Irvine offers cycling enthusiasts 44.5 miles of off-road bicycle trails and 282 miles of on-road bicycle lanes.More

Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for September 2015

Festival of Discovery at UCI

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015

This Saturday, October 3rd, UCI celebrates its 50th anniversary with the first-ever Festival of Discovery! The Festival of Discovery combines discovery pavilions, educational activities, entertainment, and the Anteater 5K Family Fun Run/Walk.

The event will start with the Anteater 5k and Family Fun Run/Walk at 7 a.m. This is not your normal 5K! Here, your family will "run through the decades" with deejays playing music and themed décor of the 60s through today. The course will finish at the festival event site in Aldrich Park at the heart of the campus. If you pre-register to attend the festival here you'll receive a complimentary festival tote bag!

Click on the links below to learn more about the programming and offerings at the Festival of Discovery

Discovery Pavilions - a collection of hands-on interactive experiences featuring the best and brightest UCI has to offer in Health + Wellness, Local + Global Impact, Samueli Foundation Ingenuity + Innovation, and Arts + Culture.

Events Schedule- includes activities throughout the day such as live music, food trucks, interactive demos, hands-on displays, athletic clinics, and more.

Anteater 5K & Family Fun Run- all you need to know aout the 1k (not timed) and 5k (timed) run including the schedule, what to wear, the route map, parking and directions.

Got Questions? Visit the contact page here or Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Filed In: Events

Hottest Ticket in Town: One Man Two Guvnors at SCR

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Friday, Sep 25, 2015

It's a wild and zany night at the theatre at South Coast Repertory's season-opener, One Man, Two Guvnors, directed by David Ivers. It's a comedic farce of mistaken identity where Francis, a failed washboard musician with an insatiable appetite, has to keep his two jobs secret from his two bosses...and they're hiding juicy secrets of their own.

There are plenty of pratfalls and puns, slapstick and... well, you get the idea. It's a heck of a lot of fun.

Richard Bean's play is loosely based on Carlo Goldoni's 18th-century style commedia dell'arte classic, The Servant of two Masters. Bean sets his action in 1963 in the English seaside city of Brighton, England, and skillfully blends in British Music Hall humor to add to the hilarity.

Francis, deliciously played by Dan Donohue is the centerpiece of the show. Clownish to the extreme, he works the stage with fast paced precision, riffing with fellow actors (William Connell plays the pretentiously posh Stanley) in gloriously scene-chewing and scene stealing performances. The world of farce and physical comedy are joyously combined in a wildy frolicking mess, with rock-and-roll beats supporting this goofy and chaotic escapade.

Dan Donohue and William Connell in ?One Man, Two Guvnors

Go see SCR's glorious goofball romp for both actors and audience. It's the hottest ticket in town, through Oct. 11.

Tickets are available at

South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available on Park Center Drive, off Anton Boulevard.

Blowing bubbles and spinning gears in the ‘Innovation Rocks!’ T2 test.

Posted by: Laura Berthold Monteros
Posted on: Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015

With the second technical (T2) test come and gone last Saturday, the Destination Irvine float, "Innovation Rocks!" is well on its way to the 127th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2016.  The animation is working, the bubble machine is pumping, the motor is running, and the fire drill went without a hitch.  The crew and any riders have 45 seconds to get away from the float in case of fire.  We timed the Phoenix Decorating Company driver and observer at 16 seconds.

Between now and the time flowers go on in December, there will be tweaks, a paint job, and floral choices to make.  The story this week is mostly visual, so be sure to check out the video and photos.  Readers can catch up on all the action on "Innovation Rocks!" by reading past posts in the Destination Irvine blog.

Tournament of Roses volunteers

We had the opportunity to briefly speak with "Innovation Rocks!" float liaison Michael Kareti and Asst. Chief Technical Engineer (simply, "mechanic") Eddie Villasenor, two of the 935 Tournament of Roses Association members who put on "America's New Year's Celebration" every year.  They're the folks in the white suits walking or riding Honda mopeds with the float. 

"That's your child for the night," Kareti said.  "This is my baby the whole night and down the parade route."  A float liaison escorts a float during its road tests and along the parade route, and like the drivers and observers, camps out in the lineup area on Orange Grove Blvd.  This is his first year as a liaison and fifth with the Tournament. 

The mechanic is on hand to ensure that the float works, and works safely.  Villasenor told us, "I'm responsible for this float, like an ambassador."  In the video, viewers can see Kareti and  Villasenor, as well as Mike Gillespie, a Phoenix Decorating Company employee, circling the float on a bicycle.  He keeps an eye on each float as it runs through its road tests.

Collage of people at T2 test

It takes a bit of time to get a float ready to roll in the T2 test.  While the float is still parked, the animation is tested, the engine checked, the crew compartments given a thorough going-over, Tournament volunteers and float personnel converse.

The three people at top left are Tournament of Roses volunteers who put the floats through the paces and check everything off on a list.  The man in the middle is holding a rolling tape measure to get a read on the length and width of a float.  Where a float parks on Orange Grove can be determined by length to avoid blocking driveways. 

The poppy, top right, has been sprayed with cocooning material to give a smooth surface for gluing the dry botanicals.  Observer Rex Theobald scrunches into the flask at bottom left, which has a thin coating of foam over the cocooning.  Theobald said that the window might be expanded to accommodate his height and give better visibility to his left.

Driver Joe Monaly. Jr. examines the engine at lower right.  A thicker layer of foam covers this area, and can be several inches thick in places.  The pots will hold large arrangements of fresh flowers and greens when the float is ready for judging.

Innovation Rocks T2 test nuts and bolts

The nuts and bolts of a Rose Parade float, clockwise from top left: bubble machine, tow bar, animation panel in the observer's compartment, notes tacked up on the wall in the driver's compartment.  Sean McMinimy, Production Manager at Phoenix Decorating Company, said, "The bubble machine is like a lot of kids blowing bubbles." Each of the two machines will only use ¾ of a gallon of bubble solution for the length of the parade.  Read more about McMinimy in the post of Sept. 9.

No one likes to see a Rose Parade float break down, but just in case, floats are outfitted with a trailer hitch and tow bar, which slides into a compartment beneath the deck.  Huge two trucks park in the cross streets all along the parade route and are ready to go at a moment's notice. 

Will you be there?

Folks can easily drive in from Irvine to see the Rose Parade, but what about those out-of-town relatives?  Destination Irvine has a solution!  DI is offering people the opportunity to "Find Your Adventure" with a sweepstakes that will award 12 people and three guests each with a trip to Orange County that culminates in VIP treatment at the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2016.  Each prize is valued at $3,100 and includes round-trip airfare for four people to Orange County, a three-night stay at one of 11 Irvine hotels, ground transportation to the Rose Parade, grandstand seating, and a commemorative gift.  The sweepstakes runs through Oct. 31, 2015.  Winners will be randomly selected and notified the week of Nov. 1. To enter, visit


Filed In: Family Friendly

Adopt A Canyon!

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Tuesday, Sep 15, 2015

We all have our favorites... 

The peace of a sunset walk through Bommer Canyon...

The beauty of a bike ride along Newport's Back Bay...

The breathtaking view of the Pacific from atop the El Moro trail at Crystal Cove...

Irvine may be a busy community with more than 200,000 residents, but it is surrounded by more than 40,000 acres of precious open space. Anaheim may have its theme park and San Juan Capistrano has its Mission, but Irvine has Orange County's only Natural Landmark right in its own backyard.

Now Irvine has a chance to be part of the local preservation that keeps our natural habitat healthy. 

Each time you hike or ride past a hill in the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and see a little brightly-colored flag, that's a sign of native habitat on the rebound. Land managers develop and plan ongoing restoration and invasive plant removal projects, but long-term health of local wildlands depends on long-term support from community volunteers.

If you have a favorite trail or view, consider pitching in and "adopting" that canyon.

To further the goal of long-term habitat health, organizations such as Irvine Ranch Conservancy organize monthly volunteer stewardship opportunities to allow members of the community to give their time in the same location over time.

So you can see the fruits of your efforts every time the revisit the canyon you love. The difficulty level of each activity varies, but all tools and training are provided.

Click here to see all of the volunteer stewardship opportunities that happen monthly.

If you enjoy the trails and natural bird sanctuary at the San Joaquin Marsh, sign up for the "Second Thursday Habitat Restoration in Newport Bay"scheduled for Big Canyon in Newport Beach. This natural canyon, tucked away near Upper Newport Bay, is undergoing a major transformation thanks to the City of Newport Beach. Volunteers ages 14 and up will collect native plant seeds and help weed out invasive plants. These simple tasks make a big impact on this sensitive habitat. 

In addition to acres of grass park space, did you know that Irvine Regional Park also has extensive natural trails? This is the oldest park in the OC Parks county park system, and a dedicated community of volunteers helps to keep the trails and nature garden ready for visitors. During the "2nd Saturday Trail Restoration Day," volunteers can join park staff to work along the trails at this historic Orange County park.

Also on Saturday is the monthly "Adopt a Canyon - Agua Chinon Stewardship" in Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve. If you've walked or biked along the Agua Chinon trail to The Sinks, you've probably noticed the active restoration project in the riparian areas at the bottom of this watershed. The volunteer work includes removing invasive weeds that threaten the native plants, trees and shrubs. Ages 14 and over are welcome to participate in this unique restoration project. 

If you're interested in adopting a canyon, click here to view all of the upcoming monthly stewardship activities. Additional opportunities include

"Be a Friend to the Cactus Wren,"

"3rd Sundays Restoration Day at Peters Canyon Regional Park,"

"First Friday Habitat Restoration in Buck Gully."

There are plenty of ways to give back to the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, and with repeating monthly activities, you can find the most convenient path to adopting your favorite canyon.




Follow the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks on Instagram and learn more about places to explore! 


Style Week OC Kicks off TODAY!

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Thursday, Sep 10, 2015

It's the fashion event we've all been looking forward to in Orange County, Style Week OC hosts an array of fashion and beauty events at Fashion Island, Irvine Spectrum, and Tustin Marketplace. Admist the kick off of 'Fashion Week' around the world, Style Week OC will showcase Fall 2015 fashion from the brands within the shopping centers. Check the schedule above for runway shows dates and time, as well as the Style Week OC website for in-store shopping events and trunk shows (events already started yesterday). Runway shows will include luxury, casual, children's wear, and the Celebrity Cruises Design competition featuring FIDM students.

Did you attend or miss out on the Irvine Spectrum's Endless Summer Festival? Well here's a quick recap:

More than 3,000 people joined Irvine Spectrum Center in celebrating the back-to-school shopping season on Saturday, August 15 at the Endless Summer Festival. The one-stop, festival-themed shopping party featured curated back-to-school wardrobe closets, musical performances, in-store promotions and more.

Attendees enjoyed a variety of complimentary activities across the center to bid adieu to summertime, including a DIY dreamcatcher station, flower crowns by Krista Jon Florals and a fun photo op at the vintage VW bus photo booth.

Over at the Nordstrom Beauty Lounge, guests enjoyed lip bar seminars from M.A.C., Laura Mercier, Smashbox and Fresh. lulu dk was onsite sharing its latest in flash tattoos while Toni & Guy Hair Salon provided guests with beautiful bohemian braids.

One of the highlights of the event was the blogger meet-up with YouTube style vloggers Maddi Bragg and Suede Brooks in Giant Wheel Court. The style gurus presented curated style closets featuring the hottest looks for back-to-school. The teen blogger duo drew more than 800 fans for a meet-and-greet.

To close out the day's fun, local band The Brevet took the stage and entranced the crowd with its Americana Rock music, sweeping orchestral tracks, gang vocals and unforgettable choruses.

‘Innovation Rocks' at Phoenix Decorating Company and Edwards Lifesciences

Posted by: Laura Berthold Monteros
Posted on: Wednesday, Sep 09, 2015

Double-header interviews today!  Irvine is known for its innovative companies and educational institutions and Phoenix Decorating Company is known for cutting-edge float design.  Sean McMinimy, Production Manager at Phoenix, talked about the mechanics and technology that goes into a seven ton Rose Parade float and Diane Biagianti, Vice President and Chief Responsibility Officer for Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine shared the innovations and commitment the company has to the greater community.

McMinimy, seen in the photo at top in front of the Destination Irvine float, fell into the float business when, late in 1995, a friend at Phoenix told him "We can use a hand down here."  He helped out with the mechanics and electrical, and he was hooked.  He says his  job as production manager is to turn a two-dimensional concept drawing into "a real 3-D object that has to come back in one piece."  He added, "We try to stay as true as we can."

"Innovation Rocks" will have animation powered by  hydraulic cylinders and a large 12-volt DC pump.  Hydraulics are also use for the "overheights," a term that refers to elements of the float, such as tall poppies and coiling tubes, that are too tall to go under the freeway bridge towards the end of the route.  These will fold down and back up.  A complex mechanism moves a set of gigantic gears at the back of the float and there are moving gears on the camera (right) side as well.  Bubble machines on both the camera and off-camera sides add to the whimsy of the lab scene.  The observer on this float will operate the animation.

Specs for a 55-foot flower-bedecked vehicle

The float begins with a medium-heavy chassis with a 22 to 24-foot wheelbase, large axles that would work on a concrete truck, solid rubber tires for the front and air-filled tires for the rear, and hydraulic brakes.  Building on that, the welded frame extensions are cantilevered to lengthen the float and retain a short wheelbase to keep turning tighter.  Watch the video of the three-point turn during the first technical test in the previous post.

McMinimy uses mostly Chevy parts for the mechanics.  "It's a lot easier," he says.  "Chevys seem to be interchangeable.  It's the same carburetor, same transmission, uses the same parts."  The Destination Irvine float has a V8 motor that would be used on a small block Chevy truck and a Turbo 400 3-speed automatic transmission.  These provide the necessary torque to move the heavy contraption and deal with the many starts and stops.

Sometimes the smallest things break down, McMinimy says.  One way of avoiding the ignominy of a stuck float is redundancy.  There are usually two backup batteries and a backup fuel pump, with extra parts tucked away. 

The crew-driver and observer in separate compartments and a Tournament of Roses float liaison outside-work together to provide a splendid, moving experience for viewers.  The driver is pretty much operating blind, but the observer has a 90-degree view (45 degrees each side of center) and in a pinch, the liaison can direct them.  There are fire extinguishers and independent brakes in both compartments.  They communicate via 12- volt wired headsets; wireless will not work with "so much RF (radio frequencies) flying around," McMinimy says.

Edwards Lifesciences: Innovation in Irvine

Edwards Lifesciences headquarters

If Diane Biagianti could send a message to Rose Parade viewers, it would be the core values of Edwards Lifesciences: "We are focused on helping patients with unmet needs, and dedicated to improving the lives of people around the world," she says. 

Edwards Lifesciences has operations throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. Its pericardial tissue heart valves, which are artificial valves made from the sac of durable tissue surrounding a cow's heart hand-sewn onto a metal alloy frame, can replace diseased valves through traditional open heart surgery or less-invasive means that eliminate the need to open the chest and stop the heart and may benefit the elderly or very sick patients. 

Biagianti says, "I am proud of our company's rich history, beginning in 1958 with the development of the first commercial artificial heart valve, continuing more than 50 years later to today. We've always been focused on serving patients with unmet needs, and, more recently, our efforts have focused on the development of less-invasive or non-invasive medical technologies, such as transcatheter heart valve replacement, rapid deployment heart valves or finger cuff monitoring of the heart."

Hemodynamic monitoring, the ability to see how well the heart is working in surgery or the ICU, is another technology Edwards continues to develop.  The ClearSight system gives the health care team the ability to measure such outputs as stroke volume, cardiac output and continuous blood pressure in moderate- to high-risk patients and provides insight into fluid management.

Edwards Lifesciences is more than a science and technology firm, though.  The company is committed to minimizing its environmental footprint through such initiatives as landscaping and solar energy, and to maximizing its impact on the communities in which it operates through volunteerism and philanthropy.  This concept centers on a credo the company adopted when it went public 15  years ago.

"Our credo guides our values, spirit, and conscience in everything that we do, and forms the framework for our aspirations, which are the goals that inspire us every day," Biagianti says.  "We are committed to being a trusted partner, not only with our customers but with our external stakeholders, too. This really drives our commitment to the community and corporate citizenship. We believe in giving back to the communities in which we live and work; you can see that in our philanthropy and our dedicated sustainability efforts."

She affirms, "From Irvine to Shanghai, and everywhere in between, philanthropy is at the heart of who we are and is a source of pride for our 9,500 employees around the world."  The Edwards Lifesciences Foundation provides grants to non-profit organizations worldwide and matches charitable donations of employees.  One initiative, Every Heart Matters," aims to impact heart disease globally through education, screening, and treatment of 1 million underserved people by 2020.  Earlier this year, though a grant to the American Heart Association and a partnership with Hoag Hospital, 1,000 patients were screened at a Cinco de Mayo festival.  Edwards has also contributed to the building of neighborhood playgrounds, support for local food banks and women's shelters, the local United Way fundraising campaign, and other community programs.

Biagianti serves on the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation committee and sits on the board of Human Options, a non-profit organization in Orange County dedicated to restoring hope for women and children who have suffered from domestic violence.  She is among the 70 percent of Edwards employees who volunteer in their communities.  She says, "There are many opportunities for Edwards employees to volunteer throughout the year, such as by participating in neighborhood cleanup activities, blood donation drives through the American Red Cross, walks to support heart health such as the annual OC Heart Walk at Angel Stadium, the OC United Way campaign, and on-campus activities such as sending letters to our troops or filling Joy Jars to benefit pediatric heart patients."  The company goal is for every employee to participate in one such activity each year.

"I feel confident in knowing we serve patients in need worldwide," she says. "I am proud to work for Edwards as we continue to advance new technologies and therapies that are focused on treating patients with structural heart disease and the critically ill. Every day we hear from and see patients who have benefited from our technologies, and we feel grateful in knowing that we have touched their lives. There can be nothing more rewarding and personally satisfying than knowing you are a part of that."

Sign up to volunteer and learn a bit of floral decoration technology

DI float gears boarded up

Being a cog in the building of a Rose Parade float can be a lot of fun and generate a feeling of pride and satisfaction when the float rolls down the parade route.  There's nothing quite like brushing glue on a Rose Parade float and sticking on "dry dec"-seeds, crushed flowers, spices-or putting on fresh blossoms in glorious colors.  The plywood on the gears in this photo will be covered in dry decoration.

 Screen being applied to DI float

Screening is a foundational treatment, which will be sprayed with a cocooning material and some parts additional with foam for sculpting.  Screeners are skilled workers who prepare the welded sculptures to receive those materials needed to hold the botanical materials, such as flowers, greenery, and roses.  To sign up for deco duty, visit and choose a date.  "Innovation Rocks" is being built at the Rose Palace facility.

Filed In: Events

Chuck Jones Center for Creativity

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Saturday, Sep 05, 2015

Have you been to SoCo in Costa Mesa to check out all the cool stores? It's got a relaxed SoCal vibe, perfect for strolling around outdoors in the lovely Fall weather that's approaching. One of my favorite finds at SoCo is the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, where you can explore animation artwork, pick up a pencil and nurture your creative side, let your kids' imaginations run wild as they create drawings and paintings in free workshops. You can even drop off your kids on certain Friday evenings for some adult shopping and dining time (prices below).

My favorite event is Palate and Palettes, a wine tasting and creativity workshop. Friends can sip some Syrah and paint perfectly poignant pictures. If you can partake of this particular workshop then say that last sentence, I tip my hat to you!  

Heck, CJCC has even added a six week intermediate/advanced painting class for adults serious about improving their painting skills. Keep reading for more details on all the above happenings.

 Drop off and Dine Fridays


Celebrate the end of the week with a unique twist on a night out for the family. CJCC provides evening childcare (ages 5 to 12), keeping the kids busy with creative activities while you explore SoCo or The Mix venues for shopping and dining. Win-Win for the whole family!

Your kids will participate in various creative activities with the inspiration of Chuck Jones's animation, film and fine art.  Registration 24 hours in advance is required.

Cost:   1 Child: $30, 2 Children: $35, 3+ Children: $40


 Drop In and Draw Saturdays


Held most Saturdays from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM. It's a great place to express yourself creatively. Good for children of all ages (must be accompanied by an adult.) Free, but a nominal donation is suggested to help cover the costs of materials. Check the calendar for all class dates.  Cost: FREE


Adult Intermediate and Advanced Painting Class

Come join the Intermediate and Advanced painting class for adults previously experienced in acrylic or oil painting.

Monday evenings, September 21st - October 26th, students will work with Teaching Artist Robert A. Richert. Robert earned a BA degree in illustration and biomedical art at Cal-State, Long Beach. He has been a professional artist for 33 years, and his paintings hang in fine art galleries.

30 minute consultation required before first day of class. Robert will evaluate your skill level and understanding about the fundamentals of painting. Fundamentals include: color theory, composition, perspective, light and form, structure and space, drawing skills, brush strokes, and more. This will allow Robert to teach around your established skill set and provide you with constructive, positive feedback.

For the first class, please bring 3-5 pieces of your artwork or images from your portfolio. The actual artwork is preferred. During classes students are allowed the option to begin a brand new piece or bring a painting in progress.Supplies will not be provided; each student must bring his or her own brushes and paints and take them home at the end of every class. Minimum 5 students required.

Cost: $299     REGISTER TODAY 


  Palate and Palettes

Wine Tasting and Creativity Workshop


Wine tasting by LCA Wine, nibbles will be provided by the Center. Enjoy an evening painting your own perfect masterpiece with a sweetheart, loved one, neighbor or a group of friends. All materials will be provided, including a 16x20 canvas. An experienced teaching artist will guide and nurture your creativity. Bring your own image you'd like to recreate or choose one of the center's canvases to recreate.

Cost: $35 per person, or $45 for a couple. Contact the center for group rates.

Register:  Friday, September 25, 2015 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm

Play it Forward


Play It Forward is a family-friendly afternoon filled with a carnival-like atmosphere and where creativity reigns supreme. Children of all ages will get to have hands-on experiences at different booths featuring such activities as toy-making, mask-making, face-painting, light table animation drawing, lyric writing, and guitar playing.

There'll be an opportunity for you to make a short collaborative stop-motion cartoon working with experts in the animation field. You'll create storyboards, develop characters, and then film your script against a may even end up in it! 

The carnival atmosphere will be enhanced with fresh popcorn, cotton candy, hot pretzels, sweet and savory hands-on experiences, and a bar filled with fruit juices, sodas, and water. 

Raffle prizes all afternoon, plus two special silent auctions!  Cost: $50 per family.


Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, 3321 Hyland, Suite A, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

View the CJCC calendar at

Questions: (949) 660-7793 x107

2017-2018 Visitors Guide
Visitors Guide
Whether here for a business trip or a family vacation, let our free Visitors Guide be your constant companion.  More
E-Newsletter image
Destination Irvine's quarterly newsletter is a great way to stay informed about Irvine, the center of Orange County.  Sign up
36 Executive Park, Suite 100 · Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: 949-660-9112
Powered by Translate