100 Reasons to Be Ecstatic About Summer In OC!

Summer here is bliss, better than anyplace else in the States

100 Reasons to Be Ecstatic About Summer In OC!

* This article was modified on June 24, 2011.

In a county grouped by fundamental divisions—North County vs. South County, Republican vs. Democrat, Stanton vs. everyone else—there is one thing nearly all of us can agree on: that Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido is a sell-out. Oh, and that summer here is bliss, better than anyplace else in the States.

This season is our communion, a time when we all, unburdened by social definition, come together for shared experiences at the same places—the Orange County Fair, the cliffs of Laguna, the blistering heat of Hootenanny—we've patronized for decades. Muslim, evangelical, La Habran, San Clementean—we all gather for about three months of celebrations, chilled treats, festivals, or acts of kindness and camaraderie we wouldn't think of at any other time. But our communities are so diverse that some activities have yet to become an Orange County (and Long Beach) summer tradition along the lines of the U.S. Open of Surfing or decrying the Irvine Co.'s continuing development of our agrarian past. The following is a list of the 100 greatest things about summer in la naranja: some are familiar, some not, all necessary to enjoy the summer at its fullest. Now excuse us while we drink away another middling Angels' season.

Star Foreman
Star Foreman

Location Info

Map

Orange County Fair & Exposition Center

88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Costa Mesa

Mo Ran Gak Restaurant

9651 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Garden Grove

Bowers Museum

2002 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92706

Category: Museums

Region: Santa Ana

Fullerton Farmers' Market

801 W. Valencia Drive
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Street Food

Region: Fullerton

Irvine Lake Cafe

4621 Santiago Canyon Road
Silverado, CA 92676

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Silverado

Villa Romano Green Farms

200 Avenida La Pata
San Clemente, CA 92673

Category: Restaurant > Street Food

Region: San Clemente

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

12827 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Category: Retail

Region: Garden Grove

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

2200 S. Ritchey St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705

Category: Retail

Region: Santa Ana

Knott's Berry Farm

8039 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Buena Park

Aliso Beach

31131 S. Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92652

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Laguna Beach

Mutt Lynchs

2300 W. Oceanfront
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Newport Beach

The Fisherman's Restaurant

611 Avenida Victoria
San Clemente, CA 92672

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: San Clemente

Costa Mesa Speedway

88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Sports and Recreation

Region: Costa Mesa

Mugs Away Saloon

27324 Camino Capistrano
Laguna Beach, CA 92677

Category: Music Venues

Region: Laguna Niguel

Anaheim Convention Center

800 W. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802

Category: Services

Region: Anaheim

Fullerton Sports Complex

560 E. Silver Pine St.
Fullerton, CA 92835

Category: Sports and Recreation

Region: Fullerton

The Festival Amphitheatre

12762 Main St.
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Garden Grove

Ocean Institute, Dana Point

24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Dana Point

Angels Stadium Of Anaheim

2000 E. Gene Autry Way
Anaheim, CA 92805

Category: Music Venues

Region: Anaheim

Irvine Meadows Fairgrounds

8800 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Irvine

Art-A-Fair

777 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Community Venues

Region: Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach Festival of Arts

650 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Laguna Beach

Sawdust Art Festival

935 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Laguna Beach

El Centro Lions Park

201 N. Cypress St.
La Habra, CA 90631

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: La Habra

Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center

6200 Atherton St.
Long Beach, CA 90815

Category: Music Venues

Region: Long Beach

Captain Dave's Dolphin & Whale Safari

24440 Dana Point Harbor Drive Dana Point
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Dana Point

United States Sailing Center

5689 E. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90803

Category: Services

Region: Long Beach

Oaks Blenheim Riding Park

Via la Plata
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: San Juan Capistrano

Pacific Marine Mammal Center

20612 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Services

Region: Laguna Beach

320 Main

320 Main St.
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Seal Beach

Matador Cantina

111 N. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Fullerton

Pacific Amphitheatre

88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Music Venues

Region: Costa Mesa

AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC

100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Long Beach

Dockside Boat & Bed

316 E. Shoreline Drive
Long Beach, CA 90802

Category: Hotels and Resorts

Region: Long Beach

Orange County Zoo

1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Orange

Cook's Corner

19122 Live Oak Canyon Road
Coto De Caza, CA 92679

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Coto de Caza

The Bruery

715 Dunn Way
Placentia, CA 92870

Category: Breweries and Wineries

Region: Placentia

Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Pacific Coast Highway and Warner
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Huntington Beach

Lantern Bay Park

25111 Park Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Dana Point

Pearson Park

401 N. Lemon St.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Anaheim

Hi-Time Wine Cellars

250 Ogle St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Wine Bar

Region: Costa Mesa

Centennial Farms

88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Services

Region: Costa Mesa

Newport Cruisers

2233 W. Balboa Blvd.
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Retail

Region: Newport Beach

Catholic Worker

316 Cypress Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Category: Services

Region: Santa Ana

Wild Rivers Waterpark

8770 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Irvine

Doheny State Beach

25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Dana Point

The Rinks- Anaheim Ice

300 W. Lincoln Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Category: Sports and Recreation

Region: Anaheim

Oak Canyon Ranch

5305 Santiago Canyon Road
Silverado, CA 92676

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Orange

Creme Tangerine

2930 Bristol St., Kiosk 2
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Retail

Region: Costa Mesa

Las Brisas

361 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Laguna Beach

Tanaka Farms

5380 3/4 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Restaurant > Raw Food

Region: Irvine

Portfolio Coffee House

2300 Fourth St.
Long Beach, CA 90814

Category: Coffee Shops

Region: Long Beach

Art Theatre of Long Beach

2025 E. 4th St.
Long Beach, CA 90814

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: Long Beach

Details

Photography and post-production: Star Foreman
Hair and makeup: Autumn Sanders
Styling: Devon Nuzer
On-set stylist: Sunshine Harding
Models courtesy of Models International: Haley Bartlett, Thor Knai, Samantha Summers

SEE ALSO:


VIDEO: Click here to go behind the scenes of our cover photo shoot.


INFOGRAPHIC: Click here to see the last orange groves in Orange County.

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1. IT'S WHEN TABLE SETTINGS BECOME COOL
It's only during summer that table settings become cool, and it only happens at the Orange County Fair, which offers county residents the opportunity to create tablescapes (curse you, Sandra Lee, for that term's popularity) to be judged by etiquette mavens with levels and rulers. The nearly lost art of which glasses belong on which side of the plate and which forks are which get revived and interpreted through a breathtaking array of colors. The decorations are as creative—there was once a "Second Breakfast" table setting meant as an homage to the hobbits in the Lord of the Rings trilogy—as the menus that accompany them are horrifying. The Orange County Fair at the Orange County Fairgrounds, 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa; www.ocfair.com. July 14-Aug. 15. Remember this information: We're only repeating it this once—and right at the top.

 

2. NAENGMYEON TIME!
When the mercury heads into the upper 90s and Garden Grove Boulevard gets so hot the pavement shimmers, when the only sound in the afternoon is the humming of air-conditioning units, that's when it's naengmyeon time. Naengmyeon is a Korean dish made of cold buckwheat noodles with various toppings—slices of beef, a slice of Korean pear, half a hardboiled egg, vegetables—and it comes in two varieties, both of which beat the heat. Bibim naengmyeon (literally, "mixed buckwheat noodles") is mixed with a spicy sauce made of chile-spiked bean paste, which belies the cold temperature at which the dish is served; the resulting sweats could make anyone forget the heat of the day outside. If sweatin' to the chiles doesn't sound appealing, mul naengmyeon ("water buckwheat noodles") is offered as a huge, stainless-steel bowl of the chewy noodles served in broth so cold it should have ice chips floating in it. There's no meal more refreshing in the summer. Try the version at Morangak. The bizarre thing for a dish so perfectly suited for a blazing-hot summer is that it's traditionally a wintertime dish in North Korea, where it was invented. 9651 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 638-1177.

 

3. MEXICAN FLAGS AT THE HB 4TH OF JULY PARADE
The Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade is famous (and famously long) and full of American flags. But in a subtle reminder that California's history doesn't only include the Stars and Stripes, the Colegio de Bachilleres Plantel Baja California in Mexicali come down Main Street every year in black uniforms with a giant Mexican flag. They're a great band and draw a lot of cheers, but in the years it hits 80 degrees before 10 a.m., those black uniforms must be punishing. Along Pacific Coast Highway from Eighth to Main streets, then up Main to Yorktown, Huntington Beach; www.hb4thofjuly.org. July 4, 10 a.m.

 

4. CANNING OUR BACK YARD'S BOUNTY
Summertime means fruit—and tons of it, from strawberries to plums, apricots to figs. It's hard to not splurge when the heady scent of fresh peaches invades the nostrils, but the penalty for overbuying is the heartbreak of moldy fruit a few days later. Learn to can your own fruit, and enjoy the taste of summer in bleak February. Canning is very popular in a down economy; nearly every grocery store and hardware store in Orange County carries a wide selection of supplies, including glass jars. Don't know how to get started? The Internet is a treasure trove, but several groups offer canning classes on an occasional basis—Google 'em! And if your local searching brings you to classes by Delilah Snell, significant other of our own Gustavo Arellano, well, tell her we said hi!

 

5. ORANGE INTERNATIONAL STREET FAIR
What do you get when you put tens of thousands of people in the Orange Circle? The unofficial end of summer in Orange County, the Orange International Street Fair. While the decorations are cheesy (imagine that, someone using a capital sigma for the Es in "GREEK") and the parking absolutely hellacious, the music is good, and the food from the organizations in the middle of the street are a cut above the usual festival food. Where else can you get Norwegian pastries and Swiss cervelas in OC? There's beer in plastic cups throughout, sit-down beer at three ends (at the brick-and-motor Bruery Provisions, Haven Gastropub and the District—you're on your own for the east side of Chapman), and more crafts and things to buy than any person ever needs. Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street, Orange; orangestreetfair.org. Sept. 2-4.

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2 comments
Eric Brightwell
Eric Brightwell

*Reasons 45, 58, 67, 87 and 99... because LA County is next door.

Cathie
Cathie

Break of Dawn is in Laguna Hills, not Laguna Niguel. So I guess the only thing Laguna Niguel has going for it is the bare-assed folks at Mugs Away. Big whoop.

 
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