As we close out the shortest month of the year and welcome in the next, spring is right around the corner. This week, celebrate everything from reading, live entertainment and art to food, wine and wellness with a variety of exciting events that offer endless thrills. In addition, some popular O.C. events like the Festival of Whales and Tomatomania make their return.

Monday, February 26

(Credit: Michael’s Restaurant Group)

Dine Out Long Beach Restaurant Week
Various Locations, Long Beach
Start the week off right with some delicious food in Long Beach, as Monday night marks “Pass the Plate” night, where various restaurants like Michael’s on Naples, Sweet Dixie Kitchen, L’Opera, Buono’s Pizzeria and more will donate 10 percent of proceeds to local charities.

KidWorks Reading Week
KidWorks, Santa Ana
In celebration of the national Read Across America week, local volunteers will be reading to children at the KidWorks center in order to instill a love for literacy. These volunteers will be from organizations like the local police department and the O.C. Register.

The Observatory, Santa Ana
Enjoy music from popular Oakland-based rapper G-Eazy as he comes to a local stage to perform songs like his breakout hit “Me, Myself and I” as well as his new single, a collaboration called “Him & I” with current girlfriend Halsey.

Tuesday, February 27

(Credit: Casa Romantica)

Open Casa: Paul Van Ernich
Casa Romantica, San Clemente
An opening reception celebrates the works of Paul Van Ernich, a Dutch artist whose traditional portraits and still lifes enchant viewers. There will be complimentary wine and cheese at the free event, and the exhibit will run through mid-March.

“The King and I”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa
Tuesday night marks the launch of Segerstrom’s production of “The King and I,” which tells the story of a British schoolteacher named Anna Leonowens who travels to Bangkok to teach the King of Siam’s wives and children.

Screening of “Call Me By Your Name”
The Frida Cinema, Santa Ana
Ahead of the Academy Awards that will take place this coming Sunday night, enjoy a screening of a film that is nominated for Best Picture. The love story is set in Italy in 1983, and follows a young man named Elio who falls for Oliver, a doctoral student working for Elio’s father.

Wednesday, February 28

(Credit: Irvine Ranch Conservancy)

Mid-Week Hike
Bommer Canyon, Irvine
Get a breath of fresh air and some much-needed exercise on this 12-mile hike, which traverses an area that was once known for cattle operations. With many different trail types ranging from narrow to steep, guests will be led by a guide on a moderately paced adventure.

Beginner Culinary Series
Culinary Lab, Costa Mesa
A new contemporary cooking school opens at the OC Fair & Event Center this week, kicking off with Wednesday’s first Beginner Culinary Series. Running through May 16th, the weekly classes offer skills for cooking fearlessly, allowing home chefs to design meals without relying on recipes.

Cameron Carpenter
Irvine Barclay Theatre, Irvine
One of the top organists in the world will take the stage in Orange County this week, along with the International Touring Organ. He will play a variety of pop hits, classic arrangements and his own original songs while also showcasing his sense of fashion and his technical skills.

Thursday, March 1

(Credit: Crepes Bonaparte)

Grand Opening of Crepes Bonaparte
Crepes Bonaparte, Fullerton
A popular food truck will open its first brick and mortar location this week, offering a variety of sweet, savory and breakfast crepes. Each person who arrives in line between 5 and 9 p.m. during the grand opening will enjoy a free Nutella crepe.

Meet and Greet with Erin Gargan
Laguna Beach Books, Laguna Beach
During March’s First Thursdays Art Walk event, head to Laguna Beach Books to meet local author Erin Gargan, who is celebrating the release of her latest work, “Digital Persuasion: Sell Smarter in the Modern Marketplace.” The book is aimed at helping entrepreneurs, sales and marketing professionals.

J’aime, Paris!
Hipcooks Orange County, Santa Ana
This Parisian-themed cooking class will teach guests to cook a variety of dishes in addition to necessary knife skills. During the evening, try your hand at making mussels in wine sauce, a hearty Coq au Vin, salad filled with tomato and beans and, for dessert, pot de creme au chocolat.

Friday, March 2

(Credit: Disneyland Resort)

Food & Wine Festival
California Adventure, Anaheim
Celebrate an amazing array of food and wine during winemaker and brewmaster beer dinners, tasting seminars and cooking demonstrations in addition to the 13 festival kiosks that will be serving up sample sizes of many different types of cuisine during this extensive festival.

Anniversary Celebration
House of Blues, Anaheim
It has officially been a year since the House of Blues moved to its new home at the GardenWalk, and this celebration honors that with a live show from Steel Panther, Jack Daniels drink specials, raffles, food specials and more.

Wellness Summit 2018
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, Huntington Beach
This special conference put on doTERRA will allow visitors to learn all about essential oils as well as things like leadership, health, business and more. There will be a variety of workshops available during the two-day event, which starts on Friday.

Saturday, March 3

(Credit: Dana Point Harbor)

Festival of Whales
Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point
Celebrate one of Dana Point’s most beloved tradition, the Festival of Whales, with a city-focused parade, whale watching tours, a sand castle contest, a live fair filled with local foods and shopping vendors and much more. It takes place this weekend and next.

Adventures Worth Exploring
Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim
Held for the first time this year, this unique exhibition offers a glimpse into the incredible adventures to be had around the world. Wander around learning about things like diving with sharks and haunted happenings from vendors, live talks and exciting demos.

Pacific Symphony Gala
Irvine Hotel, Irvine
With an “On the Town” theme celebrating 1940s New York City, this special charity event will feature horse-drawn carriage rides, Broadway performances, a stroll through “Central Park” and cuisine from some of the New York’s finest restaurants in an effort to raise money for the symphony.

Sunday, March 4

(credit: Amy Bulone)

“Natural Wonders”
Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton
This fine art photography exhibit features some of the most beautiful landscapes from more than 35 of Orange County’s best photographers. In addition, catch images of plants and animals that present a glimpse into the beauty of the natural world.

Grown Your Own…
Roger’s Gardens, Corona del Mar
As spring rolls around, learn to grow your own produce with a talk from horticulturist David Rizzo. From tomatoes (the event is part of Tomatomania!) to other vegetables, fruits, berries and herbs, Rizzo’s tips will have your garden blooming in no time at all.

Lantern Festival 2018
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa
This free event celebrates the Lunar New Year as guests enjoy live musical and dance performances as well as cultural traditions like creating your own lanterns. There will also be a dragon dance, various riddles and themed culinary treats.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She works as an editor at Firebrand Media, blogs at Pure Wander and writes for a variety of publications.

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