In colder parts of the nation, the seasons are marked by weather changes that can sometimes be severe. Around Orange County homes, winter tends to merge imperceptibly into spring, even with our recent rains providing some much-welcomed variety. Still, it is nice to herald the end of slightly cooler temperatures and the arrival of colorful blooms with these upcoming festivals.
Tet Festival (Jan 27-29)
To celebrate the lunar Chinese New Year, the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California are holding their 36th annual Tet Festival at the Orange Fairgrounds. A cultural village will simulate the charms of the Southeast Asian nation while booths serve all kinds of delicious food and sell items both beautiful and practical. Performances and contests include the Miss Vietnam of Southern California Pageant and a dragon dance or two.
Festival of Human Abilities (Jan 28-29)
For this weekend, the most interesting specimens at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach will be land-based as the Festival of Human Abilities showcases the talents of people with disabilities. Among the performances are a choir, hip-hop wheelchair dances, and underwater adaptive dives. Look for art displays and service animal demonstrations.
Surf City Marathon (Feb. 5)
There’s no better way to welcome fairer weather than with a Huntington Beach run by the “longest stretch of uninterrupted beachfront on the West Coast.” Advanced registration is essential if you want to join the thousands of athletes. You’re welcome to tackle the half or full marathon. All participants get long-sleeve shirts while finishers receive surfboard medals. The event caps a three-day lifestyle expo that runs from Feb. 3 to Feb. 5. Enjoy the great weather, along with entertainment and a beer garden. Plenty of free parking and shuttles to the event will be available. Local bars and restaurants offer discounts to those with race medals or bibs.
Laguna Beach Music Festival (Feb. 8-12)
With all the performances happening indoors at the Laguna Playhouse, this festival brings classical and contemporary acts like The Calder Quartet, sound artist Stephanie Cheng Smith, and cellist Johannes Moser. If you’d like a taste of the music without spending any money, attend the free public rehearsal by Moser and the Calder Quartet from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 11. Special performances will also be held for seniors, students, and visitors to the Laguna Art Museum.
ScotsFestival and International Highland Games (Feb. 18-19)
At the Queen Mary in Long Beach, you can take a trip to the ship’s birthplace, Scotland, during this weekend celebration. Cultural activities include dancing, entertainment and food. You can even try a taste of whiskey and craft beer. Wear your best kilts so you can move to traditional dances like the Highland Fling or get crazy with the best Scottish Rock bands at Rock Yer Kilt on Feb. 13. There’s still time to register for competitions such as the Caber Toss, Hammer Throw, and Darts. Kids can have fun with wee athletics like potato sack races, tug of war and archery.
African American Festival (Feb. 25-26)
At the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, the African American Festival celebrates both African and African-American cultures with entertainment, handmade craft displays, and art. Enjoy traditional West African storytelling, drum circles, Mardi Gras second-line dancers, jazz musicians, and break dancers. Plenty of ethnic food will also be yours for the tasting.
If you want to know more about celebrating the passing of seasons in your own home in one of our neighborhoods, please contact us.