Ever feel as if you’re the only “World of Warcraft” freak in Orange County? You’re not alone. There are loads of special-interest clubs meeting locally for events, idea-swapping, and good old-fashioned conversation on their favorite topic. Hundreds of groups, both large and small, cater to some of the most esoteric passions imaginable—from tarot card reading to simply celebrating their height. We’ve selected a few to get you started on your quest.
1. The Tall Club
This local social group, above, has seen things from a lofty vantage point since 1963. Tall Club International’s female members must be at least 5-foot-10 and male members 6-foot-2. The Orange County chapter’s 75 members meet regularly for fondue parties, wine tastings, miniature golf, and road trips (with nary a Yaris in sight). This month’s barbecue and dance are set for Aug. 20. According to President Shirleen McNamee, it’s fun “just to walk into the room and not be the tallest one there.” Membership is $30 annually, $45 for couples. Shirleen McNamee, 714-965-0492, firstname.lastname@example.org, orangecountytallclub.com.
2. Science Club
Founded in 2008 as Skeptics in the O.C.—the name recently was changed—this group of about 200 fact-seekers enjoys monthly gatherings to discuss just about anything based on fact. Group leader Brian Dunning occasionally does live podcasts at these events for Skeptoid, his award-winning science series. Pub nights are generally the first week of the month. Free membership. email@example.com.
3. ‘World of Warcraft’ meetup group
If you visit Azeroth more than Trader Joe’s … you just might be a “WoW” fanatic. This fantasyland, filled with warriors and the requisite forces of evil, is a multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) with millions of international fans. The 80 avid players in this group enjoy discussing new elements of the game and swapping strategies. They meet twice monthly over dinner and at other events. Chris Kelly, 714-512-4544, meetup.com/ocwowgroup.
4. Nishiki Koi Club
Koi are at the top of the pet list for the 50 families making up the Anaheim-based Nishiki Koi Club. Members breed carp hybrids and educate the public about proper koi husbandry, which includes building and maintaining dazzling back-yard ponds. Second-Saturday lunch meetings usually feature a speaker and a raffle. The initial family membership is $74. Louie Hernandez, 714-345-1532, firstname.lastname@example.org, nishikikoiclub.com.
5. South African Expat Club
Started in 2004 and now with nearly 400 members, this active group provides community, companionship, and fun for South Africans adjusting to life in the Northern Hemisphere. Count on monthly brunches, lunches, or dinners in Southern California, and bigger events such as rugby day. Membership is $30 a year. Gloudina Robbertse, 949-218-4878, email@example.com, meetup.com/saffasclub.
6. Astrological Network
Celebrating its 25th year, the club’s raison d’être is a greater understanding of events both past and future through interpretation of astrological formations. Most events include speakers of “local, national, and international renown.” The network meets on second Wednesdays from September until June at Polly’s Pies in Laguna Hills; next meeting is Sept. 14. Membership is $8 per month; special events are extra. Laura Rose Des Jardins, 714-612-7335, firstname.lastname@example.org, meetup.com/scanastro-com.
7. Amateur Radio Club
The 90 members of the Orange County Amateur Radio Club, who serve us all by providing emergency communications, meet twice a month at the Santa Ana Red Cross, sometimes with speakers. Join now for the September outing with your new buds to Ham-Con, the American Radio Relay League’s local meetup in Torrance. Membership is $20 per year, $10 for the first additional family member. Steve Brody, 714-974-0338, email@example.com, w6ze.org.
photograph by Kyle Monk
This article originally appeared in the August 2011 issue of Orange Coast magazine.