Celebrate summer with these alternative events

In Arts & Entertainment, Music
Courtesy of MCT
Courtesy of MCT

It happens year after year. Summer comes as quickly as it left and students are once again planning their concerts, trips and Fourth of July celebrations.

More often than not, the customary summer vacation is planned with an over-hyped trip to Las Vegas, where the young crowd will typically drink in excess, lose money at the blackjack tables or commit a worse offense that isn’t even worth mentioning.

But it definitely involves the infamous slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

If a gritty, smoky weekend in Vegas doesn’t appeal to you, or if you are just looking for a new, unique affair to attend this summer then rest easy, here are some alternative summer events to help those who want a little less Vegas, and perhaps a little more art, music and live entertainment.


After the success of the 2003 Long Beach Tattoo Convention on the Queen Mary, the Ink-n-Iron Kustom Culture Festival was born. Since its launch, the event has only grown in attractions, attendees and overall excitement.

Hot-rods, live music and pin-up contests are among the few things to expect at the convention.

With dolled-up rockabilly girls roaming around and burlesque shows, there’s no shortage of people watching.

But the most popular item on the menu isn’t the pin-up pageant or the shopping; it’s actually the tattoo convention.

Tattoo artists and their booths take up the entirety of the Queen Mary’s inner three floors.

Artists from 30 states and 25 countries will be in attendance for this year’s festival.

Art and tattoo competitions will also ensue over the three-day event.

In addition to the art and hot-rod aspect of the event, attendees can also see live music at any of the five stages placed throughout the grounds.

The stages this year will offer Sublime with Rome, Iggy and the Stooges, The Offspring, Wanda Jackson and NOFX among many, many others.

Ink-n-Iron will take over the Queen Mary, and Long Beach for that matter, from June 7 to June 9.

If you’re interested in attending the 10th annual Ink-n-Iron festival for its various attractions, visit its website for ticket and event information. Ink-n-Iron.com.


The definition of hootenanny is “a social gathering or informal concert featuring folk singing and, sometimes, dancing.”

There is no better way to describe the one-day event that takes over Oak Canyon Ranch every early July.

Although now it is definitely a little more formal in the way of it’s planning and preparation, the laid back outdoor festival offers live music, pin-up pageants and classic cars.

Hootenanny began its run in 1995, and since then has only gained momentum.

There are several stages with bands performing all day, a dusty field with hot-rods and classic cars perched across the grass, vendors, food, a pin-up pageant and, of course, beer.

“Hoot” will take place Saturday, July 6. The event will feature performances by Dave Hause, Vinnie and the Hooligans, Face to Face, Gambler’s Mark, Old 97’s and Orange County music legend, Social Distortion, among others.

Those who wish to attend should be aware of one thing; the remote canyon location does not lend itself to our technological needs.

It is likely that there will be absolutely no cell service. So be sure to plan ahead on where and when you want to meet friends.

For more information on tickets, bands or the event, visit TheHootenanny.com.

Orange International Street Fair

If the rock-n-roll type events are not quite up your alley, then the non-profit family friendly event may be the thing for you.

The Orange Street Fair is in its 41st year and dedicates itself to arts, entertainment, food and beverages from around the world.

There will also be crafts and vendors that may have a stronger appeal to the younger attendees.

The three-day fundraising event will be held over Labor Day weekend, beginning Friday, Aug. 30 through Sunday, Sept. 1.

Every penny that fair-goers spend will go towards non-profit charities that help the city of Orange and its surrounding communities.

For more information on the Orange Street Fair, its international cuisines or entertainment visit OrangeStreetFair.org.

Orange County Fair

The Orange County Fair is a staple in summer tradition for Orange County.

Although a mainstream attraction for younger crowds, groups and even families, the fair still offers a fun and different way to spend a summer’s day.

With rickety thrill rides, deep-fried anything you can imagine and amusements that range from hypnotism to live music, the fair literally has something to offer everyone.

Some of the live performances scheduled for this summer include The Go-Go’s, The B-52s, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, ZZ Top, Styx and Weezer.

The Fair opens its gates for business on July 12 and closes down for the season on Aug. 11, with blackout days on Monday and Tuesday.

For ticket prices, entertainment schedules or other information, visit OCFair.com/2013/.

Whether you’re looking for a fun family atmosphere or something more alternative and rock-n-roll in its setting, there’s plenty to do in the local area without having to leave the state for Vegas or other party destinations.

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