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CIVR Blog: Catalina Air Show

Daredevil flyers will take to the skies during the Catalina Air Show.

Daredevil flyers will take to the skies during the Catalina Air Show.

Catalina Island’s connection to aviation stretches back more than a century to when the first amphibious landing took place in Avalon Bay in 1912. Since that time, aviation played a crucial role in Catalina Island’s development as a tourist destination. Passenger service to the island was introduced in 1919 and continued to be way thousands of visitors arrived on the island for decades. Today, Catalina Flying Boats and Island Express continue the commercial aviation tradition on the island. Although they don’t carry passengers, as Catalina Island’s freight forwarder Catalina Flying Boats serves an essential role on the island, bringing freight to the island each day aboard their historic DC-3. Island Express brings thousands of passengers a year to Catalina in their fleet of helicopters.

Santa Catalina’s aviation history also comes to life each fall at the Scheyden Catalina Air Show. Featuring heart-stopping acrobatics, skydivers and awe-inspiring pilots, the air show provides hours of thrills. The airspace above Avalon Canyon and the clear blue sky above the waters off Avalon Harbor provide the perfect stage for these daredevils and great viewing can be had all along the Avalon waterfront.

The Scheyden Catalina Air Show will be held on Oct. 4. VIP packages are available, including a performers’ dinner Friday night.

CIVR Blog: JazzTrax on Catalina Island

JazzTrax in the Casino Ballroom is one of Catalina Island's most popular events.

JazzTrax in the Casino Ballroom is one of Catalina Island’s most popular events.

Catalina’s fall schedule is full one. Festivals, concerts or sporting events happen nearly every weekend, but one of the most popular events happens over two weekends in October. JazzTrax has brought some of the top names in smooth jazz to the island for nearly three decades and shows no signs of slowing down.

Each weekend of JazzTrax on Catalina Island includes unforgettable concerts in the Casino Ballroom. Saturdays and Sundays have relaxing afternoon concerts and Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings feature smooth jazz headliners taking the stage. A few years ago JazzTrax added unplugged concerts on Thursday nights, allowing jazz fans to get up close and personal in intimate concerts by some of the top names in jazz. This year, those Thursday Unplugged concerts are at the Descanso Beach Club. On Friday and Saturday nights the fun continues with late night concerts at various venues around town.

Mindi Abair, Keiko Matsui and Dave Koz are just a few of the names that will be headlining this year’s  JazzTrax. Seating is available concert style as well as at tables. Concert goers can choose single session tickets or the full weekend for both Oct. 9-12 and Oct. 16-19.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Wine Festival

The Catalina Wine Festival is scheduled for Sept. 13

The Catalina Wine Festival is scheduled for Sept. 13

A certain raucous comedy by the name of Stepbrothers has made a fictional event rather famous. In the film, the Catalina Wine Mixer is a prestigious event prone to problems and requiring careful management. The stars stress over its production and more than few curse words are expressed as they worry and fuss over its many details and attendees.

While Catalina Island doesn’t have a Wine Mixer, it does have two wine festivals, one in Two Harbors in spring and the Catalina Wine Festival in Avalon in late summer. The Catalina Wine Festival causes much less stress and is much more fun than its fictional counterpart. Held in late summer, the festival is a fundraiser for the Catalina Island Women’s Forum, a local organization that raises funds for mentoring, scholarships and domestic violence prevention.

This year the festival will take place alongside Avalon Harbor near Wrigley Stage. More than 70 wineries will pour several hundred varietals and varieties of wine. Gourmet appetizers are included as is live music. Each year, forum members develop a spectacular silent auction that includes crafts, home décor, wine experiences and much more.

This year’s Catalina Wine Festival is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13. Tickets are $80 per person and are available at the Catalina Island Women’s Forum website.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Film Festival

The Casino Building will be just one venue used during the Catalina Film Festival

The Casino Building will be just one venue used during the Catalina Film Festival

Catalina Island and Hollywood have a love affair that has lasted a century. Thanks to its proximity to Southern California, Catalina Island was long a favorite for location scouts in search of exotic locales – or at least someplace that could be made to look like an exotic locale. Mutiny on the Bounty, Robinson Crusoe and the Glass Bottom Boat are a just a few of the dozens of movies that have either featured Catalina or used Catalina as a stand-in for somewhere else.

Hollywood’s love of Catalina Island extends off screen as well. For generations, the film industry’s biggest stars and biggest names have looked to the island for a getaway, enjoying Catalina’s many charms and adventures.

The Catalina Film Festival is the latest incarnation of that love affair. With more than 75 films, nightly events and live entertainment, the festival provides an opportunity to celebrate the art of film and the filmmakers who create that art.

Scheduled for Sept. 24 to 28, the Catalina Film Festival will screen films in several Avalon venues, including the world-famous Avalon Theatre in the Casino. Several awards will be presented as part of the festival, including the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Award, the Stanley Kramer Social Artist Award and the Charlie Chaplin ICON award. The festival beneficiary, the Catalina Island Conservancy, will present the ISLA Earth Award.

Tickets are available for individual events or the entire festival. For more information, visit www.CatalinaFF.org

 

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CIVR Blog: Labor Day on Catalina Island

Catalina Island is a perfect destination for Labor Day

Catalina Island is a perfect destination for Labor Day

After more than a century, the tradition of Labor Day is firmly entrenched in the American psyche. This three-day weekend gives us a chance to honor our hard work and the hard work of those who have built the American Dream for all of us. On the first Monday in September, a three-day weekend of barbecues, vacation getaways and family fun seems to be the ideal way to celebrate work.

For generations, Labor Day was the last big hurrah on Catalina Island before the end of the summer season. Until late in the 20th century, Avalon was a summer town, booming between Memorial Day and Labor Day and pretty much rolling up the sidewalks in the off-season. Many businesses closed and those who remained opened had greatly reduced hours.

These days, Labor Day is still the symbolic end of summer, but it’s far from the end of the Catalina Island season. September and October are now bustling months on the island’s calendar. Those three days of Labor Day weekend are still a fine excuse for a mini-holiday, a chance to thank ourselves for all our hard work all year long.

CIVR Blog: Fall festivals on Catalina Island

The Catalina Festival of the Arts is just one of many fall festivals

The Catalina Festival of the Arts is just one of many fall festivals

Fall is festival season on Catalina Island and for many visitors and locals alike, a favorite time to experience the island. Temperatures are still balmy, crowds begin to dissipate and the entire island is open for adventure.

Art and wine, music and aviation are just a few of the festivals on the Catalina Island calendar this fall. The Catalina Festival of the Arts is one of Catalina’s longest running events and will take over Crescent Avenue with art, artists and art aficionados Sept. 19 to 21. On Sept. 13  the Catalina Island Women’s Forum will host its popular Catalina Island Wine Festival in the shadow of the Catalina Casino Building. Featuring wine from dozens of wineries as well as a silent auction, the wine festival is a fundraiser for the forum’s various charities, including scholarships and domestic violence prevention.

Scheduled for the first weekend in October, the Catalina Air Show has found resounding popularity, with demonstrations both on the ground in the air. The second two weekends in October will see the return of JazzTrax, which brings top names in smooth jazz to the Casino Ballroom as well as a number of additional venues around town.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Art Festival

Cataina art festival 2014

Cataina art festival 2014

Catalina Island’s fall calendar is filled to the brim with festivals, shows and events. Music, wine and athletic events will all take center stage during the autumn, but one of Avalon’s longest-running events remains one of its most popular.

The Catalina Island Festival of Art has been bringing artists and art lovers together in Avalon for more than half a century and – based on its popularity with both – will continue to do so for another half century. The festival attracts dozens of artists, who set up booths on Crescent Avenue, along Avalon’s picturesque waterfront. Art aficionados spend hours perusing the booths, chatting with the artists and finding irresistible treasures to take home.

Hosted by the Catalina Art Association, one of Avalon’s oldest organizations, the art festival’s participants are juried and include a number of acclaimed artists. A children’s art show offers an opportunity for younger artists to showcase their creativity and win art supplies to encourage their interest in art. Live music and a charity art auction round out the festivities. This year’s Catalina Island Festival of Art is scheduled for Sept. 19-21. Visit www.CatalinaArtAssociation.org for more information.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island Music Festival

The Catalina Casino will be the backdrop for the Catalina Island Music Festival

The Catalina Casino will be the backdrop for the Catalina Island Music Festival

If Catalina Island has a signature event it has to be Fourth of July. Classic small-town Americana comes to life in Avalon, where bunting, flags and patriotic spirit adorn everything that is standing still and many things that aren’t.

While the golf cart parade, University of Southern California marching band concert and fireworks display over Avalon Harbor have been happening for many years, one of the newest additions to the Fourth of July celebration is quickly becoming one of the most popular. The Catalina Island Museum’s Fourth of July Music Festival brings together great local and national acts for a not-to-be-missed musical extravaganza in the shadow of the Catalina Casino.

The family-friendly event begins at 4 p.m. with a performance by Fighting Chance. At 6 p.m. local favorites Something will take the stage. At 8 p.m., Mudbugs Cajun and Zydeco Band will bring the house down on the outdoor event.

Tickets for the Fourth of July Music Festival are $8 for Catalina Island Museum members and $10 for non-members. The event is sponsored by a number of local and mainland supporters, including Catalina Island Vacation Rentals and Catalina Island Real Estate.

CIVR Blog: Two Harbors Yacht Dog contest

Two Harbors will host the Yacht Dog contest on June 21

Two Harbors will host the Yacht Dog contest on June 21

Yacht Dog competition is a pack of fun

Two Harbors, at Catalina Island’s remote West End, is home to a wide range of activities from scuba diving, hiking and kayaking to more relaxing pursuits like reading a good book and catching a nap. While the area offers plenty of reasons to explore, a number of intriguing events also dot the Two Harbors calendar.

One of those events that has found a pack of popularity is the annual Yacht Dog contest. Designed to offer a bit of friendly competition for the many dog owners who bring their pets over on their boats, the Yacht Dog competition includes a number of less-than-traditional-dog-show categories like best dressed, best trick and dog and owner lookalike contest.

While the Yacht Dog contest is quite popular with the pet owners, it is just as popular with the spectators. If you’d like to check out the competition on June 21 – or explore Two Harbors anytime, Catalina Island Vacation Rentals offers Casa Santa Cruz and Casa Santa Rosa, two luxury homes that are the perfect home base for discovering Catalina Island’s West End. While they are not pet friendly, the two properties offer spectacular ocean views, decadent linens and fully equipped kitchens.

CIVR Blog: Fourth of July on Catalina Island

The Casino Ballroom balcony is a great spot to experience Fourth of July on Catalina Island

The Casino Ballroom balcony is a great spot to experience Fourth of July on Catalina Island

Fourth of July on Catalina Island

Fireworks, parades and barbecues happen all over the country on Fourth of July. Independence Day just wouldn’t be the same without these icons of Americana. Fourth of July on Catalina Island is no different, but our parade is made up mostly of golf carts, our barbecue dinner happens in the Casino Ballroom and our fireworks echo over Avalon Harbor.

Avalon’s Fourth of July Parade has filling Crescent Avenue for decades. Composed almost entirely of decorated golf carts, the parade is open to anyone who would like to show off their patriotic spirit. Each year, the University of Southern California Marching Band is a cornerstone of the parade, thanks to the Avalon Rotary and some Trojan-loving supporters.  The parade starts at 1 p.m. and spectators tend to claim their spots an hour or so before hand.

Catalina Island’s Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau hosts an annual concert and barbecue dinner in the Casino Ballroom. Featuring a performance by the USC Marching Band and premium viewing of the Avalon fireworks display, the party is an annual tradition for many families.

Speaking of fireworks, Avalon’s are not to be missed. Anywhere along the waterfront or in the hills surrounding the town is a great spot to catch the display, which is reflected in Avalon Harbor and echoes resoundingly up Avalon Canyon.