All posts by Laura Saari
Celebrating the Old West in a funky, canyon way
The annual Silverado Country Fair strives to be a reenactment of 19th-century boomtown canyon life in Orange County, but it doesn’t stay on script. (We somehow doubt there were dog-kissing booths or hot rods at old-time country fairs.) But while the Silverado fair falls short as a replica, it’s close to achieving something better: an […]Read more
Can an annual farm-to-table meal show Orange County what ’sustainable’ really means?
I used to live near a strawberry farm in San Juan Capistrano, and sometimes when I’m making jam I still go down there to get organic berries. This summer near the stand, I noticed a white, two-story farmhouse with a tangle of native plants flowering out front. I’m sure I must’ve seen it before—I’ve driven […]Read more
No corn in La Habra? No problem. Let’s have a corn festival anyway.
As the La Habra Corn Festival celebrates nearly seven decades this month, I feel compelled to ask the obvious: Is there—forgive me, was there ever—any corn growing in the home of the corn festival? Because I’ve never seen any. Actually, it can be hard to find much corn anywhere in the county. In many local […]Read more
OC Fair time again. My three teenagers scramble off to spin upside down at two Gs with their bellies full of brisket, grilled corn, and ice cream. I head into my own quiet bubble: The exhibit buildings. ¶ Air conditioned. Teen repellent. A place where space is still given to the scintillating art of table […]Read more
At this springtime event, you learn that not every O.C. school is focused on test scores
The maypole ritual seems as anachronistic as the Waldorf School where it takes place. Every first Saturday in May for the past quarter century, in the ancient village of Costa Mesa, hundreds of children have marked the arrival of spring by dressing in white, weaving flower headdresses, and dancing with bright ribbons around a maypole. […]Read more
How an annual three-day desert bacchanal helps sell Vestal watches
The truly cool won’t just go to Coachella this month. They’ll get invited to one of the exclusive parties that encircle the big music festival. Dozens of small events beckon the boho class to the desert at the end of April, but one of the real ragers is Vestal Village, a sprawling, three-day, invitation-only campout […]Read more
Why do Orange County’s sun-kissed sailors ‘break the ice’ to kick off yachting season?
Since the only ice in our harbors this time of year is floating in our margaritas, it might come as a surprise that local yacht clubs employ loud cannons to “break the ice” so the boating season officially can begin. That centuries-old ritual of the yachting community persists wherever there are sailors, even though we […]Read more
Can the new Roman Catholic owners match the magnificent decadence of ’The Glory of Christmas’?
Ah, the braying donkeys, the bleating sheep and goats, the bellowing camels, the gathering storm clouds, and oh, the 25-mph angels soaring overhead. ¶ In a weird sort of way, I’m missing the livestock parade that each year formed the cast of “The Glory of Christmas,” the big-stage reenactment of the Nativity story that persisted […]Read more
And watch out. Willa Porter may just pass you.
Willa Porter climbs out of a silver Mustang convertible in the Dana Point Harbor parking lot and greets me with a smile. Long blond hair, bangs, all-white sweats, flirty eyelash extensions. She takes a business call in the parking lot from one of her five sons, something involving the paving company she owns. So this […]Read more
Since when do Orange County’s fieldworkers wear designer shades and shoes?
I’ve been writing about Orange County’s rituals since 2008, and in all that time I’ve resisted using one particular phrase. But this time I can’t help it. As I stand on a hill looking down on a vineyard in Upper Newport Bay, it comes out as a defeated whimper: “Only in Orange County.” Spread out […]Read more