The weather is officially heating up, giving off the perfect spring vibes and a chance to step out for some local activities. From live art and performances to culinary delights, there is plenty to keep you entertained in Orange County this week. The famed Newport Beach Film Festival makes its return, as does South Coast Plaza’s garden show, the Newport to Ensenada yacht race, the annual pet expo and Roger’s Gardens sweet pea show.

Monday, April 23

Sommelier Best in Class Program
Whole Foods Market, Anaheim

Enjoy special deals on a variety of trendy rosés, hand selected by the company’s sommelier. Running through the end of May, the program highlights selections like Pure Provence & Rosé, El Terrano Rosado, Calixo Cava Brut Rosé and nine others.

Screening of “The Neon Demon”
The Frida Cinema, Santa Ana

In celebration of Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, the Frida’s director of the month, the arthouse theater will show “The Neon Demon.” This 2016 film starring Elle Fanning as an aspiring model offers plenty of shock, awe and surprise as well as metaphors for the L.A. beauty scene.

Omakase Sushi 101
San Shi Go, Newport Beach

From Monday through Thursday, enjoy a delicious sushi experience that includes a presentation on sushi culture and how it is made as well as samples of fresh sushi to eat for dinner. The event will cost $50 per person.

Tuesday, April 24

“Love Never Dies”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

This sequel to the ever-popular “Phantom of the Opera” follows Christine as she, her husband and her son head to New York for her American debut. Little does she know, she was actually summoned by an old acquaintance—the Phantom himself—who has created his own show on Coney Island.

Taco Tuesday
Restauration, Long Beach

While guests can always enjoy tacos at Restauration, Taco Tuesday brings specialties that aren’t normally on the menu. This week, the chef is preparing chicken chicaronne tacos with lime-pickled red onion and a smoked white bean puree, as well as a barbecue celery root taco with celery slaw, beer mustard and pickles.

Love You to the Moon and Back
The Lab Anti-Mall, Costa Mesa

An XES sample sale at Façade Funhouse is the main highlight of this event, which takes place from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday. There will be light bites, photo opportunities and the chance to shop, and all guests will get a swag bag and free XES T-shirt. Proceeds will benefit the Mommy and Me Cancer Foundation.

Wednesday, April 25

Hayley Kiyoko
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Rising star Hayley Kiyoko will perform locally on Wednesday, offering up singles like “Sleepover,” “Girls Like Girls” and “Feelings.” She is also known for her acting work, appearing in films like “The Awakening” and “Jem and the Holograms.”

Grand Opening
Whole Foods Market 365, Long Beach

Celebrate the eighth Whole Foods Market 365 in the country, which it opening mid-week in Long Beach. It will offer fresh, high-quality ingredients that are also affordable. Smaller than typical Whole Foods stores, it will maintain the company’s focus on quality.

“Little Black Shadows”
South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa

Running through Sunday, this play is set in Georgia before the Civil War, telling the tale of two slaves on a plantation who share stories in the darkness of night. Made for mature audiences, it follows a theme of the resilience of the human spirit.

Thursday, April 26

Newport Beach Film Festival
Various locations, Newport Beach

Beginning on Thursday and running for a full week, the Newport Beach Film Festival will show more than 300 films this year in addition to its nightly gala events and parties. Enjoy a variety of subjects, from documentaries to family films.

Veuve Clicquot Five-Course Champagne Dinner
Oak Grill, Newport Beach

For one night only, pop open some Champagne and enjoy a special evening with delicious food pairings. The five-course meal will feature seasonal ingredients in dishes perfectly crafted to complement the Veuve Clicquot.

At Home in the Garden
South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa

This annual garden show is celebrating 29 years this year, with four days of comprehensive display gardens, a 25-foot centerpiece and a vendor fair featuring unique garden vendors providing inspiration for your own home and garden. There will also be daily seminars and lectures as well as events for the kids.

Friday, April 27

Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race
Newport Harbor, Newport Beach

This yachting event takes place each year, including a race from our local Newport Beach to Ensenada down in Mexico. In addition, this year there will be two other races: a border race to San Diego, and a border spring to Dana Point.

The Witte Lectures: Masha Gessen
Newport Beach Public Library, Newport Beach

On Friday evening, join Masha Gessen, a journalist who was living in Moscow when Vladimir Putin came to power. Her opposition to his tactics is detailed in her new book, titled “The Future is History,” where she follows four Russian locals who expected to eventually see democracy in Russia.

Orange County Pet Expo
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa

As one of the largest pet expos there is, this event provides tips on caring for pets and keeping them healthy and happy. There will be dog show events, police K-9 demonstrations, a bird show, a reptile show and sale, and a kid’s aquarium to see who can create the best underwater environment.

Saturday, April 28

Back to the Beach
Huntington State Beach, Huntington Beach

Debuting in Surf City U.S.A. this weekend, Back to the Beach is the brainchild of Blink 182’s Travis Barker and Goldfinger’s John “Feldy” Feldmann. Enjoy music from 311, Sublime with Rome, Goldfinger, The Aquabats, Less Than Jake and more in addition to food, drinks and vendors.

Ebell Society of Santa Ana Theater, Santa Ana

Broadway on Tour will present its family-friendly version of “Grease,” starting this Saturday, and running this weekend and next. The abridged play will feature the fun spirit of the show along with many of the songs that make it still so popular.

Annual Sweet Pea Show and Contest
Roger’s Gardens, Corona del Mar

Locals will present cut-stem varieties of sweet peas that they have grown, in an effort to win the competition with the most beautiful flowers. Customers are invited to bring their own sweet peas to display during the event. Judging will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday and winners will receive prizes. They will be on display through Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, April 29

Tie-Dye, Pretzel and Craft Beer Party
Blackmarket Bakery, Santa Ana

In addition to sampling a variety of craft beers and snacking on perfectly paired pretzels, guests at this unique party will create their own tie-dye shirts featuring the bakery’s logo. This interactive decorating class combines art with delicious food and drink.

L.A. Eyeworks Trunk Show + Portrait Exhibit
Van Brunt Optical Haus, Costa Mesa

Visit this eyeglass shop for a trunk show featuring unique and colorful frames to enhance your style. There will also be a portrait showcase featuring black and white pieces from a special campaign called Your Face is Like a Work of Art; It Deserves a Great Frame.

Independent Bookstore Day
Lido Marina Village, Newport Beach

Stop by Lido Villlage Books to enjoy a special day celebrating literature and independent bookstores in general. As they are fewer and fewer, it’s important to support them. The event will include special merchandise for the day, and will include discounted books, free giveaways and activities for children.

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 including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.


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