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CIVR Blog: Catalina Island Fourth of July

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4th of July in Avalon

Fourth of July on Catalina Island is a family tradition for thousands. With a Fourth of July parade featuring festively decorated golf carts and a fireworks over Avalon Harbor, the small town charm of Avalon seems ideally suited for America’s most patriotic celebration.

Each year, thanks to the dedicated fundraising of alumni and other supporters, including the Avalon Rotary Club, the highlight of the Fourth of July Parade is the University of Southern California Marching Band in full regalia. The parade also features floats and golf carts festooned with bunting, streamers and every variation of the Red, White and Blue imaginable. After the parade, the USC Marching Band will head to the Casino Building for a special concert to accompany a barbecue dinner. The night’s culmination will be one of the most memorable fireworks shows imaginable. Although other fireworks extravaganzas may have more pyrotechnics, there’s no way to beat sitting on the beach, watching the fireworks reflected in Avalon Harbor while listening to their explosions echo up Avalon Canyon.

Avalon isn’t the only Catalina Island Fourth of July celebration. Two Harbors, at the island’s remote West End, also gets in the patriotic festivities. Two Harbors Fourth of July activities include a children’s festival, dinghy parade and fireworks on Saturday, July 5.

CIVR Blog: #WhateverUSA Catalina

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#Upforwhatever Catalina Island Contest winners have barely made their way back home and many are already calling Bud Light’s weekend-long island party “the best weekend ever.” Many Catalina residents would have to agree.

Catalina Island was chosen from cities around the country to become the beer company’s latest #WhateverUSA location. With an air of whimsy and spontaneous fun, the event brought a level of frolic to Avalon not seen before. Pottery classes on the beach, street performers and yoga on the sand were just a few of the many #Upforwhatever activities. A Great Gatsby themed party at the Catalina Casino was a highlight, as was a performance by Snoop Dog, who arrived at Wrigley Stage on a hot dog cart.

While the fun and frolic at #UpForWhatever has been widely lauded as being on an epic scale, Bud Light and its management team are also receiving kudos for their organizational skills. Although beer was the reason for the promotion, drunkenness was discouraged , trash was quickly picked up and the participants were respectful and appreciative.

#WhateverUSA Catalina will continue to have an impact on the island long after the fun is gone. Joe Machado Field, Avalon’s most popular sports field, will receive a $500,000 renovation thanks to Anheuser Busch, Bud Light’s parent company. Perhaps even more importantly, video and photographs of the party and Catalina Island will continue to be used to promote Bud Light around the country.

CIVR Blog: Summer Concert Schedule

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The schedule for the popular Catalina Summer Concert Series has recently been released

The schedule for the popular Catalina Summer Concert Series has recently been released

Catalina Island’s popular summer concert series debuts next weekend with a can’t-miss line-up of family friendly concerts. Sponsored by Catalina Island Vacation Rentals and Catalina Island Real Estate the performances are sure to get everyone in the family dancing – or at least singing along. Catalina Island family vacations are even planned around the popular shows, which are free and begin at 8 p.m. at Wrigley Stage in the heart of Avalon. An over-21 beer and wine garden will be open from 7 p.m. until the end of each concert.

This year’s schedule brings some new performances to Avalon and brings back some crowd favorites, like the tributes to Woodstock and ABBA. With eight concerts scattered through the summer, the Summer Concert Series provides several reasons to plan a trip to Catalina Island. For more information, visit the official Xcptional Music Summer Concert Series website.

May 24 – the Xceptional Sirens

June 13 – Roadhouse Rock

June 27 – The Xceptional Tribute to Motown and the Supremes

July 9 – Catalina All Stars

July 25 – Xceptional HD High Energy Dance

August 8 – The Xceptional Tribute to Woodstock

August 22 – The Xceptional Tribute to ABBA

Sept. 6 – Xceptional Vinyl to Digital

CIVR Blog: Catalina wine festival

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The beach at the isthmus will soon be filled with wine fans.

The beach at the isthmus will soon be filled with wine fans.

For 14 years, June has been wine time at the island’s West End. The Summer Wine Festival in Two Harbors brings together dozens of wineries as well as live music and complimentary appetizers. With sand beneath your feet, the Catalina wine festival is arguably the most atmospheric wine event in the state, taking place on Isthmus Beach on Saturday June 6. Tickets are limited at this popular event, reservations are essential.

The festival also includes a silent and live auction and is a fundraiser for the Avalon Rotary, one of Catalina Island’s most active service organizations. Each year, the Avalon Rotary raises tens of thousands of dollars, supporting a variety of local projects and programs both on Catalina and as part of Rotary International’s nationwide programs.

Catalina’s remote West End is an ideal destination for a getaway anytime of the year. With an off-the-beaten path atmosphere unparalleled in Southern California, Two Harbors offers great hiking, exciting adventures and dramatic natural beauty. Catalina Island Vacation Rentals offers the only vacation rental properties in Two Harbors. Casa Santa Cruz and Casa Santa Rosa offer all the comforts of home combined with spectacular ocean views and the unique surroundings of the island’s West End.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island Classic

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Catalina Island Classic

Catalina Island Classic

With steep hills rising from a gentle valley, Avalon offers a perfect spot for a town. Those dramatic hills frame the flats, offering great views and providing Catalina Island’s only town with an unforgettable atmosphere. Once a year, those hills also become a magnet for hundreds of the country’s best downhill skateboard racers.

The Catalina Island Classic, organized by Riviera Skateboards, is now in its fourth year and continues to grow in popularity. Racers take on Wrigley Road, starting near the Inn on Mt Ada and racing downhill to the flats. The Classic will feature downhill racing on May 2 and 3 as well as additional skateboard events throughout the weekend. Sunday’s race is expected to attract some of the world’s fastest racers who will be competing to share a $10,000 purse. Last year that purse was divided between mens and womens categories, with AJ Haiby from the USA taking the top spot for the men and Elena Corrigall from Canada claiming the womens top spot. Additional American skaters include Zak Maytum, Alicia Fillback and Marisa Nunez.

Skateboard fans won’t want to miss Catalina Island Classic weekend, which has developed into one of top downhill events in the country.

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 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: 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: Catalina Art Fair

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Catalina art fair and exhibition

Catalina art fair and exhibition

From plein air masters to amateur photographers, Catalina Island inspires creativity. The island’s natural beauty, dramatic seascapes and the quaint charm of Avalon all call out to be immortalized and for generations artists have answered that call.

Thanks to the Catalina Art Association, art fans and artists have two chances to celebrate art on the island. The Catalina Festival of Art, scheduled this year for Sept. 18-20, has a nearly six decade history, making it one of the longest running events on the island. Spring has brought an additional event with the Catalina Art Fair and Exhibition. Held each year on Easter weekend, the CAFÉ show, while smaller than the fall festival, still brings the wonder of art to Avalon’s picturesque waterfront.

Scheduled this year for April 3 to 5, the Catalina Art Fair and Exhibition has become a popular addition to the Avalon event calendar. Artists and other vendor set up booths along front street, more formally known as Crescent Avenue, Avalon’s waterfront promenade. In addition to shopping, art fans will also discover children’s activities, educational opportunities and live entertainment.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Spring Fest

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Catalina Spring Fest

Catalina Spring Fest

Celebrating spring comes in many different forms. Warmer waters, green hillsides and emerging wildflowers are just a few of the ways Mother Nature celebrates spring. On Catalina, spring also means busier days, more visitors and more fun.  Avalon, Catalina Island’s only city, celebrates spring with a community-wide festival.

Organized by the City of Avalon’s Recreation Department, Catalina Spring Fest invites local organizations to set up along Crescent Avenue from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 23. Those organizations provide food and fun – while doing a bit of fund raising for their cause. Carnival-style games, live music and more will provide fun for the whole family.

Avalon’s picturesque waterfront and long twilight provide the perfect backdrop for Spring Fest, which brings together locals and visitors alike. The evening’s many food vendors will offer snacks, meals and desserts – or take a break from the fun at an Avalon restaurant. Strolling among the booths gives visitors an entertaining insight into many of the community organizations the support the town and its residents.

This year, Springfest will also include Earth Day celebrations and local environmental organizations will have information about how you can reduce your impact on the earth.