La Habra Corn Festival in the ’60s
Courtesy Orange County Archives
La Habra is usually stereotyped as the sleepy north OC burg in which nothing much happens, except when a future president opens a law office or a wacky Octomom moves into the neighborhood. But Nixon's old office is now a parking lot, remembered only by a historical marker that obstructs cars as much as Nixon himself obstructed special prosecutors, and Nadya Suleman moved out a couple of years ago and took her camera crews with her. It took an earthquake swarm in March to get non-La Habrans talking about the city again. For a few days, La Habra was trending higher than even the Sochi Winter Olympics. Take that, Putin!
Shaking aside, La Habra is mostly still sleepy—some stereotypes just happen to be true. But during the weekend of Aug. 1, the city hosts its annual Corn Festival (lahabracornfestival.com), described as "the highlight of the social calendar in La Habra" by the Lions Club, which has been putting it on since 1947, when some recently relocated Midwesterners realized they missed square dances, bingo competitions and hot-buttered ears too much. No one even pretended to care about historical accuracy—corn has never been grown in the city, so yeah, it's all a big lie. Still, some 75,000 people come out for the parade and the festival at El Centro Park (201 N. Cypress St.) every year. And in La Habra, that's a big deal indeed—though maybe not as big as when the Costco opened a few years back, if you want to talk about where things fall on the burg's historical timeline.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the city's cultural spectrum, the big news is that the La Habra 300 Bowl's 13th Frame Lounge (370 E. Whittier Blvd.; www.lhbowl.com), which the Weekly once named OC's Best Dive Bar Attached to a Bowling Alley, is hosting some honest-to-Christ punk shows on Saturday nights. We're especially looking forward to Gutterball Fest II on June 14, an eight-band affair headlined by the iconic Angry Samoans, still fronted by the immortal Metal Mike Saunders. The Samoans may be considered a relic of late-'70s LA/OC hard-fast-loud punk rock, but don't you dare call them old—just call them legendary. (Do they still play "They Saved Hitler's Cock"?)
The Samoans are unfortunately not playing the city's annual Fourth of July fireworks show at La Habra High's football stadium (801 W. Highlander Ave.). Instead, the celebration of the country's 238th birthday will include food trucks, a guy making balloon animals for the kiddies, face painters, and a live band that will most certainly not play "They Saved Hitler's Cock."
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