OC Fair: Local fair followers know that each county spectacular is distinct and has its particular pluses. As for the Costa Mesa midway-bright, concert-cool extravaganza, which shall fair it up, majorly, from July 11 through Aug. 10? That ol' red barn is a favorite (chicks and mama pigs). The shows at the Pacific Amphitheatre are outsized (c'mon, Pat Benatar is a headliner). White Mountain, that huge steer, typically makes a cameo. And the funny foods? The Pop Rocks-covered donut is one of this year's sweet stars. Let's type that again, for good measure: Pop. Rocks. Cherry. Donut.
FRENCH FESTIVAL: Many a cafe and restaurant will be offering up specials on frites and French wines ahead of Bastille Day -- that's Monday, July 14 -- but Santa Barbara is le home to one of le biggest parties, a bash that passed its quarter-century mark and can-can dances on into the future. Make for Oak Park for croissants, tunes, art, and, oh yes, that famous Sunday evening Poodle Parade (which includes all sorts of pups, for what it is worth). Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13
CHRISTMAS IN JULY: Has your Santa hat been sitting there, in the closet, looking rather forlorn? Fear not, festive soul: Two different happenings on Saturday, July 12 are all about adding some sugary sparkle to the summer season. Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo shall screen the vintage treat "Christmas in July" and Eat|See|Hear has "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." That's a fundraiser for dogs in need, by the by.
CHINATOWN SUMMER NIGHTS: There are only three of them, during the summer, so missing out? Not an option. Consider the food truckery and DJ spinnery and the projecting of large-scale videos and the cooking demos and the other merriments that go down around Chinatown's Historic Plaza. It's free, arriving on your bike is kind of the thing to do (although driving or going Metro are fine, too), and the scene is warm-night lively. Saturday, July 12
FOOD GPS RIB FESTIVAL: And if you hang around for a day, or head home and return, you'll be back at this all-ribs all the time ribs-laden ribs fest, which'll feature the meatastic offerings of over a dozen chefs and restaurants. Cliff's Edge, The Grilled Cheese Truck, and Komodo Food'll all be calling upon Chinatown. You? You need to show and you'll need at ticket. They're $65 bones each. Yes, bones. How could we not type that? Sunday, July 13