All posts by Laura Saari
This brew is rationed once a year to craft beer fans. Want a taste? Get in line.
As a beer drinker and Green Bay Packers backer (my dad an “everyfan” who owns a single share of stock in the team), I sometimes enjoy popping by Hollingshead’s in Orange. There’s some fun Packers memorabilia lining the storefront deli-beer bar, and there are so many colorful bottles on the wall, it feels like a library of beer. One February a few years ago, I was passing by early in the morning and saw a line of Apple-release proportions in the lot, at an hour when Hollingshead’s is usually long closed. Some in the line had lounge chairs and tents. I found out they were waiting all night in the cold for a single prize: one glass of beer.
How an inadvertent annual hang-out turned a cul-de-sac into a front yard
Orange County doesn’t do modest particularly well, especially when it comes to holiday lights. I’ve seen twinkle-light reindeer that fly and dis- plays that shape-shift to a rave beat. I’ve seen computer-animated elves dance across front lawns to recordings of the All-American Boys Chorus. By contrast, our family typically dashes out to the front yard […]
Hunting and pecking through one of Orange County’s most unusual annual traditions
Years ago, our preschool needed someone to take home the proceeds of a science experiment, and overnight, I became a Chicken Mama. If you’re thinking Chicken Mama is anything like Cat Lady, you would be right. Trust me, I never thought I’d welcome chickens into my backyard. I’m so afraid of the bird flu, I […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]