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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for July 2012

Filed In: Family Friendly

OC Fair Family Pack Giveaway!

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Saturday, Jul 21, 2012

OC Fair Home Sweet Home Enter a comment to win!

Every time I go to the fair I have one or two vivid memories that stick with me forever. I remember that teenage kiss on the Farris Wheel at sunset.  I remember flying though the air on a giant sling shot with my husband as my daughter watched from the ground, afraid her parents would surely die.  I remember when my 5 year old son fell in love at first sight with an over sized stuffed animal and  insisted on throwing darts at balloons to win the object of his affection. I reluctantly gave in, knowing I was throwing away hard earned money and my little son would dissolve into tears when he lost...then POP! POP! POP! He wins the dog and the crowd erupts in applause for the pint sized dart champion.

Orange County is my Home Sweet Home and the OC Fair always provides wonderful family memories.  I asked my son his favorite memory of the fair and a big smile erupted, "All the baby animals!  They're soooo cute!"   Sweet memories, sweet food and laughter, sweet little baby animals.

We're taking our little animal lover to the fair this Sunday and we'd love to have you join in on the fun, so the OC Fair has given me a family 4 pack of tickets to give away!  All you have to do is leave a comment sharing your favorite memory of the fair.  A winner will be picked using on the evening of Thursday, July 27th.

 Here are a few pics of some of our favorite memories from last year's fair.  Enjoy, then enter to win a day at the OC Fair!


Orange County Fair - Irvine

OC's beautiful faces. She's ready for her close up.

Orange County Fair - Irvine

What's a county fair without baby piggies? Sqweeeee!

Orange County Fair - Irvine

The kids loved the petting zoo. The animals are friendly.

Orange County Fair - Irvine

Very friendly.

Orange County Fair - Irvine

Deep fried, chocolate covered bacon. Boyfriend Bob says it's really good! He didn't share any and I didn't break up with him. It must be love.

Orange County Fair Games - Irvine

After food fest it was off to the midway for rides and games. The boys were determined to win some stuffed Angry Birds (my son's latest obsession)

Orange County Fair Games - Irvine

Alex shares his love of Angry Birds with the nicest fair worker I've ever met. I love the truly family friendly atmosphere.

Orange County Fair Games - Irvine

To the victors go the spoils...and the smiles.

Orange County Fair Fun House - Irvine

The kids' favorite: the Moscow Circus Fun House.  It got their repeat business and a huge thumbs up for three stories of ultimate kid fun, ending in a twirling slide back down to reality.

Enter your comment now sharing your favorite memories of the fair!

Dog Friendly Irvine

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012

Meet Raley.

Dog Friendly Irvine

This canine goofball has a big chunk of my heart. She is good-natured, loyal, snuggly, and consistently  excited whenever I walk in the door.  Raley is more than just a dog, she is a member of our family and whenever our travel plans allow, we like to bring her along for the journey. Traveling with pets isn't always easy. Few restaurants welcome dogs and many hotels turn their noses up at our four-legged friends. Luckily, those visiting Irvine have some pretty great Fido-friendly options.


My favorite spot to dine with my pup is the Lazy Dog Café in the Irvine Marketplace. This restaurant in decked out like a casual mountain lodge with playful nods to its doggy namesake. The eclectic menu features everything from wok-fired meals to burgers to fish.  Kids love the bone-shaped pancakes and licorice dog collars. Raley loves the opportunity to hang out with us on the patio during dinner, giving dogs passing by a friendly sniff and a wag.

Irvine Lazy Dog Cafe

Raley hanging out under our table at the Lazy Dog Cafe

Several restaurants in the Irvine Spectrum offer dog-friendly dining. This mall lends itself up to pet-friendliness given its open air setting.  Dogs and their owners love strolling past the shops, gazing in the windows and taking in the Spectrum's striking Spanish architecture Restaurants such as Ruby's Diner, the Veggie Grill, and Chipotle all offer casual and dog-friendly patio seating.


Bakery Window at Dogma

The baked goods case at Dogma!

If you love spoiling your pup as much as I do, you definitely need to stop in Dogma!. This specialty store focuses on offering the best for your pup and sells everything from sparkly dog collars and cushy puppy beds to all-natural allergen free pet food and treats. Their bakery case is filled with all sorts of goodies that I was ready to gobble up until I remembered that the cupcakes were probably hard as a rock and meat flavored. Not so great for humans but judging by the giant eyes and eager bite Raley greet her cupcake with, I am guessing she will be dreaming about that cupcake tonight.

William R. Mason Regional Park

After all those treats, we like to take our pup for a walk- you know, so she can keep her girlish figure.  Quail Hill has a nice loop trail that is dog-friendly and filled with wildflowers during the spring. William R Mason Regional Park is a fine place to enjoy an early evening stroll with Rex. The large pond serves as a lovely backdrop, especially when hobbyists have their miniature sailboats are out on the water. If your dog is eager for some canine contact, be sure to stop by Irvine's Central Bark dog park. The park has 3 acres of fenced in land set aside for dogs to run around off leash to their hearts content. There is even a separate fenced in area for dogs that are small or frail.


Irvine has no shortage of dog friendly accommodations. Hilton Irvine has an airport convenient location and welcomes dogs under 75lbs to stay for a nonrefundable fee of $50.  Residence Inn has two Irvine locations and allows dogs of all sizes for a nonrefundable $100 fee.  La Quinta Inn & Suites, converted from a bean and grain warehouse into a three-story hotel listed in the National Registry of Historical Sites, is also pet friendly and does not charge a pet fee.

ITRYathlon: Celebrate Small Victories

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Sunday, Jul 15, 2012


The ITRYathlon is a mere two weeks away. On July 28th, I'll be ready to rock. 

Just about the same time that the Olympic Games get underway in London, I'll be facing my own personal  olympic challenge here in Irvine.

If you've been following my training journey, you know that it hasn't all been easy. Life got in the way of training schedules, and nagging injuries knocked me off my feet just as I was making progress.

I admit, there were more than a few times when I wanted to quit.

Then one morning in late June, I found a bracelet that I had given to my mother the year before she passed away.


A simple silver bracelet with the inscription: Celebrate Small Victories.

At the time, I worried that it was an inappropriately optimistic sentiment for a woman fighting terminal illness, but she loved it and wore it every day.

Finding my mother's bracelet reminded me of her courage; not just at the end of her life, but fifteen years earlier when she started to run for the first time. She was 61 years old.


We all thought it was cute; my senior citizen mother in her pink running shorts and shoes, heading out to dutifully run a mile or so. She also took up swimming at about the same time, learning proper strokes and side breathing. She wasn't training for a race or trying to set any speed records.

She just wanted to do something new and positive for herself, refusing to let her age determine her capability.

So I took my mother's bracelet out of the drawer and started wearing it when I trained. It reminds me that even though this may be new territory, my mother has been here before me.


On July 4th, my daughter Katie and I tested our ITRYathlon training and entered the Woodbridge Village Association 5K Race. For Katie, it was nothing new.  But I had never run for 3 miles without stopping and tendonitis in my ankle had kept me from running for a couple of weeks. I wasn't sure what I'd be able to do.


We headed out anyway; moving at a snail's pace, but moving nonetheless.

I ran down my now familiar training route, passing little landmarks that I had set as stopping points only a month before. 


My breathing was even and, surprisingly, I ran with no pain. So I kept on going...

Celebrate Small Victories


Mom's bracelet was on my wrist as we neared the finish line.

"Hey Mom, when we get to the end, do you want to run?" Katie asked me, barely winded.

"I am running," I said.


It's not too late to join us on race day! Sign up at 

ITRYathlon July 28th, 2012

Northwood High School- Irvine

Proceeds benefit Irvine Public School Foundation 

Paradise Found at the Irvine Museum Through September 20th

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Thursday, Jul 05, 2012

Museum1Summer brings fun times like watermelon eating contests, days at the beach and backyard barbeques, but if you want to give your family a bit of culture, head over to the Irvine Museum to view the current exhibit of California Impressionist Artwork entitled Paradise Found: Summer in California. 

The exhibit, on display through September 20, features a selection of paintings by California Impressionists that show various familiar views of California as they appeared nearly a century ago, before the great population growth of the late twentieth century.

I love Impressionism and can't wait to meander through the halls of the Irvine Museum to pause and ponder the beauty of my state, as captured by talented painters such as Louis Betts (1873-1961), Maurice Braun (1877-1941) Guy Rose (1867-1925)


The Irvine Museum
18881 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 100
Irvine, CA 92612
Click here for direction

Find a Fireworks Show for the 4th of July!

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012

What is the 4th of July without a magnificent and dazzling fireworks show to light up the nightsky?! Here's a list of some OC cities that will be hosting firework shows!
From your friends at Destination Irvine, have a wonderful 4th of July!
If you don't see a specific OC city listed, the city may not be hosting a firework show this year, or I was unable to find information on any firework shows! If you do know of additional firework shows please feel free to leave a comment with the details! 
Hosted by the Irvine Police Association, join in on the 28th Annual Concert on the Green and Fireworks Extravaganza at the Irvine High School Football Stadium! Tickets available at the Stadium box office day of, or for purchase in advance here.
Tickets: $12/Adults and $8/Children & Seniors, under 2 years old FREE

Family Ticket- $40/2 Adults & Up to 4 Children(Advance Purchase)

Gates open at 3pm, and Parking is FREE

Irvine High School Stadium
4321 Walnut Avenue, Irvine CA 92604

Newport Beach
 The city of Newport Beach has an array of events and activities throughout the day to celebrate the 4th of July. Check out the list of events here, and a fireworks show will be hosted by the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort!
You can watch the fireworks from public places in Newport for FREE , but if you would like to view the show from the dunes...
 $60 for Parking & 6 Wristbands for Carnival Activities (valued at $10 each)
Newport Beach Residents receive FREE admission
Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort
1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach
(949) 729-DUNE
Show Starts at 9pm
 Huntington Beach 
Watch fireworks over the ocean at Huntington Beach Pier!
Check out the day's activities here! Residents from the surrounding cities Westminster & Fountain Valley can easily take part in HB's events!
$10 for pier seating, FREE elsewhere in public HB areas
Huntington Beach Pier
Main St  & Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach
Show Starts at 9pm
 La Habra

Live Music, games, food, fireworks, and more! Hosted by the La Habra's annual 4th of July Celebration will be held at La Habra High School!
Ticket/Admission Info not found, please call (562) 905-9708 for more info
Doors open at 5:00pm
La Habra High School
801 West Highlander Avenue
La Habra, CA 90631
(562) 905-9708  
 Los Alamitos, Cypress, Rossmoor & Seal Beach
These cities, the Joint Forces Training Center and the Consolidated Disposal Service have come together to host a 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular
FREE to attend, $5 Parking
(Vehicles with Military I.D. FREE)
Joint Forces Training Center
Los Alamitos 11200 Lexington Drive
(enter at Lexington Drive, South of Katella Avenue) 
For More Info Call (714) 229-6700
Take part in the City of Fullerton's Annual Community Fireworks Show & Festival!
Admission- FREE
Parking- FREE
Nominal Fees may apply for certain festival activities (approx $2-4)
Fullerton High School Stadium
201 E. Chapman Ave
Fullerton, CA, 92832
(on the S/E corner of Lemon and Berkeley)
(714) 738-3167
Opens at 5pm, Show Starts at 9pm
 Buena Park
Knott's Berry Farm will be hosting their Fourth of July Aerial Fireworks Show & Entertainment!
Tickets range from $25.99-49, includes admission to the park. Click here for more info on tickets & the event.
(Does not include Parking Fee, starting $15/vehicle)
8039 Beach Blvd. in Buena Park 
Show Starts at 10pm
Anaheim Hills
The Canyon Hills Community Council of Anaheim Hills will be hosting their 24th Annual 4th of July Celebration. Click here to view the list of day's events!
It seems like this fireworks show is FREE admission!
The fireworks show will take place at Peralta Park
115 Pinney Dr
Anaheim Hills, CA 92807
(off the 91 and Lakeview)
 (714) 758-0222
Small parking lot at the park, street parking, and busses may be shuttling from various Anaheim shopping locations
Call the number above for more details
Who wouldn't want to spend a day at the happiest place on earth, and end with a spectacular fireworks  show?! If you're feeling extra patriotic and want to really enjoy an extravaganza, experience the 4th of July at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim
Parking Fees apply.
(fees may or may not apply accordingly for  Annual Passholders)

Come to the Annual Fourth of July Celebration at Tustin High School! Grab a blanket and some lawn chairs and you are all good to go!
Admission is FREE! 
Tustin High School
1171 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA
(enter at San Juan)
(714) 573-3326 
Open at 6:30pm, Show Starts at 9pm
 Mission Viejo 
In South County? Celebrate the 4th with the City of Mission Viejo and their Annual Street Faire and Fireworks Spectacular! Held right off of Olympiad Road and near Lake Mission Viejo !
Admission is FREE
Open at noon, Show Starts at 9pm
Off of Olympiad & Marguerite
(949) 830-7066 
Laguna Niguel
Enjoy a fireworks show over the lake at the Laguna Niguel Regional Park!
Admission is Free
Parking Fee: $7.00
Show Starts at 9pm

Laguna Niguel Regional Park
28241 La Paz Road
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Dana Point 
Dana Point's 4th of July Fireworks Extrvaganze is sure to be a crowd pleaser! Head down to Doheny State Beach/Dana Point Harbor and be ready to be amazed!
Admission is FREE
Street & Paid Lot Parking available
Doheny State Beach/Dana Point Harbor Area
25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, California 92629
(949) 496-6172
Show Starts at 9pm
San Juan Capistrano
It's going to be quite exciting in SJC during the city's July 4th Celebration and Fireworks display! 
Admission FREE
Opens at 3pm
San Juan Capistrano Sports Park
25925 Camino Del Avion
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Show Starts at 9pm
Street Parking available
(949) 493-5911
San Clemente
I'll be at the San Clemente Pier to watch fireworks shoot off of the pier, and burst in the sky over the ocean. 
Admission FREE
Street & Paid Lot parking available 
San Clemente Pier
601 Avenida Victoria
San Clemente, CA 92672 
Show Starts at 9pm
(949) 361-8264  
*Image Sources available by clicking Image/or from Link in each fireworks show description
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