Juicy Times: Anaheim Citrusfest

Delish doings await, on the final day of April, in the Anaheim Packing District.

TO KNOW ANAHEIM, through and through, is to know that fruit, as well as bricks, helped build its past. It's one of California's great citrus cities, and its historic ties to the bright juicy orbs that were emblematic of the West Coast dream, a century or so ago, still run deep. Take a walk through the Anaheim Packing District, which itself recalls the city's early citrus industry, and ponder how many oranges once passed through the town on their way to points elsewhere. (The answer? So many, many, many oranges, and other fruits.) To honor its citrus-y story, and to celebrate the pleasures of springtime, the people of the Packing District throw an annual shindig that is as juicy and as flavorful as a freshly peeled tangelo. The Saturday, April 30 party is "in the tradition of the California Valencia Orange Show of the 1920's," so if you've been longing for a community-sweet to-do with history at its heart, the Anaheim Citrusfest is your shindig. Oh, and sip-nice, too, as there are free samples of...

TANGERINE JUICE... to try, and free lemonade for the kids. The gratis things don't stop at the juice table, however; look for pay-nothing rides on Polly the Trolley from 4 p.m. to 8 in the evening. Revelers who are 21+ may want to swing by the Hard Lemonade Garden -- adult beverages may be found within -- while people looking for a creative nosh will find it at the district's beautiful centerpiece, the Anaheim Packing House, a place rife with remarkable restaurants and shops. The landmark is, in fact, "the last remaining citrus packing house in Anaheim," so visiting it to pay homage will round out the theme of the day. Live tunes, kid-cool crafts, bocce, a cooking contest, and other outdoorsy, soak-in-the-sun doings fill out the fruit-yummy edges of the alfresco festival. A fest that reminds us of our region's citrus-strong history, and its fruit-important contemporary times, too. To ponder our past, and our now, while sipping a tangerine juice, for free, feels like a quintessential Anaheim-ish thing to do on the final Saturday of April.

AS FOR THE "HISTORY AT ITS HEART" PART? The Anaheim Historical Society is the beneficiary of the day.

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