Orange County’s largest Irish Fair returns this weekend to Oak Canyon Park in Irvine out in the hills. This family-friendly fair brings Irish culture to one location, where attendees can see over a thousands Irish dancers, dozens of live bands, bagpipe demos, a shepherding show, athletic competitions, cultural reenactments, a parade, and more. Guests should bring cash if they want to purchase any food, drinks, merchandise, accessories, or any other Irish goodie. I suggest avoiding American food, and trying the Irish food that you would not find elsewhere. Admission varies depending on how you want to attend, with general admission costing $15 presale, and discounts available for seniors and students. Until 11:59pm this Thursday, you can purchase general admission tickets for only $8 using this link. Parking last year cost $7, so bring cash for parking too.

2013 Pasadena Chalk Art Festival
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, June 15-16
Paseo Colorado, Pasadena

Watch hundreds of artists create massive works of art on the sidewalks, plus enjoy a classic car show on Father’s Day! Completely free to attend for all ages, attendees will also find live music, arts & crafts, merchandise vendors, food trucks, and more.

4th Annual San Diego Oysterfest
10:30 am – 7:30 pm, June 15
Embarcadero Marina Park North, San Diego

More of a music fest than an oyster fest, this all-day festival in San Diego combines live music, oysters, and beer into one crazy festival. As you enjoy the live music, you can purchase fresh oysters from around the world to snack on, then buy some brews to wash it all down. General admission costs $25 but does NOT include food or drinks. No one under 21 may enter.

6th Annual Chili At The Beach
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, June 15
Downtown Huntington Beach

Got a craving for heat? Satisfy that craving this Saturday in sunny Surf City, as the streets close to traffic for the annual Huntington Beach Chili Cook Off & Salsa Tasting. Free to attend for all ages, this all-in-one street fair covers a massive portion of Downtown Huntington Beach, filled with arts & crafts, food, drinks, merchandise, a kids’ zone, music, and lots of chili and salsa tastings. In order to taste the chili and salsa, guests must purchase tasting tickets for $10 presale or $15 on the day of the fest. As this area gets extremely crowded on this day, I suggest carpooling, taking public transportation, or parking far and walking to downtown.

OC Psycho Punk Fest
4:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 15
Mirror Image Studios, Anaheim

Check out this all-ages punk rock & psychobilly show in Anaheim this Saturday night, featuring 19 bands on two stages. Entry to this show cost $10. This venue does not allow ins & outs, so eat hearty and hydrate well before attending.

Chinatown Summer Nights
5:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 15
Chinatown, Downtown Los Angeles

Have a fun time this summer at Chinatownin Downtown Los Angeles. Free to attend for all ages, this nighttime festival brings together food, music, art, and beer in a multicultural setting. Expect to see food trucks, merchandise, arts & crafts, live music, live DJ’s, a dance floor, a beer garden hosted by Eagle Rock Brewery, and more. Guests can find free street parking on Spring St and the side streets connected to Spring, including College St.

Narcoleptic Youth @ Unit B Studio
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 15
Unit B Studio, Santa Ana

Slam dance, bike, and skateboard to your heart’s content at this punk rock show headlined by Narcoleptic Youth this Saturday night. Admission to this all-ages show cost $10.

Harmful If Swallowed – CD Release Party
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 15
The Roxy Theater, Hollywood

Local punk bands will play at The Roxy this Saturday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $10 presale and $12 at the door.

Agent Orange, Longway, O.C.A., Splntr @ Juke Joint
8:00 pm – 1:30 am, June 15
The Juke Joint, Anaheim

Punk rock legend Agent Orange returns to Orange County to headline this show at the Juke Joint. Admission to this show costs $8 presale and $10 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

2013 Big Bite Bacon Fest
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm, June 16
Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar

Get your pork on this Father’s Day Sunday down in San Diego. Pig out on bacon eats & treats from some of San Diego’s finest chefs and restaurants, and for the adults, sample brews from San Diego’s multitude of micro breweries. As you munch and sip your way through the fest, test your mettle at pig pong, pork ladder toss, bacon bags, dunk a swine, and more games. General admission costs $55 and allows all-access into the Big Bite Bacon Fest and the San Diego County Fair. Upgrade to VIP for $25 more to enter an hour earlier, receive a goodie bag, and gain access to a VIP lounge with a private tasting. Parking costs $10, so bring cash for that. This festival takes place outdoors, so dress appropriately, and apply sunscreen.

The Dirty Little Secrets – Girls On Film
9:30 pm – 11:00 pm, June 16
TRiP, Santa Monica

Catch a sexy burlesque show this Sunday night in Santa Monica, dedicated to women on film. Have cash available for parking and a potential cover charge. No one under 21 may attend.

When one claims the best of anything, people quickly speculate that claim as hogwash. For example, if a product claims to work ten times better than the leading brand, then why does that product not lead the market? Do the testimonials prove anything else, or do the testimonials get bought? The 3rd Annual Orange County Brew Ha Ha arrived at its new location at Oak Canyon Park this past Saturday, living up to its proclamation as “Southern California’s BEST Beer Festival!” Featuring over 40 breweries, 5 food trucks, plenty other food vendors, FREE sodas, live music, games, and more, I assure you that no other beer fest in the past few years in Orange County lives up to the proportions of OC Brew Ha Ha.

The massive venue area contributes the most to the success of OC Brew Ha Ha. Despite the incredulously long VIP line, guests began entering five minutes prior to the fest’s start time. Fortunately, all volunteers and brewery staff knew not to pour until the time began. Upon entering, one can quickly feel overwhelmed trying to figure out where to find what. Oak Canyon Park has much to explore, and OC Brew Ha Ha did not even use the entire park area! (earlier this year, Punk Rock Picnic used the entire park space)

Food trucks at the entrance

Initial view upon entering

One of the many food vendors

The row behind the pond, to the right when entering

Cismontane, one of the local breweries along the back row

The second half of the park

The path to the second half, to the left when entering

At about 2pm, firefighters put on a Scottish music performance, complete with bagpipes and kilts:

With a vast venue, plenty of vendors, a variety of beer & food, entertainment, and more, time flies by for any guest at OC Brew Ha Ha. The average consumer cannot possibly experience everything within the alotted four hours. Just like Disneyland, guests would require a few days to experience it all. In that case, I cannot wait until OC Brew Ha Ha returns next year. You really ought to attend too, so block out the first two Saturdays of September next year, since I do not know which Saturday it will happen on again. No other beer fest in Orange County can top OC Brew Ha Ha, because it triumphs over all.

The Orange County Brew Ha Ha returns for its third iteration this Saturday at its new location, Oak Canyon Park. Benefiting the Local 3631 Firefighters Union, this craft beer festival will feature over 60 different breweries, over 150 different beers, many food trucks, seminars from beer experts, live entertainment, and more. General admission costs $40 and begins at 1pm, while VIP admission costs $55 and begins at 12pm. All beers will cease pouring at 4pm, leaving the final hour to sober up and find food. This year, the organizers have extended the event to include a special Friday night VIP dinner and weekend campsite package – essentially an all-access pass, since this eliminates any risk of getting a DUI.

  • REMEMBER to bring PHOTO ID! Amazingly, many guests think they can enter without showing it to the front security.
  • Look up directions before arriving – cell phones receive no signal as you approach the park.
  • Basic toll-free directions: Get to the 55 freeway, exit Chapman Avenue, then drive east until you reach the lake, where a sign should point out when to turn left into the park.
  • Bring cash for parking. Because of the park’s location, I do not recommend riding a bike or walking, although you may get dropped off.
  • Food come at a separate cost, so anyone wanting to eat should arrive with extra cash. Click here for a list of attending restaurants and food trucks.
  • If you see that it has no signal, just turn off your cell phone during the fest. Smartphones can enter Airplane Mode instead.
  • Though the park contains many trees, consider applying sunscreen, and have extra sunscreen available. Security will not confiscate sunscreen from you.
  • For prolonged drinking, start with lighter beers and work your way to stronger beers. Click here for a list of attending breweries.
  • Try to hold on to your beer glass – guests receive no replacement for lost or broken glasses.
  • All beers stop pouring at 4pm. An extra grace hour will allow guests time to sober up and find food before leaving.
  • Oak Canyon Park only has two exits: one back towards Orange, the other through the mountains leading of Rancho Santa Margarita. Police WILL patrol both roads leaving the park!

Check out these pictures from last year’s OC Brew Ha Ha: