It’s the weekend before the big game which means for the first time in a long time there is no football to keep you confined to the couch. Before everyone does the tailgate and jersey thing, there is a full weekend of action in store for the folks of Orange County stacked with loads of cool thing to do and see. From the theater to a proper BBQ competition, here is a concise, convenient rundown of the best ways to spend your hard-earned recreation.

Friday, January 27
(Credit Joan Marcus)

(Credit Joan Marcus)

See Matilda The Musical
Segerstrom Center For The Arts
South Coast Plaza
600 Town Center Dr,
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 556-2787

The beloved Ronald Dahl classic about an incredibly gifted young girl was immortalized with the silver screen adaptation of the 1996 film, “Matilda.” While the adorable Mara Wilson was at least part of why the film and subsequently the book experienced a jump in popularity, the timeless story is now getting the musical to add another experience of young Ms. Wormwood. Since its 2010 premiere, the production has earned multiple Tony Awards and even garnered a Grammy nod as it has sold out theatres both domestically and abroad. With music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, this performances has continued to earn big draws n part because of how polished the play is as well as the timelessness of the tale. This is a night at the theatre that the whole family could enjoy.

Saturday, January 28
(Credit: Feld Entertainment)

(Credit: Feld Entertainment)

Monster Jam
Angel Stadium
2000 E Gene Autry Way
Anaheim, CA 92806

Just how intense is a night at Angels Stadium during Monster Jam? Even over the roar of a capacity audience, drivers on the nearby 57 freeway can hear the rumble of the throttle from these mammoth machines as they crush cars and kick up dust in the arena. That is no exaggeration. The second round of Monster Jam in Orange County pits trucks like Max-D, El Toro Loco, Monster Mutt Dalmatian, and the classic Grave Digger in a head-to-head battle in both the paired racing format and the fan favorite freestyle competition. Fans both young and old alike will go berserk when these mega-machines go flying through the air only crash down and sometimes wipe out. This is the best show on four wheels. Don’t skip it.

(Credit: Newport Beach BBQ Competition)

(Credit: Newport Beach BBQ Competition)

Newport Beach BBQ Competition
The Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort
1131 Back Bay Drive
Newport Beach CA 92660

While certain regions will always make the claim that their brand of BBQ is the best, California BBQ certainly is no slouch. This weekend down on the Dunes in Newport, there will be a $10,000 grand prize to confirm that us hippies and surfers definitely take our BBQ seriously. In addition to the competition portion of the event that will feature some 50 different teams, there will be BBQ demos from respected pitmasters for those looking to step their own BBQ game up. Naturally with all that grilling, there will be plenty of samples for guests to enjoy as well as a healthy offering of beer and wine to wash it all down.

Sunday, January 29
(Credit: Tet Festival)

(Credit: Tet Festival)

36th Annual Tet Festival
OC Fairgrounds
88 Fair Dr.
Costa Mesa CA 92626

Orange County is home to one of the biggest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam. The diversity of the area segues into a wonderful collection of art, culture, and community best exemplified with gatherings like the 36th annual Tet Festival. Touted as the world’s largest Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration, the three-day party will include main stage entertainment, plenty of vendors, carnival rides, and a cultural village to better familiarize the tradition to the greater community. With plenty to see, eat, and participate in, this is a great opportunity to experience some culture in a particular festive way.

(credit: Lili H./yelp)

(credit: Lili H./yelp)

Grand Central Art Center
125 N Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 567-7233

Located in the Artists Village of Santa Ana, the Grand Central Art Center is actually an extension of Cal State Fullerton. Starting in the early 90’s, the art center has been credited with helping to revitalize a part of the city that was considered unsavory and dangerous. Now considered a creative haven for artistic types, the Grand Central is largely part of the foundation of modern Santa Ana, nurturing art and culture well before other galleries and projects made the area home base. With an emphasis on contemporary art of every medium, the Grand Central manages to balance international perspective with local range. Rotating exhibitions feature contributors from both home and abroad that all meet the criteria of being provocative and purposeful.

Article by Ramon Gonzales.

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