Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – April 25-28, 2013

From North County to Old Town to Coronado, San Diego is closing out April with some amazing events. Make sure to check out at least one of these top things to do:

Best of North County Party

San Diego Magazine's Best of North County Party

Enjoy food, wine and good friends at San Diego Magazine’s Best of North County.

Sample, sip and party along with the best that North County has to offer. Special appearances by the region’s top chefs, wine and food tastings from leading dining destinations and unexpected entertainment elements make for an unforgettable evening.

Where: Park Hyatt Aviara – 7100 Aviara Resort Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92011
When: April 26, 2013
Time: 6:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $50-$70
> Find out more about the Best of North County Party

Art Alive

Art Alive at the San Diego Museum of Art

Art comes to life at the San Diego Museum of Art’s Art Alive.

One hundred three floral designers will bring the San Diego Museum of Art’s Permanent Collection to life in a unique and beautiful way, including vibrant displays of color, texture and shape.

Where: San Diego Museum of Art
When: April 26-28, 2013
Cost: Included with admission. Art Alive events have separate pricing.
> Find out more about Art Alive 2013

Spring Garden Festival at Cuyamaca College

Spring Garden Festival at Cuyamaca College - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Pick up new plants, enjoy live music and learn about water conservation gardening at the Spring Garden Festival.

Urban farming is the theme of this year’s festival, which marks the event’s 20th anniversary! Visitors will enjoy demonstrations, the college nursery’s biggest plant sale of the year, Petting zoos, face painting and a farmers market.

Where: Cuyamaca Water Conservation Garden – 12122 Cuyamaca College Dr W. El Cajon, CA 92019
When: April 27, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Spring Garden Festival at Cuyamaca College

Southern California Folklórico Competition

Folklorico Dance in Old Town State Historic Park

Enjoy the traditional Folklorico Dance in Old Town State Historic Park.

Folklórico is a traditional Latin American dance that emphasizes local folk culture with ballet characteristics. Folklórico dancers from throughout Southern California will come to Old Town State Historic Park to perform their best dances as they compete for the championship.

Where: Fiesta de Reyes – 2754 Calhoun Street, San Diego, CA 92110
When: April 27-28, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Southern California Folklórico Competition

Adams Avenue Unplugged

John C. Reilly at Adams Avenue Unplugged - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Actor John C. Reilly is scheduled to perform at the 2013 Adams Avenue Unplugged

Over the course of 2 days and along the two-mile stretch of Adams Avenue, more than 180 artists will play live at 25 venues including restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, galleries and four outdoor community stages. A free shuttle will make it from one set to the next before the music starts.

When: April 27-28, 2013
Time: Saturday: 12:00 to 10:00 PM. Sunday: 12:00 to 7:00 PM.
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Adams Avenue Unplugged

Mission Federal ArtWalk

Mission Federal Art Walk Hands on Fun

Art, music and hands-on fun for the whole family at the Mission Federal ArtWalk in Little Italy.

Always the last full weekend of April, ArtWalk features more than 300 visual artists, San Diego’s top music and dance performers and KidsWalk, an interactive art playground for kids of all ages.

> Read our previous blog post about the 2013 Mission Federal ArtWalk

Encinitas Street Fair

Encinitas Street Fair

Food, music, rides, a beer garden and over 450 vendors at the Encinitas Street Fair.

Enjoy two days of unique food, five live music stages, children’s rides, beer garden, and over 450 vendors selling clothes, accessories, plants, household products, environmental products, art, antiques and home decor.

Where: South Coast Hwy 101 between D and J Streets
When: April 27-28, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Encinitas Street Fair

MotorCars on MainStreet

[youtube http://youtu.be/L3ecOT_F9KM]

Now in its 23rd year, MotorCars on Main Street is a free classic car show featuring more than 350 pre-1973 hotrods, convertibles, roadsters, trucks and other custom cars.

Where: Along Isabella and Orange Avenues in downtown Coronado
When: April 28, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
> Find out more about MotorCars on Main Street

La Jolla Half Marathon

La Jolla Half Marathon Starting Line

Cheer on these endurance runners at the La Jolla Half Marathon.

Enjoy the coastal views while cheering on these endurance runners as they run 13.1 miles through this La Jolla course. (As someone who has run this half marathon before, any encouragement at the top of Torrey Pines is welcome…that is one heck of a hill!). If you are up for it, there is still time to register for the much shorter 5k.

When: April 28, 2013
> La Jolla Half Marathon Course Map (PDF)

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Candice

Foodie Friday: San Diego County Fair Food Edition

Deep-fried Trix Cereal - San Diego County Fair
The 2012 San Diego County Fair is Out of this World

This Years Food Options are Out of the World!

It”s an annual culinary tradition like no other. Hungry participants wonder, “What unusual creation will they cook up this time? How will these food daredevils top themselves this year?” No, it”s not an episode of Iron Chef, and it”s definitely not the James Beard awards…it”s the San Diego County Fair.

Before you head to the San Diego County Fair, Discover Out of This World Deals and Savings!

Carnival games and live music are part of the fun, but food is a major draw for many visitors to the annual event, as vendors compete with each other to see who can create the most outlandish concoctions. This year”s fair theme is “Out of This World,” and that just might be how you would describe many of the menu offerings. Here”s a little sampling of what you can expect to feast on.

Put Bacon On It

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Legs - San Diego County Faironline casino width=”520″ height=”346″ />

Bacon-wrapped jumbo turkey legs go for a spin at the San Diego County Fair

The most talked about offerings usually include just about anything wrapped in bacon or deep-fried, and this year is no exception. In the bacon-wrapped category, you”ll find everything from bacon blanketed hot dogs to “Porky Poppers,” bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeños. But if size is what you”re after, then a bacon-wrapped turkey leg just might be what you”re looking for.

Breakfast…Deep-Fried

Deep-Fried Trix Cereal - San Diego County Fair

Deep-fried cereal, Trix variety

Last year, fried Kool Aid had the nation all atwitter. This year, the buzz is over deep-fried cereal – you have your choice of Trix or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. You”ll also find “Pie Fries” (deep-fried pie crust strips with strawberry preserves on the side), a “Chili Asteroid” (chili and cheese, deep-fried in a hush-puppy batter), and – continuing with the fried drink mix experiment – deep-fried Tang.

Deep-fried Trix Cereal - San Diego County Fair

Will deep-fried Trix be any good? There's only one way to find out.

Fresh Lobster

Lobster at the San Diego County Fair

The Fresh Lobster is Delicious

Another new offering in the San Diego County Fair”s dining selection is…lobster?! Yes, you read that right! In their fair debut, The Lobster Shack is serving up steamed Maine lobster tails.

With so many options, what will you try at this year”s fair?

Alison

Out of this World Deals for the 2012 San Diego County Fair

San Diego County Fair Ride
San Diego County Fair Ride

Ride This for Less

The San Diego County Fair will be “Out of this World” when it kicks off June 8 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The theme promises everything from space exploration and science fiction to visitors from other planets. But there’s plenty that we Earthlings can do to keep our fair expenses grounded.

Save on Admission

San Diego County Fair Best Pass Ever

  • For super fans, the Best Pass Ever can’t be beat. It includes daily admission – all 24 days of the fair – for just $24. You’ll need a school or government-issued photo ID to use the pass.
  • Tuesdays are the magic day for kids 6-12 years old. They get in free! Kids 5 and younger get in free everyday.
  • Kiddies can’t make it on a Tuesday? No problem. Youngsters 6-12 can get in free any day if they read 10 books and have it verified by their teacher or librarian. The certificate you’ll need to get signed can be downloaded in English or Spanish.
  • Adults can get $4 admission on opening day and on Tuesday, June 12. You’ll need a ticket available with any $10 purchase at Albertsons stores. (Tickets must be purchased in advance; none will be available at the fair.)
  • Been laid off in the past year? Present an unemployment check stub and a photo ID at the will-call window on June 19 or 26 to get free admission for yourself and a guest.
  • County auto dealers are in on the action this year. Starting June 1, visit a Toyota dealership to get a coupon valid for two adult admissions for the price of one. Visit a Ford dealership to get a 4-tickets-for-$28 coupon.

Free Entertainment and Unlimited Rides

San Diego County Fair Bike Ride

  • Once you’re inside, there are tons of free things to enjoy – including concerts by big name artists. Get free unreserved seats at performances by top artists including Kenny Loggins, KC & the Sunshine Band, Ben E. King, Bill Medley, Switchfoot, Lonestar, Grand Funk Railroad and La Arrolladora Banda El Limón.
  • Love the rides? Wednesdays and Thursdays until June 28 are “Pepsi Pay-One-Price” days. For $30, get a wristband that allows unlimited access to Fun Zone and Kiddieland rides from noon until 8:00 pm. The deal is available on certain other days – but you’ll have to check availability, then buy and print out your Pay-One-Price voucher online. (There’s a $2.50 fee for online purchases.)

Food

San Diego County Fair Chicken on the Grill

Savings Fresh from the Grill

  • On Tuesdays more than 100 food vendors offer smaller portions for $2. Or bring your own picnic; there are six designated picnic areas. (No alcohol, glass containers or sharp utensils.)

Parking

  • Avoid the fair’s $10 parking fee by opting for free parking at Horsepark, about 2 miles east of the fairgrounds, at 14550 El Camino Real; a free shuttle will get you to the front gate. On weekends and Wednesdays there’s additional free parking (with shuttle service) at Torrey Pines High and Mira Costa College’s San Elijo campus.

> Find More Exciting Things to Do Before and After the Fair at SanDiego.org

Know of any other great San Diego County deals or savings? Let us and others know in the comments below. Even if you don’t know of any, tell us what deep-fried treat you are most looking forward to trying.

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

Painting - Kidsfest San Diego

This is a perfect weekend to bring the kids to San Diego for a whole host of family friendly events. Below are your five to try.

1. Kidsfest San Diego

Painting - Kidsfest San Diego

The second annual KidsFest will transform the NTC Promenade in Point Loma, June 9 and 10 into a wonderland of play, with activities designed to stimulate and celebrate the imagination. Signature events include a Creation Station, where kids can paint masterpieces or Dance Avenue – a pure, nonstop musical haven for kids to drum or dance the day away. Save $2 with this coupon for everyone!

2. San Diego County Fair

San Diego County Fair Best Pass Ever

Opening June 8 and running through July 4, the San Diego County Fair invites the universe to its “Out Of This World” celebration! Explore both the serious and not-so-serious sides of space exploration. Don’t forget to try some of the out of this world food offerings including the Porkabello Kabob (bacon-wrapped, Gouda-stuffed portabella mushrooms on a stick) or Deep-Fried Cereal!

3. Julian Gold Rush Days

3 Miners - Julian Gold Rush Days

Drive up to Julian on June 9th or 10th to experience the Julian Gold Rush Days. Activities include historical encampments (with a chance to meet miners, mountain men & cowboys!), gun fighting, reenactments & mock claim jumping, tomahawk throwing demonstrations, and gold panning. The old-fashioned mining camp will offer free admission, vendors, an arts & crafts market, food & drink, gem mining, children’s pioneer games, free parking & plenty of family fun.

4. Carlsbad Beach Fest

Carlsbad Beach Fest, photo Ed Andrews

Carlsbad Beach Fest. Photo Courtesy of Ed Andrews

Head up the coast on June 9 for the fifth annual Carlsbad Beach Fest. Join over The Fest brings together the community for a fun-filled annual celebration on one mile of beach, stretching from Pine Avenue to Tamarack State Beach. The festival features competitive sporting events, live music on multiple stages, food, green product vendors, kite-flying, sand-sculpting, a health and safety expo, opportunity drawings and prizes, a massive beach cleanup and much more.

5. Taste of Gaslamp

Taste of Gaslamp Logo 2012

Taste of Gaslamp

Dine your way around one of San Diego’s most liveliest neighborhoods during the two-day Taste of Gaslamp. The Gaslamp Quarter Association hosts a great food sampling event each year, showcasing its Chefs & World Class Restaurants. This fantastic and delicious event June 9 and 10 provides an opportunity to test out many locations in one afternoon.

> Find More Great Events on the Event Calendar at SanDiego.org

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Brent Bernasconi

San Diego County Fair Opening Day

Del Mar Fair Fun Zone

While the doors to the San Diego County Fair doors officially open today at 11:00 am, the fun will begin at 10:00 am with the opening ceremonies. During the opening ceremonies, there will be entertainers, a marching band, raising of the national flag and singing of the national anthem.

After the ceremony ends you can head inside to enjoy rides, shopping, carnival games (I can never knock down all three bottles!), concerts and of course deep-fried goodness (try the deep-fried Koolaid, it tastes like a pink doughnut). For thrill seekers, try the 130 foot bungee jumping. I got a chance to jump during the Fair’s media night last week and while it looks easy from the ground, it gets a little scarier as the crew slowly raises you up to the apex. You just have to lean forward and let go!

For today you can check out the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge to see top canine athletes compete in diving, pole weaving and more (if only my dog was that well-trained). If you stay well into the evening, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo will be performing at the Heineken Grandstand Stage and Badd Co, a Bad Company tribute band at the Coors Light Rock on Stage.

For a full list of entertainment and concerts, check out the San Diego County Fair website. Also, check out our tips for frugal fair-goers.

Alison

Tips for Frugal San Diego County Fair Fans

Ride This for Less

The San Diego County Fair opens June 10 and runs through July 4. (Closed the first three Mondays.) General adult admission costs $13 and those 62 and older pay $7 – but deals abound.

  • For super fans, the Best Pass Ever can’t be beat. It includes daily admission – all 22 days of the fair – for just $22. You’ll need a school or government-issued photo ID to use the pass.
  • Tuesdays are the magic day for kids 12 and younger. They get in free. (Admission for kids 6-12 usually costs $7.)
  • Can’t make it on a Tuesday? Youngsters up to age 12 can get in free ANY day if they read 10 books and have it verified by their teacher or librarian. The Certificate you’ll need to get signed can be downloaded in English or Spanish. (Kids 5 and younger get in free everyday.)
  • Been on unemployment during the past year? Get free admission for you and a friend on June 21 and 28. Just go to the Will Call window near the O’Brien gate with a recent unemployment check stub and a photo ID. The same deal is available to Golden State Advantage (public assistance) cardholders.
  • Adults can get $3 admission on Tuesday, June 14. You’ll need a ticket available now with any $5 purchase at Albertsons stores. Albertsons also offers $11 adult admission tickets – $2 off the regular price, valid any day. (Remember to get these tickets in advance; none will be available at the fair.)
  • Additionally there are discounted tickets available on military bases for those with appropriate ID.
  • Once you’re inside, there are tons of free things to enjoy – including concerts by big name artists. Get free unreserved seats at performances by Pat Benatar, Randy Travis, Switchfoot, the Doobie Brothers, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Foghat, Uriah Heep, Joan Jett, Neon Trees, The Beach Boys, Grand Funk Railroad, REO Speedwagon, Big Time Rush, La Arrolladora Banda El Limón, Larry Hernandez and Espinoza Paz.
  • Love the rides? Wednesdays and Thursdays are Pepsi Pay-One-Price days. For $30, fairgoers can buy a wristband that allows unlimited access to Fun Zone and Kiddieland rides from noon until 8:00 pm. The deal is available on certain other days – but to get it, you’ll have to check availability, then buy and print out your Pay-One-Price voucher online. (There’s a $2.50 fee for online purchases.)
  • Food? On Tuesdays more than 100 food vendors participate in Taste of the Fair, offering smaller portions for $2. Save even more by bringing your own picnic to the fair; there are six designated picnic areas. (No alcohol, glass containers or metal knives and forks allowed.)
  • Ticketmaster is selling a variety of Fair Value Packs online. The best deal must be purchased before opening day. Pay $51 for four adult admission tickets, a parking pass, four drink coupons (valid with food purchase at participating vendors) and 50 ride tickets; it’s a $93 value. (Starting opening day, the package drops the parking pass.)
  • The Passport to Savings booklet is available at the fair for $5. It includes coupons valued at more than $10,000, ranging from a return ticket to the fair to discounts on food and rides.
  • Parking a car at the fair costs $10; it’s $15 for preferred parking. But there’s free parking at Horsepark, just to the east of the fairgrounds; a free shuttle will get you to the front gate. On weekends there’s additional free parking (with shuttle service) at Torrey Pines High and Mira Costa College’s San Elijo campus.
Stephenie

4th of July Fireworks

The epic 20-minute Big Bay Boom fireworks display over San Diego Bay is the largest display in the region. At 9 p.m. on July 4th, fireworks are launched simultaneously from four barges placed around the bay and choreographed to music broadcast on 105.7 FM radio. Back for its 10th year, the Big Bay Boom fireworks display can be seen throughout downtown San Diego, neighboring Coronado, Point Loma and many communities throughout the city. Great viewing spots are all along the bay front and aboard popular harbor cruises. 

Coronado will celebrate a patriotic Independence Day with events on Saturday, July 3 including a morning rough water swim, two-hour American flag-waving parade along Orange Avenue, the community’s main thoroughfare, Art-in-the-Park and an afternoon concert in Spreckels Park.  The festivities culminate on July 4 with a spectacular fireworks display over Glorietta Bay that complements the Big Bay Boom fireworks show just across the water.

On July 4 at 9:30 p.m., SeaWorld San Diego will celebrate Independence Day with a special, patriotic Shamu’s Skysplash USA fireworks show over Mission Bay.  One of the most popular fireworks shows for locals, best viewing areas are from the shores of Mission Bay, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.

After a spectacular fireworks show at 9 p.m. on July 4, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts take the stage at 9:30 p.m. at the annual San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  The concert and fireworks are included with fair admission, and all the exhibits halls and rides stay open until midnight.

Farther up the coast in Carlsbad, LEGOLAND® California will present a star-spangled Red, White and BOOM! Celebration on July 4 with live musical performances by The Jumpitz at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. and festive fireworks at 8:30 p.m.   During the day, family favorite Uncle Sam will also be roaming LEGOLAND on stilts, as guests enjoy old fashioned lawn games including potato sack races  and LEGO Limbo.

Fireworks over San Diego Bay

Stephenie

5 to Try This Weekend

OB Chili Cook-off

  1. The 31st Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-off is this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Newport Avenue.  This FREE event will  feature more than 200 vendors, art, food, rides, a children’s area, a SkateJam, entertainment on five stages and of course, delicious chili!
  2. Tantalize your taste buds this weekend with a downtown dine around.  The 17th annual Taste of Gaslamp Quarter will be held both Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., offering more than 30 food samples each day. This self-guided tour will introduce you to a number of downtown San Diego’s best restaurants so “come hungry and leave happy.”  Tickets are $30 per person.
  3. This Saturday and Sunday is the 24th Annual La Jolla Festival of Arts and Food Fair from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the UCSD campus.  This event will showcase amazing art from over 200 artists, live entertainment, celebrity chef demos, an amazing street chalking exhibition and more.  Admission is $10. 
  4. On Saturday, the San Diego Zoo will kick-off of its Nighttime Zoo summer celebration when guests get to stay late and explore the park until 9 p.m. As the sun sets, fun after-hours entertainment begins including an interactive show in with Dr. Zoolittle, high-energy animal art; amazing acrobats, tropical musical performances and a high-flying bird show.  Nighttime Zoo is included in park admission and will be offered until September 6.
  5. Celebrate 100 years with the San Diego Symphony’s Bridgepoint Education Summer Pops concerts.  The outdoor concert series will kick-off this Saturday with the Tux N’ Tennies Summer Bash, staring Toni Braxton. Concerts take place all summer long along San Diego Bay and feature food, fireworks and fantastic music. This year’s 100th anniversary pop series last through August and will includes performances by Gladys Knight, Marvin Hamlisch, LeAnn Rimes, and more. Click here for more concert information; ticket prices vary.

In other news: Don’t forget to cheer on the US soccer team this Saturday as they battle it out with Ghana.  You can catch the game at any of these places.

Stephenie

5 to Try This Weekend

art walk - where you're sure to have an art attack

  1. One of my favorite annual events, the Mission Federal Art Walk in Little Italy, will fill the streets with arts and entertainment this Saturday and Sunday.  Among the multiple works of art will be live musicdelicious food and beverages, vendor booths and fun activities for kids and families.  The FREE event takes place from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. both days.
  2. This weekend the old-west comes to San Diego for Western     Week(end) at the Del Mar National Horse Show, one of the most prestigious equestrian events in the U.S.  The event starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday in Horsepark at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and tickets are $10 per person. You can also stay late on Saturday night for the Night of the Horse event at 7 p.m. where riders will perform an 1814 rendition of The American Circus; tickets to this event are $18 for adults and $10 for children 12 years and younger.
  3. If the horse show wasn’t enough excitement, then grab your cowboy hats and giddy up for the 46th Annual Lakeside Rodeo. This annual event has grown from a small-town event to a nationally recognized rodeo and takes place at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds in San Diego’s East County.  There are two shows on Saturday: 2p.m. and 7 p.m.; and a 2 p.m. show on Sunday.  Ticket prices range from $5 – $20 for adults and children.
  4. This Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. is the 25th Annual Linda Vista Fair on the 6900 block of Linda Vista Road. The FREE event promotes cultural awareness and understanding with multiple exhibits, a film festival, ethnic food and amazing artistic performances.  Highlights of the fair will include the World Arts Village with colorful live performances; the Kids Zone with pony rides, magicians, face painting and more; the Teen Spot with hourly entertainment, rappers, street dancing and DJ music; and an 11 a.m. parade.
  5. This Saturday and Sunday is the Annual San Diego Adams Avenue Roots Festival along Adams Avenue and in Adams Park in University Heights.  This FREE event will feature live music performances on multiple stages, beer gardens, a diversity of food, street buskers and hundreds of vendors and craft booths.  The festival takes place from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Guest Blogger

Fall Back in Time This Weekend

Halloween may be on Saturday, but that won’t stop the Gaslamp Quarter from “dressing up” in period costume the next day, Sunday, November 1, during the 9th annual Fall Back Festival.

The street fair includes “wild west” entertainment such as staged shootouts and rope tricks as three stages showing folk dancing, live bluegrass music and more.  Kids can participate in crafts and contests, pan for real gold, and learn about Caliornia history through puppet shows and live demonstrations of lost skills.

And, of course, there will be all the fun stuff you’d expect to find at any good street fair — food, face painting, caricature art, inflatable jumps and carnival games.

Juggler

Fall Back Festival takes place on Island Avenue — between 4th and 5th Avenues — Sunday, November 1, from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.  (Remember, our clocks fall back one hour that day, too.)  Admission is $5 for ages 3 and older.  For more information, visit www.gaslampquarter.org or call (619) 233-4692.