Tis’ the season for a Holiday Half Marathon

Santa Claus hats, elf ears and running shoes were seen for literal miles this weekend as thousands of runners participated in the annual Holiday Half Marathon at Fairplex. A flurry of snow spurred runners across the starting line, through our campus and around the surrounding hills and parks of Fairplex. Check out the fun in the video!

Event Industry News: Instagram Direct, Chanel, Super Bowl parties and Santa stalking

Social media: The social media world was b u s y this weekend. Instagram debuted their newest feature, Instagram Direct. IG Direct is a hybrid combining the privacy of Snapchat and the filters, comments and longevity of Instagram. It’s a simple way to capture and share moments of your life with the people who matter most in lieu of the entire world of Instagram. Snapchat may offer the blessing of time-sensitive images–you can send a hideous selfie to your best friend and have it evaporate into the Snaposhere before she can save it for black mail–but Instagram Direct allows you to filter, edit and create a lasting image for your mom, dad, siblings and besties. Whether the new feature will be a hit or a failure remains to be seen. Meanwhile in Twitter land, the blocking feature was removed and then immediately brought back amid an uproar of protests from tweeters.

Chanel comes to Dallas: One of the beauties of our Fairplex campus is our venue versatility. We can host events of any shape or size. As home of the L.A. County Fair, we wanted to give a nod to the Texas State Fairgrounds for hosting Chanel’s annual Métiers d’Art show this year. Talk about diverse use of event space! Guests were brought back to America’s roots upon entrance with a classic 50′s mock drive-in movie theater, vintage cars and concession stands among other elements. A few Texans were peeved by the lack of local representation (200 international journalists and celebrities does not a Texan make), but design king Karl Lagerfeld did a stunning job with the event as expected.

Super Bowl XLVIII: They may have cut back the tailgating for Super Bowl 2014 but the marketing campaigns are as bright and bold as ever. Time Warner plans to take over New York’s meatpacking district for a Super Bowl pop-up that will feature “high-profile music acts and surprise celebrity guests.” Fans can enjoy high-energy entertainment and get pumped for the upcoming game with fellow fans on the streets of New York.

Tracking Santa:Mashable released a list of their top four methods of tracking Santa as he makes his trek from the North Pole to the rest of the world. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has taken the reigns when it comes to stalking Santa around the globe but Google has created its own devices for finding the man in red.

L.A. Weekender: Holiday half marathon, Festival of Carols, Santa Claus and boats

candles L.A. Weekender: Holiday half marathon, Festival of Carols, Santa Claus and boats

Photo courtesy of Chris Sharp from freedigitalphotos.net

How is already the middle of December? The holiday festivities are out in full force and whether you like it or not, you’ll most likely be spending at least a few days out celebrating the end of the year.

If you want to stay home wrapped in a warm Snuggie we totally commend that. But for those of you who are digging the Christmas tunes and the abundance of gingerbread houses, you’re in for a great weekend.

Holiday Half Marathon (and 5k):The annual Holiday Half Marathon is happening this Sunday at Fairplex. The course gives runners a beautiful view of the surrounding hills and mountains and a behind-the-scenes view of our scenic campus. After you’ve beasted the 13.1 trek you can celebrate at our Holiday Finish Line Festival. If a half-marathon sounds like the equivalent of scaling Mt. Everest to you, opt for the Holiday 5k Fun Run or the take the kids on the 1 mile Penguin Waddle on Saturday, December 14th.  Register at runholidayhalf.com

Festival of Carols: Take a trip to the beautiful Disney Concert Hall and treat yourself to an afternoon of classic carols sung by one of the best choirs in the world. It is a long-standing L.A. tradition that celebrates musical talent and merits an appearance by Santa Claus himself. The concert begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Additional information can be found at www.lamc.org 

Holiday Concert on the Pier: If you’re in the South Bay/Westside of town, head over to Redondo Beach this Saturday for the third annual holiday concert on the pier. Enjoy a hot cup of cocoa and a beautiful view of the ocean as Santa Claus comes to town for an afternoon of songs, games and photos. Don’t forget to bring an unwrapped gift valued at $5 or more for the toy donation! Additional information can be found here.

Marina Del Rey Boat Parade: Tis’ the season to bling your boat up. The 51st annual Marina Del Rey Boat Parade brings dozens of boats through the Marina decked out in elaborate lights and decor, and emanating pure holiday cheer. A traditional fireworks display starts the evening off this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Grab some blankets and your favorite people, and enjoy this fun parade.

Luminaria Nights: The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont transforms into a twinkling wonderland on Friday and Saturday nights for their seasonal Luminaria events. These evening walks feature live acoustic music, delicious cookies and hot cider as you walk along paths, guided by thousands of candle-lit lanterns on the Indian Hill Mesa. Visit any time between 6 – 9 p.m. this weekend. Additional information can be found 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

Throwback to the 1960s Fair

During the Fair, the Broadway street is characterized by the bustling crowds, sizzling turkey legs and funnel cakes and the SkyRide carrying passengers above the jolly chaos of the Fair. Before the SkyRide was built, we used to  have a monorail that would take guests not only across Broadway, but around the entire Fairgrounds. This photo was taken back in the 1960s. Things sure looked different… but the Grandstand still stands strong!

Throwback to the 1960s Fair

FOOD NEWS: World’s Largest Gingerbread House

They say “everything’s bigger in Texas” so it’s no surprise that the world’s largest gingerbread house calls the Lone Star state it’s home.

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Using 3,000 pounds of brown sugar, 7,200 eggs, 22,304 pieces of candy and a literal ton of butter, the Texas A&M Traditions Club along with the community of Byron, Texas created a pad sweeter than any other in the world. And yes, the exterior is entirely covered in gingerbread and icing. This gingerbread giant is measured at 39,201-cubic-feet, beating the former Guinness World Record giant at the Mall of America by several thousand feet.

In true holiday spirit, the house was built as a charity event to fund a new facility for the St. Joseph’s Hospital’s trauma program. They have raised more than 150k from the 600 daily customers.

The house is roped off so that those with an insatiable taste for adventure don’t pull a Hansel and Gretel and grab a piece for their own eating pleasure.

Holiday cheer at Fairplex

Fairplex is officially all decked out for the holidays! Each year we open our campus for company holiday parties, charity fundraisers and myriad other festive events. The same creative team that brings you the L.A. County Fair whips out their Santa hats to make some holiday magic at the Wine & Beer Marketplace, Top of the Park restaurant, Avalon, hotel & conference center, expo halls and McKinley’s Grille.


When life gives you lemons, join a parade.

rain 209x300 When life gives you lemons, join a parade. This past Saturday was one of the rainiest days we’ve seen this year in Southern California. Granted that’s not saying much, but it was 40 degrees out and just a little chilly…

Despite the weather conditions, we ventured out to the annual Upland Christmas Parade to celebrate the start of the holiday season and the upcoming Lemon Festival.

Preparing for the parade itself was quite the adventure. We had a total of five days to create an Upland Lemon Festival parade layout, make decorations and put together a float. Crazy? Just a bit. Doable? We think so!

Lemons, meet Christmas.  

uplandparade2013 003 225x300 When life gives you lemons, join a parade.

Voila! Lemons, meet Christmas.

Our theme was simple: Lemons and Christmas. The real question was how to merge the two together. Luckily, our marketing coordinator is a genius and she created lemony yuletide cheer within minutes.

She used a hot glue-gun to stick lemons on Christmas wreaths and placed a bright green ribbon in the center for a spring-meets-winter flourish.

To decorate our lemon carts, we used basic materials from craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels. We created lemon canopies using fake 6′ ivy garlands and stringing real lemons into the chains of leaves, using garland wire to secure them.

lemon1 768x1024 When life gives you lemons, join a parade. Real lemons, fake ivy and lots of garland wire 

We hung the lemon garlands along the sides of each cart. The left over ivy garlands wrapped around the poles of the carts, making each vehicle look like a miniature lemon grove. For the final touch, we used fruit barrels and antique baskets and filled them with lemons and oranges, placing them on the back of the carts.

uplandparade2013 006 795x1024 When life gives you lemons, join a parade. One of our little lemon carts icon smile When life gives you lemons, join a parade.

The result: three lemon-infested parade carts and three very dedicated staff members and their families driving through downtown Upland, smiling, waving and tossing boxes of LemonHeads to hundreds of parade watchers.

Dedicated parade participants and the citizens of Upland helped the holiday cheer shine through, despite the wind and the rain. That being said, when the Upland Lemon Festival comes around we will be grateful for the bright blue skies of spring.

L.A. Weekender: Arts & crafts, holiday fun and Mozart

It is officially the holiday season which means even more fun than usual in the city of Los Angeles. This week we bring you arts & crafts, holiday shopping options, music, ice skating, Santa Claus and even a little opera for you. Without further delay, your L.A. Weekender:

christmas L.A. Weekender: Arts & crafts, holiday fun and Mozart Photo courtesy of papaija2008 from freedigitalphotos.net

First Fridays on the Westside: First Friday on the Westside is always a festive event, but the first weekend of December brings a little extra holiday magic to the array of food vendors, art galleries and street performers that gather on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Holiday treats and shopping specials abound while the Venice Holiday Sign Lighting Ceremony is happening just down the street beginning at 6 p.m. Twinkling lights and Christmas trees will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into winter, despite being that gorgeous view of the sunset over the ocean. Meanwhile, over in downtown Long Beach, Santa Claus is coming to town to celebrate First Friday and a number of stores will be selling their best holiday goods. Enjoy a dinner on the harbor and support local bands as they perform on streets throughout the city.

Harvest Festival: The 2013 Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show is spending its final weekend of the year at Fairplex. Thousands of talented vendors will have their best wares on display, just in time for the holiday season. Jewelry, photography, clothes, home decor and a number of other unique items will be on sale. The festival is open this Friday-Sunday. For more information visit www.harvestfestival.com.

Downtown on Ice: Imagine skating under a dark blue winter sky, accented by the unique architecture of downtown Los Angeles. Downtown on Ice is the traditional ice skating rink set up in Pershing Square from November – January. The crowds will be coming in a furious flurry as the holiday season amps up so hitting the rink now would be wise.

The Magic Flute: Mozart enthusiasts should opt for the LA Opera for their Sunday Funday. A classic love story of good vs. evil, The Magic Flute has finally come to Los Angeles. The show starts at 2 p.m., ideal for those wishing to enjoy a leisurely brunch before settling in for an afternoon of bright costumes, beautiful set design and talented vocals. Tickets are available at www.laopera.org

Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show: Over on our side of Los Angeles County, the Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show is happening on our grounds. This antique auto show features Corvettes, Porsches, street rods and an assortment of other classic cars. It is truly a car-lover’s paradise. The fun starts early (5 a.m.!) on Sunday morning. For more information, visit www.fairplex.com

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

Winter on a Southern California farm

One of the best parts of being in Southern California is the severe lack of below-freezing temperatures. This gives us the ability to grow produce on our farm year-round. We took a stroll down to the Farm to see what Chef Teig and horticulturist Don DeLano have growing during the winter months.

windmillview Winter on a Southern California farm There’s a lot of green to be seen on the Farm 

While our summer vegetables have been harvested and devoured, Japanese vegetables like Daikon (white winter radish), Tokyo bekana and shiso are flourishing. Thanks to our new farm expansion, we are able to grow more specialty crops than ever.

shiso Winter on a Southern California farm Red shiso is highly prized in Japanese cuisine for its pigment and flavor

Lemons and kumquats are everywhere on the farm. We have several lemon trees and our baby kumquat trees are having no problem producing their tiny tasty fruit. By the time spring arrives, you will be able to eat these kumquats fresh from the tree.

brussel sprouts for days 300x200 Winter on a Southern California farm

No shortage of brussel sprouts here!

The dusty entrance to Dude Ranch is almost unrecognizable with all the produce growing around it. Winter vegetables like cauliflower, brussels sprouts and kale are in full bloom.

Judging from these crops, McKinley’s Grille will have some delicious (and nutritious) soups and salads on their menu this season.

We are excited to see what crops will emerge during the spring and summer months. More than 100 specialty crops are expected to be planted within the next few years. After all, when you expand from a 1/3 acre plot of land to five acres, the possibilities are virtually endless!


Event Industry News: Amazon drones, Middle Earth and Fairplex gets artsy

Amazon announces Prime Air, a drone delivery service

Amazon drones: You know the feeling you get when you order something cool from Amazon, then impatiently wait 3-5 business days for its arrival? That could be changing. Last night Amazon introduced the possibility of packages delivered via drones. Drone delivery will deliver packages right at your doorstep within thirty minutes of ordering. It’s instant gratification on a whole different level. The service is called Amazon Prime Air and is expected to launch in 2015.

Middle Earth lands in Los Angeles: In celebration of the world premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, a dragon-coated New Zealand Boeing 777-300 will be descending on L.A. tonight. Spectators will catch more than glimpse of the 177-foot dragon decal on the side of the plane as it lands. Other L.A.-based Hobbit events include a giant Lord of the Rings pop-up book which will be on display at the Beverly Hilton hotel through this Friday. Props and backdrops from the films will fill the “pages” of the expansive book. It isn’t open to the public but select fans will be able to view it this Wednesday. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hits theaters worldwide on Dec. 13th. Photo taken from Tourism New Zealand.

Keeping it local: The Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show is running its final 2013 event at Fairplex this weekend. It is the largest indoor art & craft show in Southern California and will feature American handmade items including jewelry, clothing, specialty foods, photography, original art, hand-turned wood ceramics.

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