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Holiday Events in Orange County

Posted on November 1, 2017 | 3:22pm

Celebrate the Season with Holiday Events around Orange County

ABT's The Nutcracker Snowflakes photo by Gene Schiavone

 

Have you already filled your calendar with holiday events? Or does the word ‘holiday’ make you cringe and you can’t believe it’s that time of year again? So often the holidays are hectic, even stressful, and the thought of preparing a feast for a dozen people (or more) may be a bit daunting. If kids are involved, they will likely be out of school for a few weeks and looking for holiday events to keep busy? No matter what your mindset this time of year, the signs are everywhere…the holidays are upon us!

 

To help you plan for an enjoyable holiday season, whether it be with extended family, friends or just your immediate group of close pals, Costa Mesa has a lineup of holiday events and dining experiences to help you make the best of America’s biggest feasting holidays, along with activities and entertainment to get you in the holiday spirit. And, it’s easy to get to Costa Mesa by car, plane or train.

 

Argyros Plaza in Costa Mesa

 

Take a Break and a Weekend Escape

We’re not suggesting you skip out on the holidays, unless you want to, but with a few school and work holidays here and there, why not take a break from the norm and get away for a few days this holiday season? Costa Mesa has some of the best shopping in the world at South Coast Plaza. With 250 stores ranging from designer boutiques to department stores, it’s the perfect place to cross a few things off your list. Or, treat yourself to a little something, because we all deserve to indulge in ourselves once in a while. With a full calendar of holiday events scheduled at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, its the perfect time to experience all that Costa Mesa and The City of the Arts™ has to offer.

 

marriott pool costa mesa

Costa Mesa’s wide variety of hotel brands including Westin, Hilton, Holiday Inn and Marriott are ready to welcome you with special Costa Mesa hotel deals.

 

Something Rotten at Segerstrom Center for the Arts Costa Mesa

 

Tango Party on the Plaza and Broadway Season Begins November 7

With the recent opening of the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, there are activities and entertainment most every night of the week in Orange County’s theater district. Kicking off the Broadway Season, Something Rotten! begins a two-week run on November 7. Pre-show activities will take place beginning at 6:30 p.m. and are free to the community, as well as theatergoers. Experience Center 360 Café and enjoy activities like free Tango Lessons and lively theatrical performances on The Argyros Plaza from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. A full schedule of pre-show and theater performances at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is now available, including Journey to Oz, The Nutcracker and Mannheim Steamroller.

 

 

VETERANS DAY WEEKEND EVENTS

 

The annual Sugar Plum Arts & Craft Festival returns to Costa Mesa November 9 through 11. This is a great place to start shopping for holiday decorations and unique gifts for friends and family. Kick off a long weekend in Costa Mesa browsing hundreds of holiday-themed booths at OC Fair & Event Center!

ARTventure, November 10 and 11

A two-day juried exhibition of art, ARTventure, makes its third annual appearance at Design Within Reach at SOCO and The OC Mix in Costa Mesa. ARTventure is a fusion of the arts and entertainment, showcasing the work of local Orange County artists. ARTVenture brings true meaning to the reason Costa Mesa is the “City of the Arts.” The artwork will be displayed in a state-of-the-art showroom and will be paired with live entertainment in musical, theatrical, literary and culinary form. Participants in this event include Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Bistro Papillote, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, Costa Mesa Ceramics, Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, Farrow and Ball and Inspired Art & Wine.

 

Whether you’re an artist yourself or a patron of the arts, all creative minds are welcome. This two-day event makes for a great opportunity to stay and play in Costa Mesa for the long Veterans Day weekend. A special discount for ARTventure attendees is available through the Hilton Costa Mesa. Or stay two-nights and receive $100 certificate to shop at South Coast Plaza.

 

 

Veterans Day image

Salute to our Veterans: Veterans Day, November 11

 

The 2nd Annual Center Salutes our Veterans will take place in the new Julianne and George Argyros Plaza at Segerstrom Center for the Arts beginning at 10:45 a.m. A presentation of colors and the National Anthem will kick of the family celebration, at 10:45 a.m. Then, the community is invited to help create care packages for active military, while listening to the sounds LA Muses, The Fresh Rhythm, Patriot Band Ensemble and listen to stories from veterans. Food and drinks are available onsite at the new Center 360 Café and the event goes until 2 p.m.

 

 

A free family event to honor the veterans and heroes is scheduled to take place at Heroes Hall at OC Fair & Event Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 11. Visitors can explore a Vietnam-era helicopter; military vehicles and more than 70 exhibit booths. A complimentary lunch for all attendees is included along with entertainment such as military reenactments, the Swing Cats band with swing dancers and the Pacific Symphony Brass Quintet and more. Get the kids involved on this important holiday with a special postcard project and donating goods for a food drive. Heroes Hall is also featuring a new exhibit titled ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ by Kimberly Millett.

 

 

 

To start the celebration of the 2017 holiday season, South Coast Plaza will light its 96-foot fir tree at Town Center Park (across from The Westin South Coast Plaza) at 6:30 p.m. on November 16. Enjoy a musical performance by Orange County’s School of the Arts, a visit with Santa and refreshments. Stay through the weekend and take in a Broadway show at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, enjoy dinner at nearby uber-hot Spanish restaurant Vaca by “Top Chef” alum Amar Santana, and enjoy pre-show entertainment in the arts plaza.

 

Holiday Performances and Snowfall on The Argyros Plaza

A month-long performance of A Christmas Carol begins the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 24, at South Coast Repertory. A week later, a magical Nutcracker comes alive inside Segerstrom Hall, and forecasters are predicting snow on The Argyros Plaza as the sights and sounds of holiday traditions come to Segerstrom Center for the Arts in a Holidays Around the World celebration from December 7 – 17.

Costa Mesa holiday home

 

Costa Mesa Home Tour

The 4th Annual Costa Mesa Home Tour takes place on Thursday, December 7 from 3-7 p.m. Guests on the tour will visit homes throughout Costa Mesa that are decorated for the holidays by some of the top Orange County designers. Following the tour, enjoy a reception with musical performances and holiday shopping at Pottery Barn in South Coast Plaza. Tickets for this annual event help support Arts & Science education and Heroes Hall, Orange County’s only veterans museum.

Veterans, military families, first responders & teachers can buy one ticket and receive an additional ticket at no cost.

 

The Westin South Coast Plaza Tree Lighting

  

Reindeer Sightings and Visits with Santa

All during this time, California’s largest shopping destination, South Coast Plaza, transforms into a winter wonderland to embrace the avid holiday shoppers and enhance the experience for visitors. Children will love the opportunity to ride a reindeer on the holiday carousel; visit Santa’s Workshop and capture some photos with the beautiful wintery backdrop of mountains and snow created inside South Coast Plaza.

 

Spend a few days in Costa Mesa and make lasting holiday memories. See the full calendar of events with entertainment for couples, friends and families.

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Posted in Misc

The OC Fair is Here! An Annual Costa Mesa Festival, With Concerts and Events Galore

Posted on July 14, 2017 | 1:18pm

With more than a million visitors to the OC Fair each year, visitors probably all have a slightly different take on how they approach this beloved Costa Mesa festival, the second largest in Southern California and one of the Top 10 in the United States. And it’s definitely one of the top Costa Mesa events for a month every summer!

 

“Farm Fresh Fun” is the theme for the OC Fair in 2017, and that about sums up how you might approach your experience. From tasting all the amazing fair food to exploring fresh produce and newborn animals in Centennial Farm, to the attractions and live Costa Mesa concerts, there is plenty of Farm, Fresh AND Fun to experience.

RIDES

Start your visit with a ride high above the OC Fair on the Sky Ride. An aerial tram that flies over the length of the Fairgrounds and back, the Sky Ride gives you a perfect overview of the OC Fair and a great way to see it all and navigate your fair strategy for the day. You’ll enjoy a nice breeze as you soar high above the visitors, you might even see an arena show underway, and you’ll definitely see the exhilarating rides in the midway area.

 

New this year to the OC Fair is La Grande Wheel XL, one of the largest observation wheels in the Western Hemisphere. See this beautiful Ferris wheel at night lit up with a glow that can be seen for miles. This is another great way to see the whole Orange County Fair from one vantage point. If you’ve already spent a few hours traversing the Fairgrounds, a ride on La Grande Wheel XL is a perfect way to give your feet a break without missing out on all the fun…and this year, your car will be air conditioned for a nice break from that hot SoCal summer sun. Fairgoers looking for a bit more of a rush can strap-in on Endeavor and experience 3G- acceleration.

COSTA MESA CONCERTS AND FREE ENTERTAINMENT

The opportunities to be amused and entertained at the Fair are endless! Pacific Amphitheatre, right on the OC Fairgrounds, is one of the best places to see an Orange County concert. This venue seats just 8,000 people, which means every seat in the outdoor amphitheater is a good one. This year’s lineup includes comedian Gabriel Iglesias, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the B-52s, Jake Owen, Michael McDonald and many others. An even more intimate space to see a local concert is The Hangar, with tribute bands performing nightly during the OC Fair.

 

All of the arenas and stages offer lively entertainment throughout the day and evening, from the jaw-dropping Peking Acrobats to the always-entertaining hypnotist (audience participation required) and Demolition Derby. An all-time favorite is the All Alaskan Racing Pigs, where eight pigs will race their little tails to the finish line. Grab a seat in the corral and watch the little piggies hustle!

 

Get your reality TV fix in person. On select days throughout the course of the Fair, chefs like Stéphane Tréand of Costa Mesa’s ST Patisserie Chocolat will showcase his talents creating delicate chocolate sculptures so beautiful, you almost won’t want to eat them. On July 27, the winner of Food Network’s “Chopped Jr.” in 2016, 14-year-old Mason Partak will once again put his skills to the test by competing live in a culinary competition with Chef Tréand. A full lineup of culinary demonstrations and intense competitions are planned and sure to make for great entertainment.

OC FAIR FOOD

Get a snack before a show, like a pie-sized soft pretzel, or wood-fired corn on the cob dressed with some mayo (or butter if you prefer), lemon juice and cayenne pepper for a kick.

 

Dinner or lunch options include burgers, tacos and a larger-than-usual handheld turkey leg, but there’s so much more. Having received accolades for creating the most unique fried items, it’s worth stopping by Chicken Charlie’s. Try the sample platter of mushrooms, artichokes and zucchini, deep-fried and served with ranch. Great way to get your daily serving of veggies! Or, go for the cheese curds – deep-fried and all. Plus each year, the OC Fair gives us something new try – like a hearty 5 lb. barbecued pig leg, or the Unicorn Pineapple Bomb that will have all the kids (and maybe adults) giddy about this tasty drink served in a pineapple garnished with rainbow candies!

 

The folks at the Fair know how good their food is, and they want you to try it all. So they created a sample size of many of the Fair foods – think fried, wrapped in bacon, or sprinkles of sugar on top. Every Thursday from noon to 4 p.m., samples of select Fair food are available for just $3.00.

 

Wine tasting with Orange County’s Wine Society gives you the opportunity to taste the best California wines from the 30,000 California wines entered into the OC Fair competition. Make this a stop on your journey through the Fair and enjoy a glass of wine with cheese and crackers. If you’re visiting on a weekend, check out the wine seminars. Sit back, sip and enjoy live music from the surrounding stages.

 

EXPLORE THE AWARD-WINNING FAIR EXHIBITS

DIY Inspiration can be found throughout the Fair, where Pinterest comes to life right in front of you. Find formal table settings, to award-winning jams and jellies and this year, some of the best brewers will have their craft beer blends on display.

 

And, if you’re a collector, or want to see someone else’s interesting collection, head over to the Centennial Farm area (inside adjacent to the award-winning produce display) and you’ll find collections of stamps, stuffed animals (think Ty Beanie Babies), Disney items, antique dolls and more.

PLAN YOUR VISIT AND MAKE A WEEKEND STAY OUT OF IT

With so much to do, there’s not enough time, but for 23 days this summer, you can return to the OC Fair to experience all it has to offer. You can always extend your stay in Costa Mesa to get the most out of the Fair, take a break at one of the nearby hotels, cool off and take a swim, or head to the beach for a day of relaxation.

 

OC Fair Admission is $12 during the week and $14 per person on the weekend. But there are also many ways to get discounts to the fair. A few of them are listed below.

Veterans and active-duty military personnel – Admission is always free with ID and their guests can purchase up to six half-price tickets.

We Care Wednesday – Get free admission and one free carnival ride when you donate items to select local nonprofits between noon and 3 p.m.

Kids Day – Each Thursday, children 12 and under get in free all day.

Best Deal Ever – On Saturdays and Sundays (from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Fairgoers can take advantage of half-price admission and carnival rides for half the usual number of tickets.

We hope to see you experience some good ‘ol “Farm, Fresh, Fun” this summer in Costa Mesa!

What ride, concert or event are you most excited to see?

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Posted in Events, Food, Locals, Misc, Music & Art, Play