Weekend: Nisei Week Japanese Festival

Head for Little Tokyo for the long-running celebration's grand procession.

NISEI WEEK JAPANESE FESTIVAL: This Little Tokyo-based celebration has been around for over 70 years, making it one of our city's oldest community celebrations. There are several goings-on over several days, but be sure to catch the Grand Parade on Sunday, Aug. 12 and the colorful, art-pretty Tanabata Festival outside the Japanese American National Museum. The much-photographed, wind-fluttery decorations will catch the breeze from Friday, Aug. 10 through Sunday. Aug. 12.

BREW AT THE ZOO: The sudsy evening-time stroll-about is kicking off the weekend on Friday, Aug. 10. Craft beers are the stars, as you might expect, but there are bigger stars to consider: The beautiful animals who call the Los Angeles Zoo home. Raise one of your 4.5-ounce beers to the beasties and enjoy being at the park when the heat has tapered off a bit. A ticket is $40 and you'll want that in advance, if possible.

GREAT SAND SCULPTURE CONTEST: It's really unfortunate that this weather isn't quite right for a big, sand-focused beach festival. Oh, ha ha, we're elbowing you; this weather is Beach Day Perfect (tm). Get out to Long Beach and spend Saturday, Aug. 11 watching the ephemeral artworks come together and Sunday, Aug. 12 admiring them. Oh, and the traditional sand castle? We're *way* beyond that now. Way.

LOS ANGELES FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL: Dozens of celebrity chefs call our city home, so seeing them en toque isn't too hard. (Okay, we got fancy with the "en toque" part, but we feel fancy when discussing celebrity chefs.) But seeing them a whole lot over one weekend where the eating is fine and the cooking demos are helpful and the glasses are full of tempting beverages? A pleasure. The festival plays out at various venues through Saturday, Aug. 11.

"HOT AUGUST NIGHT" 40TH ANNIVERSARY: Are you a Neil Diamond fan? What were you doing in 1972? If you answered "yes" to question #1 we'll guess you were at The Greek for question #2. The singer-songwriter recorded his famous album at the venue in August of that year, and now he is back for a few dates -- Saturday, Aug. 11 is the first -- to pay tribute. Spoiler alert: It will be a hot August night, so dress appropriately, or, better yet, dress a la Neil, with his signature sexy open-necked shirts.

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