(Credit: Joan Marcus)

(Credit: Joan Marcus)


February in Orange County is always great. With the weather starting to “heat up” (you know, from 60 degrees to 70) and some major local activities, there’s plenty to do. Aside from Valentine’s Day activities, there’s a month full of live shows, festivals and adventures for you to experience with your significant other, family or friends.
February 10-14
(Credit: Juergen Frank)

(Credit: Juergen Frank)


Laguna Beach Music Festival
Laguna Playhouse
606 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 715-9713
www.lagunabeachmusicfestival.com

The annual Laguna Beach Music Festival evolves each year, blending classic and contemporary music from emerging artists in a multi-day festival. The show kicks off with a mixer that gives the public a chance to meet the artistic directors and featured musicians, violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Shai Wosner. With dinner and wine on hand, you can spend the whole night socializing. The weekend brings three nights of live music featuring Koh and Wosner. Friday night, entitled “Bach, Schubert, and Beyond”, will present the classics while Saturday night’s “New Global Voices” will showcase more contemporary tunes featuring Los Angeles-based collective wild Up. In Sunday’s matinee concert, “Bridge to Beethoven”, Koh and Wosner will play two of Beethoven’s famous sonatas followed by a Beethoven-inspired commissioned piece by New York composer Anthony Cheung. Founded in 2002, this is the 14th season of the festival, an event committed to lifelong learning, art and creativity.

February 12-14
(Credit: Marvin K. Sola)

(Credit: Marvin K. Sola)


Tet Festival
OC Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 708-1500
www.tetfestival.org

As the largest Tet Festival outside of Vietnam, this is a wonderful way to get immersed in a new culture. The event celebrates the start of spring as well as the Vietnamese New Year with ethnic food, live entertainment and festive activities. The opening ceremony, known as Lễ Khai Mạc, honors the past, present and future in the New Year. With an ancestral altar procession and lion dance performances, there is plenty to learn about the Vietnamese culture. A replica of a village showcases the buildings, arts & crafts, games and clothing you might find overseas while a reenactment of a spring wedding gives visitors a glimpse into one of the most interesting Vietnamese traditions. The festival also hosts a variety of contests, including a short film contest, a floral arrangement contest, a pho eating contest, a children’s pageant and the Miss Vietnam of Southern California pageant.

February 13 & 14
(Credit: Maurice Turner)

(Credit: Maurice Turner)


Art Crawl Experience
Center Street Promenade
201 West Center Street
Anaheim, CA 92805
(714) 785-7110
www.downtownanaheim.com

Held four times each year, the Art Crawl Experience (ACE) specializes in all things visual. With its location in the Downtown Anaheim Arts District, the area is the perfect spot for artists and the public to come together to celebrate art and culture. Throughout the festival, locals will showcase their work in traditional galleries as well as pop-up shops. Additional permanent art fixtures have been installed outdoors as well. Though art is the major focus of the event, it also features an indie craft fair, live entertainment and local food. Businesses in the area participate by transforming their storefronts and restaurants into one-night-only galleries as well. The stage at Center Street Promenade will reggae, rock music and fire dancers. Gourmet food trucks will also be on site and the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center has free admission throughout the event.

February 13 & 14
(Credit: Courtesy of the Harlem Globetrotters)

(Credit: Courtesy of the Harlem Globetrotters)


Harlem Globetrotters
Honda Center
2695 East Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92806
(714) 704-2400
www.harlemglobetrotters.com

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with one of the most beloved teams in the country. Lovers of basketball, comedy or just plain fun will look forward to attending a Harlem Globetrotters game. For almost 100 years, these silly players have been touring the country, bringing smiles to the faces of young and old alike. Since it’s not your average game, you don’t have to be a sports fan to have a blast watching them race up and down the court. With plenty of silly shots and jaw-dropping tricks, everyone will be impressed with the players’ talent. During the show, the audience plays a major role; in addition to audience participation, a few people (mostly kids) are selected to be part of the on-court experience. Before and after the game, the players generously spend time meeting with the kids. Grab a red, white and blue basketball to get autographed by your favorite player before heading home.

February 20
(Credit: Scott Schmidt)

(Credit: Scott Schmidt)


Kid’s Pet Parade
Los Rios Park
31747 Los Rios Street
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 493-1976
www.swallowsparade.com

Pets are often more than just animals – they’re part of the family! Celebrate your favorite pets at the annual Kid’s Pet Parade in San Juan Capistrano. Each year, this fun family event gives kids the chance to dress up alongside plenty of pooches. After walking in the parade, children are eligible to enter the award ceremony. Awards are given out for best team costume (child and pet), best household pet, best exotic pet, best farm animal and best bird. An additional Judge’s Choice award will be given out and the winner will be invited to participate in the upcoming Swallows Day Parade. The event encourages children to bring any pets that they may have, as long as they are accompanied by a parent and keep the animal on a leash or in a cage during the event. Kids that participate in the parade will receive a hot lunch.

February 20 & 21
(Credit: Courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad)

(Credit: Courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad)


Irvine Park Railroad Anniversary Celebration
Irvine Regional Park
1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 997-3968
www.irvineparkrailroad.com

After 20 years of business, the Irvine Park Railroad is celebrating by taking you back in time. For two days only, prices will be the same as they were back when the railroad opened in 1996. Take a ride on the train for only two dollars per person (children under one are free). The anniversary celebration will have plenty of other activities as well, including panning for gold, face painting and carnival games. Work up an appetite jumping in the bounce house before you grab some cheap hot dogs or frosty ice cream treats. In honor of the event, the railroad will also be giving out free balloons. While at the park, check out the other activities they offer; visitors can rent tandem bikes and single or double surreys. There are also paddleboats available for rent if you want to head out onto the lake.

February 27
(Credit: Courtesy of Irvine Lake Mud Run)

(Credit: Courtesy of Irvine Lake Mud Run)


Irvine Lake Mud Run
Oak Canyon Park
5305 Santiago Canyon Road
Silverado, CA 92676
(714) 697-5863
www.irvinelakemudrun.com

Springtime fun is coming early this year as thrill seekers and fitness fanatics take on the Irvine Lake Mud Run. Held near the shoreline of Irvine Lake, you’ll start and end your adventure in the cool breeze near the water. While the racecourse follows the road part of the time, runners must also tackle trails, hills, professionally-built obstacles and more than twelve mud pits. Because the event happens a few times each year, the course is constantly being updated to include new obstacles and keep the event fresh for those who are looking to do repeat runs. Runners are more than welcome to compete on their own, but teams are also encouraged. Matching costumes or outfits make the event even more exciting. While there aren’t any awards available for teams, individuals can win an award for making it in the top three people to finish within each five-year age group. Bring a change of clothes so you can clean up after the race is over or embrace the mess.

February 7-28
(Credit: Courtesy of the Richard Nixon Foundation)

(Credit: Courtesy of the Richard Nixon Foundation)


Sunday Concert Series
Richard Nixon Presidential Library
18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
(714) 993-5075
www.nixonlibrary.gov

The free Sunday Concert Series at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library gives the public a chance to experience live music in a historical setting. Sponsored by the Nixon Foundation, the series continues each Sunday through the end of the year. February’s first two concerts are special for Valentine’s Day. On Feb. 7, Marleena Barber sings a variety of love songs in a Valentine’s Day-themed cabaret show. On Valentine’s Day itself, Hershel Green performs additional love songs accompanied by Ann Patrick Green. The Feb. 21 show consists of a high school piano recital for senior musicians and the final show of the month, on Feb. 28, will feature music from a pianist, a flutist and a mezzo-soprano. Upcoming months will present artists like the Southern California Children’s Chorus and the Orange County Wind Ensemble.

February 20-28
(Credit: Courtesy of Discovery Cube)

(Credit: Courtesy of Discovery Cube)


Engineer’s Week
Discovery Cube Orange County
2500 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 542-2823
www.discoverycube.org

While Engineer’s Week at Discovery Cube OC is likely geared toward little ones, everyone can learn something from this interactive exhibit. A week of hands-on activities gives visitors a chance to create and build new things. Each day, explore different learning stations to try out specific experiments. Probably the most interesting is the Catenary Arch station, where you can learn to build a freestanding arch. Similarly, there is a station that discusses weight. Visitors can try their hand at building a bridge out of paper, paperclips and miniature weights. The bridges can then be tested to see whose can hold the most weight. If you’d rather build a parachute, there is a station for that as well; you’ll try to ensure that your parachute has the slowest drop time. Don’t miss the egg drop competition on Feb. 27.

Ongoing Until March 6
(Credit: Joan Marcus)

(Credit: Joan Marcus)


“Wicked”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 556-2787
www.scfta.org

One of the biggest musicals of modern times, “Wicked” comes to town, and is telling the story of the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz. Long before Dorothy ever travels to the land of Oz, the wicked witch meets Glinda—a bubbly, popular girl overflowing with beauty who goes on to become Glinda the Good Witch. The two form an unlikely friendship, which is tested throughout the show. As “Wicked” continues to break records across the nation, it’s songs and characters continue to gain popularity. With multiple Tony awards under its belt, the show doesn’t appear to be losing steam any time soon. See it in Segerstrom Hall for a luxurious experience full of big voices and Broadway excitement.

Ongoing Until March 13
(Credit: Dan Harper)

(Credit: Dan Harper)


“Odysseo”
White Big Top
16576 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92603
(866) 999-8111
www.cavalia.net

With a massive white big top constructed just for the show, “Odysseo” is easy to find. The luxurious set of the show will transform the audience to places like the African savanna, an ice cave, the American Southwest and Easter Island via an advanced video screen that is larger even than most movie theater screens. The incredible live performance is accentuated with as many as 70 horses and 45 artists that showcase the bond between people and animals. Performers complete equestrian arts and acrobatics as they take the audience through a dream world. A three-dimensional forest will start to materialize before you and once it comes to life, the show will take you through a magical journey that floods the audience with colors and emotion as well as the theme of freedom. Though it’s only the company’s second show, they have been taking it around the world for five years, making it one of the largest and most complicated traveling shows in the world.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.