Southern California

Weekend: Wizarding World Is Open!

The long anticipation finally pays off: Universal Studio Hollywood's Harry Potter-themed land is here.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: We've seen the turrets of Hogwarts rising over Universal City for months. We've heard the online rumors and confirmations and hearsay for years. And now Harry Potter mavens have their much-anticipated, much-buzzed-over, oh-so-magical land at Universal Studios Hollywood as of April 7, 2016. Weekend #1 will be as well-attended as a Yule Ball, but bet fans who can't wait another minute will happily wade into the sea of wizards for that first mug of Butterbeer.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: Raise your bookmark, readers, or tablet in the air like you just care a lot about literary parties. Er, that clearly isn't the catchy phrase we'd hoped, but thank goodness a caboodle of famous novelists and essayists and page mavens'll be roaming the grounds of the University of Southern California. Want to see Carrie Brownstein, Jane Smiley, Buzz Aldrin, Rebecca Serle, Adam Lazarus, Ransom Riggs, and oodles of authors/thinkers beyond? Grab your umbrella and be on campus on April 9 and/or 10. The fest, as always, is free.

The Original Renaissance Faire opens: Chances to don your doublet these days come around so infrequently, no? Here's your chance to go full fantasy Elizabethan, in whatever way that pleases you (royal, jester, fairy, gnome, knight). The Irwindale-based bash unfolds over several weekends, with an April 9 opening and a May 22 close, and between those two bookends come more mini bashes in the form of theme weekends. What's your pleasure? Celtic style, Steampunk cool, or all of the above? Santa Fe Dam awaits, m'ladies and lords...

So Cal Corgi Beach Day: What can be said about these every-so-often Huntington Beach romps except they're now world-famous? Possibly Solar System-famous? And with good reason: When hundreds of squatty sweethearts take to the sand, the cooing headlines write themselves. Saturday, April 9 is the date for the mondo meet-up. Fingers crossed that the wet stuff does hold off for the daytime hours...

Cinderella Day at FIDM: The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising's springtime movie costume exhibit is a popular annual thing, but it has a way of wrapping before April's gone. Here's one way to stretch the magic out: Throw a Cinderella Day, an event built around the exquisite "Cinderella" gown currently on view at the exhibit. The midday lark is free, and "open to princesses and princes of all ages" (so break out your costumes, if you please). Date? April 9, from 11 to 2 o'clock.

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