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CIVR Blog: Catalina Up for Whatever

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Catalina Island is Up for Whatever

Catalina Island is Up for Whatever

Catalina Island has just learned that it’s Up For Whatever. The popular Southern California resort island has been chosen as the second destination for Bud Light’s Whatever, USA promotion. As the chosen destination, Catalina Island will host about 1,000 Bud Light fans for a weekend of fun and frolicking on May 29-31.

Those fans will be chosen from among thousands who enter by uploading a video to social media. Additional fans will be chosen at random at restaurants and bars around the United States. Anheuser Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, chose Catalina Island due to its relaxed atmosphere, adventure sports and local color as well as its great community, beach lifestyle and natural beauty.

Catalina Island, California, joins Crested Butte, Colorado, as locations of Whatever, USA. The island will be featured in a range of promotions, including national commercials and social media spots. Crested Butte’s reign as Whatever, USA, was highlighted during a Super Bowl commercial. Island promoters are confident that Catalina Island will receive similar exposure for its three-day role.

For more information or submit an audition, visit UpForWhatever.com.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island dining

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Restaurant week returns to Avalon on Catalina Island

Restaurant week returns to Avalon on Catalina Island

Catalina Island restaurants offer a buffet of options for hungry Avalon visitors. Whether you are looking for culinary creativity or quick bites – Catalina Island dining has it all, including burgers, fresh seafood, great steaks and much more. Once a year, Santa Catalina visitors have a convenient way to experience nearly all the dining in Avalon.

This year, two Catalina Island dining events will be combined into one week of culinary fun. On Wednesday, May 13, the 11th Annual Taste Around Avalon will kick off the Third Annual Avalon Restaurant Week. During the Taste Around, visitors can try a bite or two at more than a dozen local eateries and vote for their favorites. Nearly all of the participating restaurants will also offer libations –of either the alcoholic or non-alcoholic variety — for voting as well. Voting cards will be available from Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce prior to the event, which takes place from 5 to 9 p.m.

Avalon Restaurant Week gives visitors several days to sample Catalina dining options. Nearly a dozen participants will offer prix fixe lunch and/or dinner menus that often include several courses and some special selections. Reservations are appreciated, especially on the weekends.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Chimes Tower

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Chimes Tower will have a new lease on life.

Chimes Tower will have a new lease on life.

Catalina Island is home to a number of iconic buildings and one of the most melodic is getting a new lease on life. Whether you’ve seen it up close and personal or not, every visitor to Avalon has heard the Catalina Chimes Tower, which tolls the hour and plays every 15 minutes. On special occasions, the iconic peals are supplemented by the artistry of Islander Jani Eisenhut, who plays special tunes on the historic Deagan Westminster Chimes.

A gift to the city of Avalon from Ada Wrigley, the wife of William Wrigley, Jr. the chimes have tolled since 1925 and are still in solid working order. The tile-roofed building that houses them, however, is in need of extensive renovations. Thanks to Ada’s descendants, a new foundation has been formed to do just that. The Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation is 501(3)c charged with repairing and maintaining the tower. Matching donations up to $100,000 will help ensure the foundation has a solid start on its fund-raising.

Residents and visitors alike are invited to help the new foundation in its mission. Tax deductible contributions may be sent to The Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation at P.O. Box 677, Avalon, CA 90704. For questions and comments please email info@catalinachimes.org.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island summer camp

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2014-12-28 15.27.27

Catalina Island Marine Institute is one of many Catalina Island summer camps on the leeward side of the island.

 

For millions of kids, going to summer camp is a rite of passage. With a week or two – or three – away from parents and everyday life, summer camp is a chance to learn new things, have new responsibilities and grow up just a little. Santa Catalina Island has been home to a number of summer camps for decades. Whether kids are looking for a religious-based camp, a science-based camp or just a fun-based camp, they can find it on the island.

Several different organizations operate a number of Catalina Island summer camp facilities in many of the coves on the leeward side of the island. These camps take advantage of Catalina Island’s spectacular natural beauty and dramatic coastline to offer a wide range of activities, including hiking, swimming, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, archery and much more. Some camps also offer specialized instruction and activities, such as scuba diving and rock climbing.

With the kids off at Catalina Island summer camp, parents can look forward to a getaway all their own. Avalon, with its spas, dining and shopping, offers a perfect option for those who want to be close – but not too close – to their summer campers. Parents can also easily transform a romantic getaway for two into a family vacation by spending an additional week on the island once camp concludes. Catalina Island Vacation Rentals offers an array of choices, from exclusive Hamilton Cove condos, to quaint Avalon homes and cottages and unique Avalon condos.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island Rugby

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Catalina Island has been home to an annual rugby tournament for more than 20 years.

Catalina Island has been home to an annual rugby tournament for more than 20 years

Catalina Island events fill the calendar with endurance runs, art festivals, concerts and more, providing something for everyone. While most of those events tend toward the more traditional, a few events appeal to a more narrow audience – giving Catalina Island visitors a chance to learn more about activities that they may not have the chance to experience in their everyday lives.

One of those events happens the first Saturday in May, when the Catalina Island Rugby Festival brings together an armada of rugby teams from throughout Southern California. Originally brought to the island as the Old Boys Rugby Tournament in 1994, the festival provides a full day of rugby playing and is open to both teams and individuals. The Los Angeles Rugby Club organizes the event, which benefits the Cancer Support Community of Redondo Beach.

This year’s tournament is scheduled for May 2 at the Joe Machado Field. Teams can sign up at the festival website and a sign-up board will be available at the Catalina Cantina on Friday, May 1. Catalina Island Vacation Rentals is offering a sponsorship package with a 10 percent discount during rugby weekend.

CIVR Blog: Volunteering on Catalina Island

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Removing non-native plants is a key element in preserving the island's native ecology

Removing non-native plants is a key element in preserving the island’s native ecology, volunteers learn more about efforts to preserve native plants during Mornings at the Nursery.

Catalina Island offers a wealth of experiences and adventures that take a lifetime to completely explore. While Avalon’s quaint charms, intriguing shops and picturesque waterfront appeal to nearly every traveler, the interior of the island offers a wellspring of natural beauty, including spectacular seascapes, dramatic terrain and flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth.

Seeing the interior of the island should be part of every Catalina Island vacation, but many island visitors never explore beyond the tiny town of Avalon, California. Several tours take visitors to the interior – ranging from bus tours to high-adventure off-road expeditions. Guided hiking trips, kayaking adventures and more are also available.

One great way to see the interior and help preserve Catalina Island at the same time is by joining the Catalina Island Conservancy on one of their volunteer expeditions. Every Thursday, Mornings at the Nursery offers transportation to the interior and the chance to learn more about Catalina Island’s unique flora. The trip leaves at 7:15 am and volunteers spend several hours at the James H. Ackerman Native Plant Nursery before returning to Avalon around noon. Advance notice is necessary, call the Conservancy at (310) 510-2595, ext. 12.

CIVR Blog: Two Harbors, Catalina Island

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Casa-Santa-Rosa,-Two-Harbors

Most visitors to Catalina Island experience only a tiny portion of this Southern California resort destination. For the vast majority, Avalon is the only vision of this Channel Island that they will see – and while this quaint village has many charms, it’s only in exploring the rest of the island that Santa Catalina truly reveals herself.

Besides Avalon, the most visited portion of the island is Two Harbors, the picturesque community located near the West End of Catalina Island. So named because of the twin harbors that create the isthmus of Catalina, Two Harbors is an adventures’ nirvana. While you can get a glimpse of remote outpost on either a bus or boat tour, the only way to truly experience the isthmus is to spend a few days soaking up its unique atmosphere. With less than 200 year round residents, Two Harbors is arguably the remote and isolated community in Los Angeles County. During the winter, that makes it an ideal destination for those looking to get away from it all. In the summer – and when the weather makes it feel like summer – the population at the isthmus swells to several thousand, with boaters, campers  and adventurers all eager to relax and enjoy hiking, snorkeling, mountain biking, scuba diving, kayaking, stand-up paddling and much more.

CIVR Blog: Water on Catalina Island

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CIVR conserve_water

For most mainland residents, Catalina Island is a vacation paradise replete with dramatic natural scenery, compelling adventures and an array of relaxing activities. With the Mediterranean charm of Avalon and the eco-adventures in the Catalina Island interior this resort island is just about ideal.

Like the rest of California, however, Catalina Island is facing a few challenges and the biggest of those is water – particularly the supply of fresh water. Catalina Island’s water comes from combination of underground aquifers and a desalination plant. While that plant helps supplement the natural water supply, it cannot meet the annual water needs of the island – making a steady supply of rain essential. While Catalina’s residents and visitors have responded by conserving water, Mother Nature hasn’t been as cooperative as it was hoped, making continued conservation even more important.

Whether you are visiting Catalina for the short term or living there for the long-term, there are many things you can do to conserve water while California’s drought continues. Catalina Island Vacation Rentals has compiled an extensive list of water saving tips that you and your family can implement to help save Catalina’s limited water supply. If everyone continues to work together, the island’s water supply will be available for generations to come.

CIVR Blog: Avalon Rubber Ducky Derby

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Photo credit: http://shire2011.blogspot.com

Photo credit: http://shire2011.blogspot.com

Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island is home to a wide array of creatures. Bat rays and spider crabs hunt the bottom; calico bass and opal eye cruise placidly and schools of bait fish occasionally churn the water. Gulls bob at the surface, greedy for a tossed French fry, while sea lions frolic and forage. Catalina Island’s human residents and visitors have their own impact, with vessels large and small plying the harbor and children and adults alike playing on the beach.

While most of the sights in Avalon Harbor are an everyday occurrence, once a year a unique flock of invaders takes over the harbor. On Sunday, April 12, hundreds of bright yellow rubber duckies will be dumped into Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island, to race valiantly toward the shore. Frequently helped by the Avalon Harbor Department and their trusty firehoses, the duckies will battle ferociously as they bob to the finish line. The Avalon Rubber Ducky Derby is a fundraiser for the local children’s theater troupe, Kids at Play, and also includes a corporate race and decorated duck competition. Adopting a duck – or a flock of ducks – is open to residents and visitors alike and includes the satisfaction of supporting a good cause as well as the thrill of cheering your duck to the finish. The fun all starts at noon on Avalon’s South Beach.

CIVR Blog: Hollywood stars on catalina

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The Catalina Island Museum will soon be moving from the Casino Building

The Catalina Island Museum will soon be moving from the Casino Building

With its enviable location just 20-odd miles off the Southern California coast, Catalina Island has long been both backlot and playground for Hollywood. The island has been stand-in for dozens of locations – from the South Seas to the eastern seaboard, from tropical paradise to quaint small town. Every once in awhile, the island even gets to play itself.

Location scouts haven’t been the only ones who’ve had a Hollywood love affair with Catalina Island. The island’s proximity to work and home have made it a perfect getaway for the stars for generations. Many Hollywood stars continue to getaway to Catalina, appreciating both the island’s charms and the nonchalant way they can expect to be treated, but it was during Hollywood’s golden era that Catalina really earned its reputation as a getaway for Hollywood’s elite. Charlie Chapman, Johnny Weissmuller and John Wayne were regular visitors, as were Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn and many more. Marilyn Monroe lived on the island for a time, back when she was Norma Jean Dougherty.

Hollywood’s love affair with Catalina Island is the subject of the Catalina Island Museum’s current exhibition, Escape to Catalina: Hollywood’s Biggest Stars on Catalina Island, which is currently on display. This exhibit is the last for the museum’s historic location in the Casino Building – in the summer of 2015, the new Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building will open on Metropole Avenue.

The Catalina Island Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the ground floor of the Catalina Casino. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and free for everyone 15 and younger. Annual memberships are available at a variety of levels.