Spicy Spectaculars: If you're a pepper person or you just like cuisine with kick, check it out: Several fests, and one eating competition, are bringing the toasty heat treats in the days ahead. Bristol Farms is hosting a Hatch green chile tasting at two stores on Aug. 18, Long Beach BBQ Festival'll be the home of Rib Village to Rainbow Lagoon from Aug. 17-19, LA Taco Festival arrives at Grand Park on Aug. 18 to raise money for homeless youth, a Sausage Fest sizzles in Cherry Valley on Aug. 18 and 19, the California Hot Sauce Expo pours it on in Anaheim on Aug. 18 and 19, and the Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Competition returns to Nisei Week on Aug. 18 (look for the booth where you can buy your own gyoza). Oh goodness, it is hot and delicious and hot out. (Two "hots" required, yep.)
Plum Festival: Need something juicy and sweet to cool all of that heat down for a bit? Old World in Huntington Beach is the place to go, Aug. 19 is the date to go there, and you best be ready to order a host of plum-oriented pastries. Plum cake and plum crepes are on the menu, as well as heartier fare, and to tug your heartstrings? Dachshunds shall race, which is plum adorable. The festival brings the fruit-tastic fun from 2 to 6 o'clock.
Antelope Valley Fair & Alfalfa Festival: It's a big happy 80th anniversary for this large-scale Lancaster lark, which sports a midway, all sorts of walk-around-n-snack goodies, cute animals, and a host of major acts on the concert stage. Chaka Khan, Styx, and several other great acts'll play, but if you like vroom-vroom, be sure to catch the Demolition Derby and other motor-stravaganzas during the Aug. 17-26 run.
Happy 65th, Downey McDonald's: And speaking of great anniversaries to note, the World's Oldest Operating McDonald's restaurant is marking a major birthday with two hours of special speeches and old-school vibes. Can you stop by and buy a burger during the Aug. 18 fast-food-y festivity? Absolutely. Will you see a cool car or two from 1953, or thereabouts, the year this McDonald's began scooping fries into bags? It could definitely happen, so stay sunny and keep an eye out for vintage sights, outfits, and more.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Festival Runway Fashion Show: California is known as a center for couture, but the clothes that will go on memorable display in Laguna Beach on Aug. 19 are some of the most magnificent and hard-to-replicate togs around. Why? Because these one-of-a-kind outfits are made from found objects and recycle-ready goods — think CDs, lotto tickets, coffee filters — and they're beautiful, colorful, and mind-opening. Have to see this eco-cool sashaying? Festival of Arts is the hip/happening place to be.