The second Annual LA Bacon Festival that kindly reminds patrons to “Get your Lipitor ready” took place this past Saturday at the Petersen Automotive Museum -— by the time I found out about it, I was too late to purchase tickets. As a self-proclaimed foodie and bacon lover, I failed all that I stood for by not attending this sold-out bacon extravaganza. Luckily, there’s always next year — but looking over everything I missed makes my mouth water.
“Featuring dozens of restaurants and bakeries, the event will pay homage to all things bacon, presented in both sweet and savory dishes,” the festival website said. Both the general and the VIP admission included tasting of the participating businesses’ signature dishes and access to explore the Petersen Car Museum. The VIP admission also included cocktail tastings, admission an hour earlier and some surprise, bacon-filled perks. Admission was limited and sold out in advance. In other words, I completely missed out on a great culinary experience.
This mishap of events got me thinking — what about all of the other young foodies out there, do they know about these things? Are they as tuned in as I am? Then it hit me — I should tell the world of all the great food-lover happenings that take place throughout Southern California. Thus, I have compiled a list of the most important food festivals in SoCal, starting with Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day has to be one of the busiest times of the year for restaurants, caterers, bakeries, jewelry stores and maybe even credit card bills — but one thing remains true: It celebrates love. As a single lady, I will be celebrating my love of food starting at the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, which celebrates the date — the fruit, that is. The festival starts Feb. 14 and ends on Feb. 23 in Indio, Calif.
There are a whole slew of foodie festivals that take place in SoCal, but unfortunately many of them require people of “proper age.” On tap for March is the Ultimate Beerfest to take place in the beautiful Pasadena Convention Center on March 15. This International Beer Expo “is the largest international consumer beer expo in North America,” according to the festival’s website. “The expo features exhibitors from around the world including: breweries, homebrew equipment and supplies, beer sampling and a consumer’s choice beer competition. The Ultimate Beerfest International Beer Expo puts everything from the world of beer all under one roof.”
Tomatomania! To take place from March 21-23 in Encino, Calif.; March 29-30 in La Canada Flintridge, Calif., and April 5-6 in Claremont, Calif., and Westwood, Calif., is the world’s largest and “most fun” heirloom tomato seedling sale.
Come April, the Scandinavian Festival of Southern California will happen at the Kingsmen Park at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where “both days of the festival are filled with music, dancing, food, lectures, demonstration, vendors and activities for young and old alike.” Also according to the festival website, “the Viking Encampment and Sami Village will once again be present.”
Locals in Southern California probably know about The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire that happens every year, which offers no secrets or surprises as to what this event has to offer. When I was a middle school student, I had a classic, wacky science teacher who made costumes, acted and worked some of the venues at the fair — which might explain a lot about how she taught her class. The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire has two things that I am very fond of: giant turkey legs and silly people. The blend is perfect for a lovely trip to good ol’ Irwindale and is around long enough (Saturdays and Sundays, April 5-May 18) that you can plan to go with friends and family.
Summer-time means a couple of things for USC students: internships, summer jobs, maybe some tanning — but also summer school. When planning to stay in SoCal, fun is an essential that should be included and a daytrip to my hometown is necessary. The Watermelon Festival will take place at the Rose Bowl from July 26-27 and will feature an “evening of good food, amazing live music, contests, games, exciting activities, demonstrations and of course free, all-you-can-eat watermelon,” according to the festival’s website. This festival is a good way to promote and support local agriculture and cool down from a long week of studying.
Festivals are great, but they are even better when food is involved. So this year, make sure to spend lots of time eating and really enjoying what this beautiful world has to offer.
Alegra Hueso is a sophomore majoring in creative writing. Her column, “In Love With the Edible,” runs on Wednesdays.