Category: Family fun

One Big Party

One Big Party_Project Refined Life

It’s “One Big Party” for the 2015 OC Fair, July 17-August 16, as it celebrates its 125th anniversary with 23 days of food, rides, shopping, exhibits and animals. Enjoy world-renowned performers in the Pacific Amphitheatre and exciting events in The Hangar and Action Sports Arena.

One of things I love about the fair is the opportunity for learning. Centennial Farm & Agricultural Exhibits offer some fantastic options. The Centennial Farm at the OC Fair & Event Center is a year-round demonstration farm dedicated to agricultural education and highlights California’s rich agricultural heritage. During the OC Fair, Fairgoers can peruse four acres of raised crop beds and livestock pens (cattle, goats, sheep, chicks, rabbits and pigs) and see the diversity of California agriculture.

Fairgoers can also expect a litter or more of piglets to join the Farm family during the Fair. The Farm is host to various exhibits and demonstrations through the run of Fair. Here’s a brief list of activities, visit the Daily Schedules page or download the OC Fair mobile app for specific dates and times:

  1. Agriculture in the Community: Learn more about how to bloom a green thumb from gardening experts and enthusiasts or get your hands a little dirty in the vermiculture display to see how red worms contribute to a healthy garden.
  2. UCCE Master Gardeners: Gardening and agricultural experts are on-hand to answer questions about their industries daily in the Farm & Garden Pavilion.
  3. Milking Demonstrations: Daily Fairgoers can watch milking demonstrations in the Millennium Barn or check out the interactive milking exhibit where they can try their hand at milking Maxine, the Farm’s stand-in cow replica.
  4. Leather-crafting: Learn to make your own leathercraft from experts in the Millennium Barn daily.
  5. Heifer International: Learn more about what this international organization is doing to help end world hunger by empowering people around the world. Located in the Millennium Barn daily.
  6. Orange County Rare Fruit Growers Association: Check out unusual and exotic fruits and learn more about growing fruit trees. Located southeast of Gallery 15.
  7. OC Beekeepers: Learn from experts what the buzz is all about bees and beekeeping plus check out their observation hive with a colony of live bees. Located southeast of Gallery 15.
  8. Mesa Water & Water-Wise Garden: See how you can grow a beautiful garden that’s water-wise and California-friendly in Mesa Water’s Demonstration Garden located east of Gallery 15. Stop by Wednesday afternoons to learn from Mesa Water representatives on how to grow your own low-water garden at home.
  9. More Exhibitors: The Farm welcomes more exhibitors from these agriculture and gardening groups. Check the Daily Schedules page for their exhibit dates and locations.

In addition kids (and their parents) can enjoy Explorium: Destination Kids: Fairgoers of all ages can enjoy free exhibits, hands-on activities and free entertainment like the Magic of Frank Thurston, Prehistoric Pets and Dino Dig Sandbox. In The Good, The Bad & The Unbelievable exhibit, Fairgoers can see which creepy crawlies fall into the good, bad and unbelievable categories.

Contests just for children are held every other hour and the One Big Party eating contest sponsored by OC Fair food vendors is held nightly at 6:30 p.m. Young Fairgoers can make wooden swords and princess hats in the free craft area, discover new information on outer space and climb aboard a Mars Rover in the new The Space Place exhibit or play with puppets and blocks inspired by the medieval era in The Castle Corner.

We Cae Wednesday
As much as I enjoy the fair I am ALWAYS looking for a good deal. So here are some ways to not only get a discounted admission to the fair but more importantly how you can help contribute to your community and get into the fair for FREE by taking part in We Care Wednesdays.

Here are current promotions being offered:

Discounts are honored during the specified timeframe. Please arrive early to enjoy all promotions. We Care Wednesday donations are accepted at public entrances (Blue Gate, Yellow Gate or Green Gate) during promotion hours. Donations are not be accepted at Gate 5 off Arlington Drive.

Opening Day
Free Opening Hour
FREE admission & parking for everyone
Friday, July 17, Noon-1 pm


Active Military & Veterans: Free admission for active-duty military and veterans with appropriate military ID (DD214, etc.) Not valid for spouses or dependents
Read & Ride: Bookworms ages 5-11 can read 2 books to earn 3 free carnival rides.
Click here to download the book report form.Completed book report forms can be redeemed for ride tickets at the Centennial Farm Information Booth during Fair hours. Tickets are valid July 17-August 16, 2015 only. Official OC Fair Read & Ride Form must be used in order to participate in program.
Super Pass
Enjoy 23 days of Fair fun, food and more with a 2015 OC Fair Super Pass.

JAN. 15 – FEB. 28 MAR. 1 – MAY 31 JUNE 1 – AUG. 14
General (13-59) $25 $30 $35
Senior (60+) $18 $23 $28
Youth (6-12) $18 $23 $28

Buy Now

We Care Wednesdays
We Care Wednesday    Presented by  
FREE admission and one (1) free carnival ride per person each Wednesday with appropriate donation (donation changes weekly.)Acceptance of donated items is at the discretion of the OC Fair. Promotion is limited to one free admission and one free carnival ride per person. Guest must be present with donation to receive free ticket.

 July 22nd Food Drive – Noon-3 pm
FREE admission with donation of 5 cans of food
Second Harvest Food Bank
 July 29th Children’s Book Drive – Noon-3 pm
FREE admission with donation of 3 new or gently used children’s books
Think Together
 August 5th Clothing Drive – Noon-3 pm
FREE admission with donation of 5 new or gently used clothing items
 August 12th School Supply Drive – Noon-3 pm
FREE admission with donation of NEW school supplies valued at $5 or more.Accepted items: pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, notebook paper and school backpacks. Receipt Required.
Share Ourselves

$30 Unlimited Carnival Ride Wristband: Enjoy all the rides you can handle for one price plus 2 free games. (Sold until 5 pm. Valid until 8 pm. Required Fair admission sold separately.)

Kids Day
Children 12 & Under FREE Fair admission All day.
$30 Unlimited Carnival Ride WristbandEnjoy all the rides you like for one price plus 2 free games. (Sold until 5 pm. Valid until 8 pm. Required Fair admission sold separately.)


Seniors Day (60+)$2 discount on Senior admission plus FREE Ferris wheel and merry-go-round rides all day
$2 Taste of Fair Food
Enjoy $2 samples of select Fair treats. Click here for the $2 Taste of Fair Food List.
Valid Noon-4 pm
$2 Rides and $2 Games
Rides and games are only $2 each in the Main Carnival and Kiddie Carnival.
Valid Noon-4 pm
Saturdays & Sundays
Rise & Shine Early admission pricing every weekend of the Fair. $3 general admission for everyone from 10 am – 11 am. Discounted tickets are sold until 11 am and must be use by Noon on the day of purchase
FREE Off-Site Parking (Weekends Only)
Free parking and shuttle service is available on Saturdays and Sundays from the Experian parking structure located off the Bristol Street exit of the 405 Freeway. Follow the signs to “Experian.” The shuttle operates from 10 am-1 am Saturday & Sunday only.

The Fair is open Wednesday-Sunday. Concert tickets, action sports reserved seats, single-day general admission and the popular Super Pass are available for purchase online at or from the on-site Box Office. Free parking and shuttle service are available on Saturdays and Sundays from the Experian parking structure located off the Bristol St. exit of the 405 freeway. Also, download the free OC Fair iPhone and Android apps available this summer.

The OC Fair & Event Center is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, please visit, become a fan at, follow us at or call (714) 708-1500.


Tanaka Farms Watermelon Tours

Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours
Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours – Image from

You can’t have a 4th of July celebration without Watermelon. Why not pick you own watermelon before heading out to your celebration. Tanaka Farms is offering Watermelon tours beginning today and run through August 30, 2015.

The Summer Watermelon Tours begin. Take a guided wagon ride around the farm, stop at different areas and try different summer fruits and vegetables they grow, and finally step into the watermelon patch under a tent to sample some of our delicious home grown watermelon.  Take home a mini watermelon to experience everything all over again. Tours begin at 9:30 every morning

  • Watermelon Tours start and will run at 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm and 1:30pm
  • Strawberry Tours will run 10am, 11am, 12pm, and 1pm.

Tanaka Farms is located at 5380 3/4 University Dr, Irvine, CA.


Summerfest Art Faire

Get Ready….Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary’s 6th annual Summerfest Art Faire is this weekend!

Enjoy Live music, live wolves and reptiles,nature programs, games, children’s crafts, wine tasting and interactive art activities. Artisans will showcase their original works, fine art and handmade crafts will also be available for sale.

Other options include barbecue, opportunity drawings and Santiago Equestrian Center will provide pony rides for $5.

Free parking is available at the corner of Santiago Canyon Road and Modjeska Canyon Road. A shuttle will be available to transport you to the art fair.

In addition OC Parks is offering FREE tours of Madame Helen Modjeska’s home, Arden, will be open for free tours from 12:30pm – 3:30pm. The Summerfest shuttle will stop at Arden.


  • When: Saturday, June 26 – Sunday, June 27 from 10:00am – 4:00pm.

  • Where: Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, 29322 Modjeska Canyon, Silverado, CA 92676

  • Cost: admission is $5 for ages 5+. barbeque and wine tasting are $3.00 – $8.00 

Please leave your pets at home, outside food and drinks are not permitted.



Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours

Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours
Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours – Image from

Looking for something fun to do in the afternoon? Come to Tanaka Farms this week for U-Pick tours and Walk-On Strawberry tours. There are No reservations required  and you only pay for what you pick.

U-Pick Tours:

This FREE, guided wagon ride around the farm, takes between 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours. You’ll be able to pick your own fresh fruits and vegetables in the fields, so be sure to wear closed-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

Vegetable picking is seasonal and based on availability, but U-Pick produce may include:carrots, tomatoes, beets, baby bok choy, lettuce, kale, butternut squash and more. It’s a surprise every day! Pay for what you’ve picked at the end of your tour.

This week tour time are as follows:

  • Monday (6/22) 2:00 pm
  • Tuesday (6/23): 2.00pm
  • Wednesday (6/24): 2:00pm
  • Thursday (6/25): 2:00pm
  • Friday (6/26): 2:00pm

Walk-On Strawberry:

Again, no reservations are required, just arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour. Strawberries are wonderful right now – sweet and juicy and you get to pick them right off the vine! Don’t miss out!

This weeks tour times are as follows:

  • Monday (6/22): 11:00 am and 1:00 pm
  • Tuesday (6/23): 11:00 am and 1:00 pm
  • Wednesday (6/24): 11:00 am and 1:00pm
  • Thursday (6/25) 11:00 am and 1:00 pm
  • Friday (6/26): at 11:00am, 12:00pm, and 1:00pm

Tanaka Farms is located at 5380 3/4 University Dr, Irvine, CA. Come on out for an educational and hands on experience!


Summer Family Workshop

Come celebrate everything summer at the Coastkeeper Garden.

Family enjoying the Caostkeeper Garden

Families are invited to Coast Keepers Garden to welcome in the new season and explore the Garden in search of summer plants and insects.

Create a summer themed craft with your little ones to take home.

  • When: Saturday, June 20, 2015 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am
  • Where: The Coastkeeper Garden is located  next to Santiago Canyon College soccer field –  the entrance is on East Santiago Canyon Road between Newport Ave and Jamboree (see the map)
  • Cost: FREE

A Day at the Adobe


Spend a Day at the Ramon Peralta Adobe Historic Site. Find out what life was like during the Rancho period when the Peralta Adobe was built in the 1870s through fun-filled activities and crafts.

The Ramon Peralta Adobe is located on land that once was part of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. While the Peralta Adobe was not the oldest adobe built in the Santa Ana Canyon, it is the only one still standing in the canyon today.

There will be entertainment for the whole family, including brick making, face painting, a photo booth with background images from the adobe’s past, Rancho period music from the Slackjaw Brothers, crafts and more! Docents will be on hand at this free event to guide you through the adobe and explain what daily life was like in the Santa Ana canyon in the late 19th century.

  • When: Saturday, June 20, 2015 from 10:30 am – 1:30 pm
  • Where: Ramon Peralta Adobe Historic Site, 6398 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road Anaheim, CA 92807
  • Cost: FREE

Garden Beats

oneworldrhythmGarden Beats is hands-on, family friendly, entry-level percussion learning experience is a great way to learn how to connect and communicate through the universal language of rhythm and rhyme.  Come and experience just how fun communal song and drumming can be, and why it’s core to so many cultures throughout the world.

  • When: Sunday, June 21, 2015 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am
  • Where The Great Park, Farm + Food Lab | Map & Directions
  • Cost: Free

This 60 minute, guided, interactive musical exploration session is open to families and individuals of all ages.

This program is produced and presented by the City of Irvine’s Community Services Urban Agricultural Programs Division in collaboration with One World Rhythm.


Parent & Me Time

Parent & Me Time at Shipley Nature Center takes place on Wednesdays at 11:00 am. and the cost is $3.00.

Themes for the rest of the month are:

  • Wednesday, June 17  – Bats
  • Wednesday, June 24 – Walking Stick Bug


June Parent & Me

Shipley Nature Center is located at 17851 Goldenwest Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92647

The primary parking lot is accessible from the south-bound side of Goldenwest, between Slater and Talbert. Additional parking is located in Central Park.


Free Ferris Wheel Rides

Irvine Spectrum Center would like to invite you to the Giant Wheel Grand RE-OPENING! Experience the new state-of-the-art LED light displays and enjoy FREE RIDES from Friday, June 12 through Sunday June 14.

Also, you can enter to win a $100 gift card and be featured on Irvine Spectrum Centers social media pages by snapping a picture of the Giant Wheel from June 12th-14th and tag us on instagram @irvinespectrumcenter and use #SpectrumGiantWheel for your chance to win.

  • When: Friday, June 12, 2015 – Sunday, June 14, 2015
  • Where; Irvine Spectrum – Ferris Wheel, 670 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, CA 92618
  • Cost: FREE

Movies at Latern Bay Park


Enjoy an evening under the stars with the nostalgic feel of a drive-in movie, except with low back beach chairs or a blanket!

Each movie night is FREE and has live pre-movie entertainment beginning at 7:30pm, and the movie starting at approximately 8:00pm. Visit the snack bar to purchase water, sodas, hot chocolate, coffee, candy and snacks. FREE popcorn courtesy of the City of Dana Point.

100% of the proceeds from the snack bar benefits local Dana Point Elementary Schools or non-profit organizations. For more information call the City of Dana Point Community Services & Parks Department at 949-248-3530.

Movie Schedule:

June 5 – Big Hero 6 

June 12 – Mr. Peabody & Sherman 

June 19 – Disney’s Maleficent 

June 26 – Paddington 

Lantern Bay Park is located at: 25111 Park Lantern Road, Dana Point


Insect & Anthropod Zoo

OC Parks presents: Under the Sycamores: Insect and Arthropod Zoo

Dr. Sue Van Vorhis Key, Ph.D. (The Bug Lady) will be at Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park with a zoo full of amazing live insects and other arthropods. From walking sticks to scorpions, kids will be able to look and learn!

Kids will touch an insect, experience an insect scavenger hunt in the shade of the sycamores, make their own insect and complete a life cycle puzzle.

Dr. Sue’s talk about arthropods will be at 2:00 p.m. For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Monday – Friday and (949) 923-2200 on Saturday & Sunday

  • When: Sunday, June 7 2015 from 1:00 – 400 pm
  • Where: Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park Ranger Headquarters, 28373 Alicia Parkway (from southbound Aliso Creek Road, turn right on Alicia Parkway, first right on Awma Road, left into parking lot)
  • Cost: FREE, parking is $3.00 per vehicle
  • Reservations are required

To Register click here.


Tustin Chili Cook-Off

The Tustin Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off will take to the streets of Old Town Tustin on Sunday, June 7, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


The 31st annual event will feature the Chili Cook-Off, craft booths, non-profit food vendors, entertainment, kids area, music and much more. Admission is free.

The Tustin Streeet Fair & Chili Cook-Off is located at: El Camino Real and Main Street, Tustin 92780

[2015 Event Map]


Pick Your Own Strawberries Day

Today from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm could be the final day for the “Pick your own Strawberry” field days of the season at South Coast Farms!!!!!wpid-2015-04-07_08.25.51.jpg

The strawberry fields are enjoying the return to May gray! The associated cool daytime and moderate night time temperatures of our local May gray and June gloom weather pattern create perfect weather for late season berries. The plants are loaded up with red ripe, super sweet, certified organic, never been sprayed strawberries!!!


South Coast Farms is an all certified, all organic farm. They are also are a “no spray” organic farm. They use no sprays on their crops, what so-ever! Not even approved sprays for organic production!  They believe food taste better naked, and I couldn’t agree more!!

wpid-2015-04-07_08.26.57.jpgThe strawberries at South Coast Farms are tasty, sweet and the deepest, reddest strawberries I’ve ever seen.

wpid-2015-04-07_08.38.50.jpgSouth Coast Farms also happens to be the last standing farm in the San Juan Capistrano. In addition to their famous red ripe strawberries, they sell lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, carrots, chard, kale, spinach, spring onions, radish, cucumbers, green beans, squash, parsley, organic eggs and more! I have never seen a head of romaine lettuce that comes comes to the size of theirs, incredible!

The cost is $2.50 per pound. Load up and freeze them these stunning strawberries are delicious! Be sure to ask about their CSA baskets.

Please wear strudy shoes you don’t mind get dirty. Your sandles, flip flops or high heels will not stand up to to the mud in the fields.

South Coast Farms is located at 32701 Alipaz Rd. San Juan Capistrano, CA – right next to the Ecology Center.


Eco Challenge Day


Come out to Irvine’s Bill Barber Park on Saturday, May 30, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. with your e-waste, gently-used clothing, or household goods for Goodwill of OC. The first 100 cars who donate their items will get the chance to choose between a 4-pack of tickets to Discovery Cube or a future Angel’s game! *while supplies last*

After dropping off your donations to Goodwill, stop by the park and join in on the family-fun activities! Former Angels Player Mark Langston will be signing autographs for a limited time and Discovery Cube will be providing children with reusable totes to decorate. We hope to see you there!

Click on this picture below to take the Eco Challenge and download a FREE Child’s admission ticket to Discovery Cube Orange County.

Bill Barber Park is located at 4 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606


Memorial Day at Bill Barber Park

Image from CIty of Irvine Facebook
Image from CIty of Irvine Facebook page

The City of Irvine will host its annual Memorial Day Ceremony to pay tribute to fallen military service members at Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park.

Attendees will have the opportunity to memorialize our troops’ sacrifice by writing a brief remembrance to be posted on a memory board. Cards will also be available for well-wishers to send a message of appreciation and support to Irvine’s adopted 2/11 Marine Battalion.

  • When: Monday, May 25, 2105 from 10:00 am – 11:30 am
  • Where: Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park is located at 4 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine.
  • Cost: Free

Guests are encouraged to park in the lot at Harvard Avenue and San Juan Street.


Strawberry Festival


The 57th Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival will be held Memorial Day Weekend Friday, May 22nd through May 25th at the Village Green between Main and Euclid in downtown Garden Grove.

StrawberryFestivalFestivities will begin Friday, May 22nd at 1:00 p.m, bring the family for games and carnival rides. On Friday at 6:00 p.m. is the grand opening ceremony when the mayor and Miss Garden Grove cut a giant strawberry shortcake and free cake is served to all. Many parade celebrities will also be on hand to greet their fans.

The City’s 5K Run starts on Saturday at 8 a.m. as does the festival’s Celebrity VIP Breakfast at the Community Center which is open to the public. The parade begins at 10 a.m. starting at 9th and Chapman. There Will be floats, equestrians and bands, clowns, TV and film celebrities and 25 veterans and their families since this year’s theme is Honoring Our Returning Veterans.

Image from StrawberryFestivalGardenGrove Facebook page
Image from StrawberryFestivalGardenGrove Facebook page

The Theme Grand Marshal is Lt. Col. Patricia Murray, and the Celebrity Grand Marshal is M*A*S*H* star Sally Kellerman. Many celebrities will remain after the parade to sign autographs. All four days offer 35 new and exciting carnival rides, food, 200 booths and live entertainment plus contests for the Berry, Berry Beautiful Baby, Tiny Tots King and Queen, prettiest redhead and best Karaoke singers.

Strawberry Festival

For a full schedule of events click here.