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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for September 2016

5 Places to experience Halloween-themed fun in Irvine

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Wednesday, Sep 28, 2016

Fall in Irvine is a wonderful time of year. Though we might not be experiencing sweater weather just yet, we still celebrate the season with festivals, harvest, and plenty of spooky fun.  From picking pumpkins to frightful nights, here is your 2016 guide to Halloween fun around Irvine.

Irvine Regional Park

Now through October 31st Irvine Regional Park is filled with Halloween fun. Highlights include a pumpkin patch, not-too-scary haunted house, hay maze, Halloween-themed activities, hay rides, John Deere racers, and the ever popular Irvine Park Railroad train.  OC Zoo, located inside Irvine Regional Park, will have a Halloween Animal Art toddler program from 10-11:15am on October 5, 11, 13, 19 and 21. The educational program will feature crafts and up-close encounters with zoo animals.  Additionally, the zoo will be hosting a Halloween Zoo-tacular on October 29th from 10am-4pm.  This fun event will include a scavenger hunt, games, crafts, and trick-or-treating. Zoo animals will received their own teat-filled pumpkins and it is always entertaining to watch them enjoy their treats. The first 100 children dressed in costume will receive a free gift.

Tanaka Farms

Pumpkin patch season begins at Tanaka Farms on September 29 and continues through Halloween. This family-owned farm is the perfect place to pick your own pumpkin right off the vine. Families love the wagon ride around the farm, picking seasonal veggies, saying hi to the critters at the petting zoo, and wandering through the corn maze.  During weekends the farm features a Fall Harvest Festival  which includes food, carnival games, and the ever-popular pumpkin cannon.

Pretend City

The Halloween spirit is in the air at Pretend City, Irvine's children's museum centered around learning through play. Costume Week takes place October 24-30 and children are encouraged to dress up in their favorite disguises. Those who dress up will be rewarded with 25% off their 2nd admission. On October 30th Pretend City will be celebrating a Healthy Halloween . The Serving Kids Hope organization will be on site to share fun tips and tricks to keep kids eating healthy. On October 31st, Pretend City will host a trick-or-treat extravaganza. Highlights include a Halloween Bug Bash and various trick or treat stations through the city.

Orange County Great Park

The OC Great Park is full of FREE Halloween fun October 15, 16, 22, & 23 during the Great Park Spooktacular Fundays. This event takes place from 9-1pm and features fun games, crafts, treats, shows, bounce houses, and a pumpkin patch. Festival attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to benefit local food banks. Advance registration is required for this popular event.

Boot Hill

For the 17th year, the 16 Goldenrod in Irvine is transformed into Boot Hill, a haunted Old West town. The legend of Bridgewood and Jedediah Smith lives October 14, 15, 21, 22, and 28-31st from 6:30-10:30pm. This spooky experience is free but donations are accepted and proceeds with be given to CHOC, Children's Hospital of Orange County.

Photo courtesy of Bigstock/famveldman .

Filed In: Events

Global Village Festival 2016

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Wednesday, Sep 21, 2016

Irvine may have a reputation for uniformity, and it's true that this city of carefully-planned villages gives a sense of sameness. But you only need to meet the people of Irvine to find the rich cultural diversity that thrives here.

Since the city of Irvine is made up of a collection of villages, it's only fitting that its annual multicultural celebration would be a village as well.

This Saturday, September 24th, locals will be able to experience sights and sounds from around the world at the 15th annual Global Village Festival from 10 am to 6 pm at Col. Bill Barber Park in Irvine. The event, now recognized as one of the best cultural festivals in Orange County, features international cuisine, live entertainment, a kids village with crafts and activities, cultural and religious exhibits and an international marketplace. 

In 1998, a group of Irvine residents established the city's first Multicultural Festival to help promote understanding and build harmony within cultures.

A second Festival in 2000 sparked interest to expand the Festival to a larger venue, enabling attendance and participation to grow. In 2001 equipped with a new name and location, the Irvine Global Village Festival moved to the Irvine Civic Center where it drew an estimated 4,000 visitors.

The Festival features more than 90 live performances on five stages, plus roaming performers and food from local restaurants. Plan your day by browsing the full lineup of performers and participants:

  • Walk for Unity: Join the “Walk for Unity" to bring Irvine’s community together in support of global harmony. The 3K walk is hosted by The Tiyya Foundation, and begins at the corner of Harvard and San Juan at 9 a.m. Click here to register or for more information. 

There will be no onsite parking at the events, but the Irvine IShutte Service will be running. Perhaps the best way to get to the Global Village will be on your bike, since the festival will be adjacent to one of the city's many trails. A complimentary Bike Valet will be on hand to safely store your two-wheeler while you enjoy the festivities.

5 Can’t Miss Irvine Markets

Posted by: Guest
Posted on: Monday, Sep 19, 2016

Katie Dillman, Outreach Specialist at Goodlinks

With an assortment of flea markets and farmers' markets, Irvine is a one-stop shop for people looking for fresh produce and a wide range of goods. The farmers' markets serve as venues to taste Irvine's culinary culture, while the flea markets allow visitors to indulge in Irvine's arts and culture. Here are some of the best farmers' and flea markets in Irvine:

Irvine Farmers Market

As one of the largest in Orange County, the Irvine Farmers' Market at Mariner's Church offers everything from whole wheat products and hard-to-find veggies to baked goods and Asian fare. But aside from food, this market also sells clothing, flowers, and jewelry. It's a wonderful destination for those hunting all sorts of just about everything.

The Irvine Farmers' Market is open every Saturday from 8 am to 12 pm. Visitors are advised to bring cash, as most merchants don't accept credit cards.

The Original Manassero Farms Market

Looking for enormous, organic, and divinely delicious strawberries? The Original Manassero Farms Market is a favorite among berry lovers all over Orange County, thanks to its certified organic and conventionally grown strawberries available almost all year round.

But aside from offering organic strawberries and other fresh fruits and vegetables, this little market doubles as a gift shop, where jams, preserves, marinades, and sauces are sold. It also features a pick-your-own-herbs garden bed, where visitors can personally handpick their own bunches of basil, chives, oregano, parsley, fennel, and lavender and purchase them at an altogether reasonable price.

Open every day from 9 am to 6 pm, the Original Manassero Farms Market accepts credit cards and has its own parking lot.

The Groves Antique Market

Set up every first Sunday of the month in the Irvine Valley College's parking lot, the Groves Antique Market features a selection of home décor, costume jewelry, and vintage artwork. While not as popular as the Rose Bowl, Long Beach, or Pasadena flea markets, prices are generally cheaper, and one shouldn't let the opportunity pass to pick up something special.

It is also centrally located and easily accessible, even for those who are not familiar with the area. Admission and parking are free so that visitors can spend all their money on the great finds available!

Orange County Market Place

The Orange County Market Place has been in existence for more than four decades and remains one of the most popular flea markets in Orange County. On average, it attracts an average of two million visitors every year. With nearly 1,000 merchants offering a remarkable selection of products and services, the Orange County Market Place is the place to find branded clothing, shoes, sporting goods, electronics, jewelry, home décor, furniture, and electronics.

The Orange County Market Place is open every Saturday and Sunday from 7 am to 2 pm. It charges a small admission fee of $2 for adults.

Sprouts Farmers Market

The Sprouts Farmers Market is one of the very best places to buy fresh produce in bulk. It has a great selection of organic fruits and vegetables, as well as meat products, fish, seafood, deli, frozen foods, and dairy products available at a much lower price than grocery stores. Its warm and friendly staff add to its good reputation.

The Sprouts Farmers Market is open every day from 7 am to 10 pm.

Have you been to other flea markets or farmers' markets in the area recently? Add your favorite Irvine markets in this flea market directory and let everyone know about it!

City of Irvine Celebrates 45 Years

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Tuesday, Sep 13, 2016

The Master Plan is Unveiled


On March 19, 1970, The Irvine Company made national news when it announced plans for the largest planned city on the North American continent. The City of Irvine would cover 53,000 acres and have an expected population of 430,000 citizens by the year 2000. The new town would be twice as large as the city of San Francisco with a population greater than all of the surrounding Orange County cities combined.

At the time, there were already people living on the Irvine Ranch. Nearly 20,000 people lived in the newly established villages such as University Park, Turtle Rock and Culverdale. The area provided 30,000 jobs and 5,000 students attended the University of California at Irvine. Each new village had its own community association of residents, launched and supported by the Irvine Company. The villages were within the jurisdiction of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The company intended for Irvine to be a self-governing, incorporated city in the future, when the population and development had matured. However, several factors caused the Irvine Company to change its position and speed up plans for incorporation.


The Push For Incorporation 

The successful Irvine Industrial Complex and its valuable tax income had become a target for neighboring communities that wished to annex the area for themselves. Santa Ana, Tustin, and Costa Mesa had all made plans to absorb portions of of the area near the Orange County Airport. The Irvine Industrial Complex provided the essential tax base needed for the proposed city and incorporation would protect this important resource.

In addition, Collins Radio, a lessee on the Irvine Ranch, had announced plans to annex their site to the City of Newport Beach. Locally there were concerns that these annexation raids by surrounding cities signaled the beginning of the end to Irvine’s future as a separate city.

Another reason for the push for incorporation was the changing composition of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. This governing body had always been supportive of the Irvine Master Plan in the past, but newly elected supervisors were more skeptical.   The environmental movement had gained momentum and the Irvine Company was gaining the reputation as a greedy developer anxious to eliminate precious open space. Incorporation would place civic decisions in the hands of elected residents of the city of Irvine, not with a Board of Supervisors from other parts of the county.

The Great Debate 

In response to these threats to the future of independent cityhood, thirty Irvine community associations joined together in June of 1970 to form the Council of the Communities of Irvine (CCI). This organization of residents, along with the Irvine Company itself, began to raise awareness and community resolve for incorporation. It was not an easy task.


Incorporporation of the City of Irvine met resistance from many who felt that the move would be disastrous to the future of the area.

There was concern that the city was simply too small and inexperienced to govern itself effectively. Questions were also raised about the role that the Irvine Company would play in the new city government. Many felt that incorporation was a strategy to bypass the Orange County Board of Supervisors and give the Irvine Company an easier path for their development plans. Environmentalists warned that the newly incorporated city would develop some of the last remaining open space in the county, covering valuable agricultural land with tracts of houses.


Irvine Becomes a City 

In the end, the residents were given the chance to vote.

On December 21, 1971, people came to the polls to cast their ballots. They also selected a five person City Council from a field of 32 candidates, most of whom were members of community association boards. When the final vote was tallied, incorporation had won by more than a 2-1 margin. The newly elected Irvine City Council consisted of William M. Fischbach, John Burton, Henry Quigley, Gabrielle Pryor, and E. Ray Quigley. Orange County’s twenty-sixth city was born.

If the Irvine Company had the strategy to gain more control in the newly created City of Irvine, it did not come to pass. The City Council asserted their independence by immediately enacting a 90 day freeze on development so that its members could fully analyze all planning project


Local reporter George Leidal wrote about the first Irvine City Council meeting.

  “It isn’t every day a reporter gets a chance to observe the birth of a new city.  People I’ve met in Irvine, thus far, exude an infectious spirit of hope for their new city.  It may indeed set the standard. The difference between Irvine and any other new town is that while others are truly company towns, dominated by the master planning of the developers, Irvine is the lone experiment in residential land use now controlled by a citizen selected city government.


Filed In: Events

StyleWeekOC Returns to Irvine Spectrum & Fashion Island Sept 15-17

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Friday, Sep 09, 2016

Alright OC Fashionistas, as fashion weeks all around the world take place, STYLEWEEKOC is taking place right here in Orange County bringing you Fall 2016's hottest trends (and you can shop them at Irvine Spectrum and Fashion Island). Enjoy runway shows; in-store events and promotions at brands such as Michael Stars, Anthropologie, Gary's and more; and for the first time - blogger meet and greets at various stores (meet with some of my fave bloggers like Lyndi in the City, Carrie Bradshaw Lied and The Style Riot). Check out the entire schedule and more details for both shopping centers on the Orange County Zest - Irvine Company's Blog. 

Want to see coverage from previous STYLEWEEKOC events at the Irvine Spectrum? Click below:

2015 | 2014

Images c/o Orange County Zest 

Filed In: Events

Patti LuPone in Concert at Segerstrom!

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Monday, Sep 05, 2016

Have you ever had the opportunity to experience a bonafide Broadway Diva?  Now's your chance.  The iconic Patti LuPone is performing a one night only concert at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Friday, September 9.

Ms. LuPone, a two-time Tony Award winner and dependable dynamo, will deliver classic Broadway favorites from her Broadway shows. She's also looking forward to performing classics from shows in which she never starred. That's why she dubbed her tour "Coulda Woulda Shoulda... Played That Part."

"I get to sing these songs but I didn't work on the productions," LuPone said. "There are so many songs out there from incredible productions I love that I get to do this time out. It's an amazing opportunity."

The two-time Grammy Award winner plans to perform songs from a buffet of Broadway's best musicals that include "Hair," "Bye, Bye, Birdie," "Funny Girl," "West Side Story" and "Peter Pan," as well as selections from her performances in "Evita" and "Gypsy."

Have you ever thought you COULDA, SHOULDA WOULDA?  Come join me at Segerstrom Center for the Arts for what's going to be a fabulously inspirational evening where my inner diva will be bursting to break free. Not gonna lie, Ms. LuPone is my inspiration and gold standard for delivering the perfect performance. I'll be there. She'll be great. We'll have the whole show on a plate...

What: Patti LuPone, "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda .... played that part"

When: 8 p.m. Sept. 9

Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Cost: Tickets start at $19

Information: (714) 556-2787 or visit

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