L.A. Weekender: Dinosaurs, ice castles, fire, art and graffiti

The view is beautiful at the Fairplex offices this morning. A glance towards the north gives us a spectacular view of snow-capped mountains and thick clouds covering the hillsides. While we are tempted to just advise everyone to hit the slopes, we realize that might not be ideal for you. We came up with a few fun alternatives that don’t involve snow…

ID 100200558 L.A. Weekender: Dinosaurs, ice castles, fire, art and graffiti Photo courtesy of Supertrooper from freedigitalphotos.net

Wonder of Dinosaurs: We’ve traveled back in time as Wonder of Dinosaurs opens today. More than 100 still and animatronic dinosaurs stomped into Fairplex and have settled into Expo Hall 7 for a full week of prehistoric fun. Would-be paleontologists of all ages can view life-size dinosaurs or jump around in a dino bounce house, ride a dinosaur or participate in a number of other fun activities. Wonder of Dinosaurs opens today (Nov. 22) and runs through Sunday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily. Tickets are $20 online and $23 at the door. For additional information, visit www.wonderofdinosaurs.com

CHILL at the Queen Mary: If you plan on being in the South Bay/Westside part of town, consider stopping by the Queen Mary this weekend. The ginormous ship transforms into an icy palace that includes a 13,000 square-foot igloo, ice castles, an ice cave, ice skating, tube racing and Santa’s Toyland among other things. Tickets to Queen Mary Presents CHILL start at around $15 for kids and $20 for adults.. The event kicks off tonight (Nov. 22) and runs through Jan. 5.

Catching Fire at L.A. Live: Catching Fire, the much anticipated Hunger Games sequel opens this weekend and because we’re L.A., we can’t just have a normal opening weekend at the movies like everyone else. Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live invites movie goers to walk down the red carpet that was used at the actual film premiere. The red carpet experience is take place on Georgia Street in front of the Premiere Lobby entrance. You can walk the red carpet from now through tomorrow evening (Nov. 23). For additional information, visit the Regal Cinemas website.

A day at the Getty: If you’re looking for a bit of art education in your life, the Getty Center is offering a free architecture tour this Saturday at 10:15 a.m. The 45-minute tour invites art and architecture enthusiasts to explore the intricate and unique designs of the Getty. Garden tours are also offered throughout the day and if you plan on staying longer, we recommend the Illuminate Your Holidays evening event. Starting at 5:30 p.m., the Getty comes alive with holiday lighting. Sip on hot cider, enjoy the spectacular views of Los Angeles and appreciate the art that illuminates the  center at night. Information on all Getty happenings is available here.

Graffiti Run 5k: Picture this: bright blue skies, puffy clouds and 70-degree weather. Pair that with bright colors, loud music and a rush of endorphins. If you are even remotely down for a walk in the fresh air, we recommend you check out the Graffiti Run 5k. Walk, skip, jog or run a 5k through our grounds and allow yourself to get splashed in color. Then, party it up with your fellow 5k-ers at the finish line. Not a bad way to end the weekend… or kick-off the holiday fun. The Graffiti Run is on Sunday, Nov. 24th. Registration fee is $55, not including parking or service fees. For additional information or to register, click here.

The Fairplex L.A. Weekender highlights events throughout Los Angeles County, from the heart of downtown to the beach cities to the IE. Additional information about all listings can be found at the event’s official website. If you have suggestions for an event, leave a comment in the box below or email us at tanji@fairplex.com

Thanksgiving recipes from McKinley’s Grille

gobble Thanksgiving recipes from McKinleys Grille  Jingle Bells is playing on the radio. Christmas trees have invaded shopping malls. Disneyland is covered in fake snow. Netflix has prepared entire queues of holiday specials. There’s no denying it: Tis’ the season. For all of it. Starting with Thanksgiving next week.

Whether you’re planning a feast full of family recipes or taking the entire fam bam out for a glorious restaurant meal, there are myriad ways to get in the spirit of thankfulness (before diving into the spirit of consumerism.)

We have two recipes from our resident Chef David Teig. We hope these two ideas will help to enhance your already-delicious Thanksgiving feasts.

Chef Teig’s Turkey Gravy Recipe

scan0003 264x300 Thanksgiving recipes from McKinleys Grille

Photo taken from IE Weekly Magazine


6# turkey necks
1.5 gal chicken stock
2 ea. onion (medium)
3 stalks celery
2 ea. medium carrots
1 T black pepper corns
1 t coriander seed
2 ea. bay leaf
1# butter
2 cups all purpose flour


  1.  Roast turkey necks at 400F degrees until necks start to brown.
  2. Cut onions, celery, and carrots into large chunks.  Toss lightly in oil and roast at 400F until vegetables starts to brown
  3. Combine necks and vegetables in a large stock pot.  Add pepper, coriander, bay and chicken stock.
  4. Bring to simmer and reduce by ½.
  5. Melt butter in separate pot and whisk in flour to make roux thickener.   Keep moving roux slowly  on a low heat until the mixture turns light brown.
  6. Strain the turkey stock and put back on a medium heat.  While stock is simmering, slowly whisk in roux until gravy reaches desired thickness.
  7. Season with salt to taste.

We posted this second recipe last year but it sounded so delicious that we just had to share it again. After all, you need stuffing at every Thanksgiving meal.

Grandma Carol’s Cornbread Pecan Stuffing


  • 2 lb. cornbread
  • 12 oz. 1”diced fennel
  • 12 oz. 1” diced onion
  • 3 oz. chopped garlic
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups toasted pecans
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup ground fennel seed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Dice cornbread into 1.5” cubes.
  2. Sweat fennel, onion and Garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Mix cornbread with fennel, onion, and garlic.
  3. Mix in remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Stuff in turkey and roast or put in medium roasting pan and bake covered at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving meal or recipe? Share it with us in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Dinosaurs stomp into Fairplex

It’s just your typical rainy day at Fairplex. Hot tea and coffee sitting on office desks, warm soup being made in the break room, dinosaurs rolling into Expo Hall 7…

Just a few of the dinosaurs invading Fairplex campus

Wonder of Dinosaurs opens tomorrow for dino-lovers of all ages. Life-size dinosaurs are quickly filling one of our most spacious expo halls and yet another is full of dinosaur rides, dinosaur bounce houses, a gold and gemstone panning site and other fun activities for the smaller would-be paleontologists in the family.

It’s crazy to think that just two months ago this hall was filled with shopping booths and Fairguests. You wouldn’t think it’s the same building, with trees, bushes and of course, life-size dinosaurs roaming the floorspace. Versatility at its finest.

For more information on Wonder of Dinosaurs, visit www.wonderofdinosaurs.com. For more information on Fairplex visit www.fairplex.com.

FOOD NEWS: Ramen cake

Our minds were taken for a whirl with the invention of the Ramen Burger but this is a whole new level of “wow.” It hasn’t hit the States quite yet, but it’s making a splash in Japan. I present to you the Ramen Cake:

ku xlarge FOOD NEWS: Ramen cake Ramen Cake. Photo from Kotaku.com

At first glance, this dish looks like your typical bowl of Ramen. What you are actually looking at is a cake made inside Ramen bowl and designed to look like a bowl of noodles, complete with tempura, kamaboko (fish cake) and green onions. Upon closer inspection, customers will see that the whole concoction is actually a dessert cake:

ku xlarge1 FOOD NEWS: Ramen cake Ramen Cake, half-way eaten. Photo from Kotaku.com

The “broth” is actually made of jelly and the cake itself is made from pudding, cream and other dessert favorites. Although the cake hasn’t hit mainstream Japanese bakeries, the number of stores making them has grown significantly over the past year. You can see more photos and get the full scoop over at Kotaku.com

A sneak peek at Fairplex in December

Our creative team has started decorating for the holidays at Fairplex! A quick walk through Tapestry revealed rows of Christmas trees, bags of “snow”, stacks of presents and tables upon tables of cheery winter decor.

We’ll be posting a more in-depth look at how we prepare for the holidays around our campus, but for now here are a few photos and a couple Instagram videos we put together during a quick walk around campus:

Christmas2013 015 A sneak peek at Fairplex in December  Stacks or ribbon, waiting to be used

Christmas2013 008 A sneak peek at Fairplex in December  Just a few Christmas boxes… there are many more!

Christmas2013 023 A sneak peek at Fairplex in December  Found a little winter owl hanging out in the Avalon


Event Industry News: Walking in a Winter Wonderlab

Google’s Winter Wonderlab

Google creates Winter Wonderlabs: Leave it to Google to create a high-tech holiday marketing experience. Why go to the Apple store to shop when Google has “stores” that involves virtual snowfall and igloos. Google has selected malls across the nation for their seasonal Winter Wonderlabs. Shoppers can browse the latest Google/Windows products, step into a giant snowglobe to make slow-motion videos, play around in virtual snow and take a break from the typical holiday shopping mayhem. Not bad Google. And by not bad, we mean it’s pretty awesome.

Social media: Twitter has created custom timelines. You can pick and choose which tweets you want featured on any given topic and add them to a personalized timeline. What that means, is companies can pick and choose which tweets they want featured regarding their company and integrate that specific feed onto their blog, website and Twitter itself. Customized timelines ensures that a specific audience is seeing exactly what the company wants them to see, whether that’s highlighting an event, a new product or company news.

Keeping it local: Fairplex has begun decorating for the holiday season. The creative team is preparing to transform our campus into a festive oasis of Christmas trees, sparkling ornaments and brightly-wrapped boxes of goodies. The Graffiti Run 5k and Wonder of Dinosaurs also arrives at Fairplex this weekend, making it a b u s y week on our grounds.

Our bi-weekly Event Industry News summaries include event trends, social media and technology industry updates and events news from Los Angeles County. 

L.A. Weekender: Santa Claus, basketball and a Turkey Trot

It’s going to be a quiet weekend at Fairplex. Next weekend we welcome dinosaurs and graffiti to the grounds but this weekend we want to recommend some fun activities happening in other parts of Southern California…

ID 1007652 L.A. Weekender: Santa Claus, basketball and a Turkey TrotPhoto courtesy of BJWOK from freedigitalphotos.net

Santa’s Arrival: Okay, so it might be a little early to start thinking about Christmas, but for those of you who are gung-ho for a little ho-ho-ho, Santa Claus will be arriving at Victoria Gardens tonight, complete with fireworks, a tree lighting ceremony and snowfall. The fun starts at 7 p.m.

It’s basketball season: The Lakers are back in L.A. and that means the Staples Center will be packed tonight. Grab a bite to eat at L.A. Live,  then walk over to the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies game. Or if you’re more of a Clippers fan, save the sports-mania for Saturday night when they play against the Brooklyn Nets.

Turkey Trot: The Autry Farmers Market is hosting their annual Turkey Trot this Saturday, with activities for the whole family. Parents and older kids can participate in the 5k or 10k Turkey Trots while younger runners can do the 1k Turkey Dash (5+.) There is even a Turkey Toddle for ages 2-5. There will be live music, games, prizes and more. Might as well start the holiday season with some cardio, right?

Family Day at the Hammer Museum: Enjoy a leisurely brunch in the city, then take the family to the Hammer Museum for a day full of activities. You can opt for watching the classic film, The Princess Bride at 11 a.m. or you can get crafty at the kid-friendly “Oh, If These Things Could Talk” workshop at noon. Students are invited to explore the design and personality of objects, led by Staci Steinberger. All activities are free.

Happy Friday!

The Fairplex L.A. Weekender highlights events  throughout Los Angeles County. Additional information about all listings can be found at the event’s official website. If you have suggestions for an event, leave a comment in the box below or email us at tanji@fairplex.com

“You’re waiting for a train…”

Big Boy moved for the first time in 51 years today! Train fans, media crews and Fairplex employees witnessed the largest steam engine in the world move 1,200 feet across the Fairgrounds, marking her first steps on the journey to Wyoming.

bigboymove2 012 Youre waiting for a train... Big Boy rolls steadily along the newly built train tracks

A spokesperson from the RailGiants Train Museum thanked Union Pacific for taking Big Boy for restoration. He acknowledged that she will be missed by all local train enthusiasts, a statement backed by the dozens of train fans who came out for the special occasion.

Ed Dickens, leader of the project, also spoke stating that the restoration of Big Boy won’t be an easy task. “It is meticulous, methodical work,” he said. “We build each part of the [Fairplex] track with acute attention to detail. And this is just the beginning.”

bigboymove2 054 Youre waiting for a train... Ed Dickens and crew, speaking at the press conference

Ed went on to thank the L.A. County Fair Association and Fairplex for being welcoming hosts for Big Boy and all the other trains at the RailGiants museum.

Union Pacific also confirmed that Big Boy will be returning to Southern California! UP plans to spend several years restoring the metal giant before she’s ready to run, but as soon as she’s able, she will be coming back.

“We want to bring her down here often. We love California!” Ed said. With the warm weather and the scarcity of rain, Fairplex has been an ideal home for a train like Big Boy.

bigboymove2 125 Youre waiting for a train... One of Big Boy’s youngest fans takes the engineer’s seat

All guests were invited to come up close and personal with Big Boy. Fans of all ages flocked to the engine, talking to Union Pacific workers and getting their questions answered. Some lucky fans were able to climb aboard the train too!

Big Boy will be making her way across the Fairgrounds from now until Tuesday, the 19th. After that it’s a brief stop in Colton, CA for two weeks of repairs, then it’s onward towards Wyoming!

It’s been fun to watch the train tracks being built over the past few weeks, and now finally seeing Big Boy herself move for the first time in decades. It’s been an adventure from beginning to end.

Were you here to see Big Boy this morning? Share your experiences with us in the comment box below! We’d love to hear from you.

We will be posting additional updates on the train’s progress on the blog as well as our social media pages. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional photos and coverage.

For more information on Big Boy and Union Pacific, click here. To learn more about the RailGiants Train Museum, open year-round at Fairplex, visit www.railgiants.org.

“Steady as she goes!” An update on Big Boy

The NHRA finals have wrapped up, and that means Big Boy is ready to continue her journey across the Fairgrounds. The largest steam engine in the world continues her mile-long trek from Fairplex to the MetroLink station and we want you to join us for part of the move.

15 225x300 Steady as she goes! An update on Big Boy We would like to invite all of Big Boy’s fans to a special presentation this Thursday, November 14th at 10 a.m.  to find out more about the future of Big Boy. Union Pacific’s operations director, Ed Dickens will be explaining more on the process of moving Big Boy and their plans for restoring this historic steam engine.

The presentation will be held at Fairplex, on-site of the big move. Please enter through Gate 1 (1101 W. McKinley Ave. Fairplex, CA 91768) and park in Section 8 of the main parking lot. From there our parking attendants will guide you to the press conference.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to leave a comment here and we’ll be happy to answer!

Steady as she goes! Big Boy’s moving…

Fairplex Snapshot: Auto Club NHRA Finals

You can hear it before you smell it. You can smell it before you see it. It’s the 49th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals. Each year the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series brings the best of the best to the Auto Club Raceway at Fairplex for the world championship series. It’s fast. It’s loud. It’s exhilarating. We love it!

Day 2 is half-way over and the burning rubber can be smelt as soon as you enter the parking lot. You can hear the engine roars all over campus, including our offices on the other side of the grounds!


Despite the craziness of the drag races, it’s well-organized from start to finish. Drivers, pit crews and engines are lined up and ready to go at all times.

nhrayday2 128 Fairplex Snapshot: Auto Club NHRA Finals It’s an ongoing parade of trucks, cars and bikes from behind-the-scenes

nhrayday2 002 Fairplex Snapshot: Auto Club NHRA Finals Cars are driven to the racing strip

nhrayday2 112 Fairplex Snapshot: Auto Club NHRA Finals With the drivers strapped in and ready to go

nhrayday2 028 Fairplex Snapshot: Auto Club NHRA Finals NHRA Finals – Day 2

It’s crazy to watch, but even crazier to imagine the feeling of adrenaline the drivers get as they race down the strip. The world championship series ends on Sunday, but there’s still time to check out all the action! You can purchase tickets at www.nhratix.com.

Happy Friday!