With springtime just around the corner, it’s time to get outside and soak up the sunshine. Whether it’s a parade, a fun run, a yard sale or an Easter egg hunt, there are plenty of chances to enjoy the warm weather that Orange County is famous for. By night, explore the arts with watercolor landscapes, a play, ballet, or a beer and music festival. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to enjoy time spent in OC this March.
National Watercolor Society Invitational Plein Air Painting Exhibition
Muckenthaler Cultural Center
1201 West Malvern Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92833
Plein air painting—when artists paint landscapes while outdoors—is a popular pastime in Orange County. With sprawling beaches and vibrant sunsets, it’s no wonder that artists come from all over to paint the beauty found here. But there are plenty of other spots around the world that provide equally beautiful scenery. For this exhibition, members of the National Watercolor Society select plein air artwork created by painters from across the globe. Artists included in the exhibit include M.E. Bailey, Bjorn Bernstrom, Frank Eber, Stephanie Goldman, Robbie Laird, Andreas Mattern, Dean Mitchell, Thomas Schaller, Chris Van Winkle and more. Pieces will include varied subject matter—from waterfalls and farmhouses to sailboats and ocean scenes. While the paintings will be on display until April 3, visitors can take a tour of the gallery on the evening of March 3. Admission is free, but they will be accepting donations at the door.
Irvine Meadows Amphitheater
8808 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
If you’re crazy about froyo, you’re in for a treat at the FroYo Run. Themed races are all the rage these days, with\ runners, walkers and fun-seekers running through clouds of color, bubble-filled tracks and pits of mud. But, this one in particular provides an extra incentive to cross the finish line: a cup full of frozen yogurt complete with toppings! Courtesy of frozen yogurt chain Menchie’s, finishers will get their own customized treat along with a finisher’s medal. So, grab your family or friends, dress up in colorful costumes and come on down for a day of fun! The 5K and 10K tracks will take participants past music-filled motivation stations and through the mist tunnel at the finish line. Once you’re across, enjoy a musical after party filled with prizes. The goodie bag from FroYo Run also includes your custom race bib, a hat and mirrored sunglasses, plus each runner gets free photos and videos from the race with which to remember the experience.
Community Yard Sale
Center Street Promenade
201 West Center Street
Anaheim, CA 92805
Head to Anaheim for a day of second-hand shopping at Downtown Anaheim’s Community Yard Sale. The first event of its kind, the sale invites local residents to sell their used goods to those in attendance. Those wishing to sell their items must pre-register to purchase a 10’x10’ plot and must live in the area codes 92801-92806. Those hoping to find some hidden treasure can sift through antiques, furniture, household items, clothing, electronics and even collectible items. Residents from nearby communities are, of course, invited to shop as well. The yard sale will be held at the Center Street Promenade, which stretches along Center Street from Clementine Street to Anaheim Boulevard.
Festival of Whales
Dana Point Harbor
24800 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629
The 45th annual Dana Point Festival of Whales the migration of the gray whale. Held over the course of two weekends, this event grows larger every year, providing a variety of activities for the whole family. The first weekend will kick off with a parade honoring not just these beloved whales but also the local businesses of Dana Point. Floats and costumes will this year follow the theme of Magical Migration. A street fair will be held following the parade. The festival also includes daily whale watching tours, car shows, art showcases, walking tours, fishing trips, a paddleboarding clinic, a sandcastle building contest, a beach clean up, a rubber ducky derby and a movie in the park. Live music and food will also be a part of various festival events.
AC2: An Intimate Evening With Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Anderson Cooper, the famed award-winning journalist from CNN, and Andy Cohen, the host of a late night talk show on Bravo, are teaming up for a Q&A session. In mid-March, they’ll be visiting Orange County for one night only to give an unscripted lecture, which gives the two ACs —as the old friends call themselves — a chance to interview on another and tell their stories. They will touch on things they’ve experienced in their pasts, world events and even pop culture references. The interactive experience will give guests a chance to ask Cooper and Cohen their own questions as well. VIP packages are also available that give audience members priority seating as well as the chance to meet and take photos with the stars of the show. The VIP package also includes an autographed gift. This unique evening will offer insight into the lives and the friendships of these prominent figures.
The Glass Menagerie
Concordia University Studio Theater
Irvine, CA 92612
Based on the Tennessee Williams play that debuted in the 1940s, “The Glass Menagerie” tells the story of a Southern mother who worries about her adult children’s futures. Tom and Laura, both in their 20’s, live at home. Tom is a poet who works a warehouse job by day and Laura is an endlessly shy woman who has rejected the outside world and turned instead to her collection of glass animals. The mother, Amanda, aims to find a gentleman caller for Laura in a tale that explores family relationships and the difficult circumstances these characters face. As one of the most famous plays ever written, it’s no surprise that the theater department at Concordia University has chosen to feature it. Performances will be held on select nights through March 20 in the Concordia University Studio Theatre. The show is produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service.
Swallows Day Parade and Mercado Street Fair
El Camino Real and Ortega Highway
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
The Swallows Day Parade, part of the larger Festival of the Swallows, celebrates the return of the swallows to Mission San Juan Capistrano. Now in its 58th year, the parade and festival are important staples of local OC culture. The festival itself lasts for three months, with other popular events like the Taste of San Juan and the Kids Pet Parade, but the parade is one day only. It winds through the downtown area, spectacularly presented without motorized vehicles. Watch as people ride in carriages and on horseback, or even walk, the entirety of the route. As one of the largest non-motorized parades, you’ll find it unlike most that you’ve seen before. Following the parade, visit the nearby Mercado Street Fair, where there will be a live country western band, a kid’s play zone and plenty of shopping. Guests can also enjoy a variety of food while watching the announcement of parade award winners.
Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Heritage Museum of Orange County
3101 West Harvard Street
Santa Ana, CA 92704
Now in its second year, the Heritage Museum of Orange County’s annual Easter egg hunt is a free event that offers plenty of fun-filled activities. After the success of last year’s event, they are bringing it back with even more to do. Make sure to bring your Easter baskets to scoop up the colorful eggs, but there will also be a variety of arts & crafts as well as lawn games. Kids can get their faces painted, listen to music and even meet the Easter Bunny himself. Plus those in attendance have a shot at winning an opportunity drawing, which includes a Target gift card. Set at a cultural and natural history center, it’s a lovely place to celebrate the Easter holiday.
Orange County Beer and Music Festival
307 North Spurgeon Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701
The fourth annual Orange County Beer and Music Festival gives locals a chance to celebrate two things that are pretty popular in OC: craft beer and live music. Head to Downtown Santa Ana to participate while raising money for Rett syndrome research. Visitors get unlimited samples of more than 50 craft beers, including those from Knee Deep Brewing Co., Four Sons Brewing, Portland Cider Company, Stone Brewing Co. and more. The headlining musical acts, including Social Distortion cover band Total Distortion and Blink-182 cover band Blink-180 True, will play at the Yost main stage. Other acts will perform at a lounge at The Ritz. The festival will also feature 10 local food trucks in the lot outside of the Yost Theater, offering $3 and $6 sample items in addition to their regular menus. Visitors can purchase regular admission tickets or a VIP ticket, which grants them access to limited release samples as well.
Festival Ballet Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty
Irvine Barclay Theatre
4242 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
The renowned Festival Ballet Theatre presents a full-length production of a timeless ballet: Sleeping Beauty. Originally brought to the stage by Tchaikovsky in 1890, this classic performance tells the story of a princess who is cursed at her christening by an evil fairy. Once she turns 16, the princess pricks her finger on a spindle, falling into a deep sleep for 100 years until she is awakened by Prince Florimund’s kiss. The production combines storybook princess Aurora with other famed characters like Puss ‘n Boots and Little Red Riding Hood. It will feature international ballet stars Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes backed by a professional company of Festival Ballet Theatre dancers.