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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.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Summer Concerts

Catalina's Summer Concert Series.

Catalina’s Summer Concert Series.

Summer Concert Series brings great live music to Avalon

Catalina Island is getting ready to rock.

Throughout the summer months, 10 great musical acts will take the stage in the middle of Avalon as the annual Xceptional Music Summer Concert Series gets underway on this Southern California getaway.

With a range of original acts and tribute bands, the series has been embraced for its ability to bring the generations together and get families dancing in the streets. Presented by Catalina Island Vacation Rentals and Catalina Island Real Estate, the series includes tributes to Eric Clapton and Abba, hot new country and blues performers and genre and generation spanning cover bands guaranteed the get the party started. Concerts begin May 25 with a tribute to The Cars. Ukelele star Taimane Gardner will take the stage May 31, during the popular Flying Fish Festival.

The Summer Music Series is free and includes nightly giveaways with great Catalina Island prizes. A beer garden will be available during each of the concerts.

In addition to presenting sponsors CIVR and CIRE, the Catalina Summer Concert Series is made possible by the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and stage sponsor Hamilton Pacific.

For more information and a complete schedule of concerts, visit http://www.RockCatalina.com

CIVR Blog: Catalina’s Flying Fish Festival

FFF_Logo_HiResTMFlying Fish festival provides family fun

Catalina Island’s Flying Fish Festival has become one of the island’s most successful annual events. Celebrating the return of Catalina’s famous finned flyers, the family-friendly festival is held every year in late May, when the flying fish return with warmer water.

The event kicks off on Thursday, May 29, with the Taste Around Avalon, an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to sample appetizers, beverages and desserts from Catalina Island restaurants. Performances and events will be held throughout the weekend. An annual favorite is the creation of a giant sand sculpture on Wrigley Stage by professional sand artists. This year’s festival will include a cardboard boat-building competition, followed by what is sure to be an entertaining cardboard boat race. A 5K Kids Fun Run will get the younger generation moving and a movie on the beach will bring the whole family together to enjoy The Little Mermaid. Kayak races, marine touch tanks and flying fish tours will be available as will children’s science activities, street performers and a street fair. Avalon’s High School Theatre department will be performing Once Upon A Mattress and a free concert will be held on Wrigley Stage.

The Flying Fish Festival celebrates Catalina’s iconic flying fish, which inhabit island waters from May to September. These athletic fish have evolved long pectoral fins that allow them to glide for hundreds of feet just above the surface of the water. The adaptation allows the flying fish to escape from predators and it is especially impressive to witness at night, when high-powered spotlights are used to spot the fish.  Hundreds of thousands of visitors have experienced Catalina’s famous flying fish; why not join them at the Flying Fish Festival?

Catalina’s entire community comes together to make the Flying Fish Festival a reality. Catalina Island Vacation Rentals and Catalina Island Real Estate are proud to be sponsors of the Movie on the Beach.

CIVR Blog: Spring Avalon Restaurant Week

Restaurant week returns to Avalon on Catalina Island

Restaurant week returns to Avalon on Catalina Island

Restaurant Week returns to Avalon

Dining on Catalina Island offers a range of options sure to please nearly any palate. Seafood and steaks, Mexican and Chinese, quick burgers and fine cuisine are all available in Avalon. Island visitors are frequently tempted not only by the menus available on the island, but also by the dramatic views and intriguing décor in many Catalina restaurants.

Many of Catalina’s most popular dining options celebrate the Avalon dining scene with Restaurant Week. This spring, Avalon Restaurant Week will be held May 30 to June 5 and feature about a dozen Catalina dining hotspots. Depending on the venue, lunch options will be available for $10, $15 or $20 and dinner options will be available for $20, $30 or $40. Many of those prix fixe meals will be unique to Avalon Restaurant Week, giving the Island’s chefs an opportunity to stretch their culinary creativity.

Avalon Restaurant Week is organized by the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce. For more information about the event and the participating restaurants, click here.

CIVR Blog: Art in the spring

Crescent Avenue will be home to dozens of artists for the CAFE art show

Crescent Avenue will be home to dozens of artists for the CAFE art show

CAFE art show offers spring time art

For more than five decades, Catalina Island has been home to the Catalina Festival of the Arts. This popular art show fills Crescent Avenue with artists from around the region. Glass, oil, photography, watercolors and a palette of other media are represented and it’s a do-not-miss experience for art aficionados and fans of Catalina Island. This year’s Catalina Festival of the Arts will be held September 19 to 21 and it is nearly always a sellout weekend, so advance accommodations reservations are a necessity.

Art fans who are looking for another reason to escape to Catalina Island can thank the organizers of the art festival, the Catalina Island Art Association, for bringing back the Catalina Art Fair and Exhibition five years ago. The CAFÉ show will take over Crescent Avenue with arts and artisans over Easter weekend, April 18 to 20. The show will open with an artists’ reception and booths will be open for the show and sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Live music will frequently provide a backdrop for perusing paintings, photography, jewelry and crafts from local and regional artists.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island Women’s Forum

CIWF 2013 logoGiving Back on Catalina Island

One of the things that intrigues visitors to Santa Catalina Island is that it’s much more than just a top Southern California vacation destination. It’s also a community. People live here, work here and create their lives here. Living here means schools, churches and service clubs, places for residents to give, give back and make a difference.

One service club that is unique to the island is the Catalina Island Women’s Forum. Founded in 1995, CIWF is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Avalon’s women. The forum has an active mentoring program that helps local high school girls face the challenges of everyday life as well as a scholarship program that assists local students  finance college on the mainland. A domestic violence program provides financial and emotional support for victims of domestic violence as well as community education.

Catalina Island Women’s Forum members support their organizations programs with two annual fundraisers. A trip raffle in the spring provides the opportunity to win a week-long getaway and in the early fall, the Catalina Island Wine Festival attracts hundreds of people to taste dozens of wines. Scheduled for Sept. 13, 2014, the wine festival is a must-do event for fans of the island who also enjoy wine.

CIVR Blog: Shipwreck Weekend at Two Harbors

Shipwrecked Two Harbors

Shipwreck weekend at Two Harbors

Countless visitors have daydreamed of being shipwrecked on Catalina Island, isolated from the pressures and stresses of everyday life, free to wander the beaches and explore the coast and coves indefinitely. Now, at least at the Isthmus of Catalina, you can pretend you are shipwrecked for the weekend.

April 11 to 13 will see the second annual Shipwreck Weekend at Two Harbors. Far from depriving you of the necessities of life, Shipwreck Weekend provides live music, dancing and a DJ as well as a treasure hunt, costume contest and the plenty of drinkables of the over-21 variety.

Located at the west end, Two Harbors on Catalina Island is home to a bar, restaurant, general store and unparalleled natural beauty. Its remote location appeals to those seeking adventure and respite from the stresses of the mainland. Lodging options in Two Harbors include camping, a bed and breakfast and two exclusive vacation rentals managed by Catalina Island Vacation Rentals. Casa Santa Cruz and Casa Santa Rosa offer all the comforts of home along with spectacular views of the two harbors that make up Two Harbors.

CIVR Blog: Easter on Catalina

Easter on Catalina

Easter on Catalina

Easter on Catalina Island

If you’re looking for a chance to turn your kids loose to hunt plastic eggs or hunting for your next great artistic treasure, Catalina Island is the place to be this Easter. Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox, which this year schedules the holiday on Sunday, April 20.

In Avalon on Catalina Island, the Easter fun starts on April 16, with egg dying in City Park. Sponsored by the City of Avalon Recreation Department, the free event will start at 2 p.m. Bring your own eggs – hard-boiled recommended. The next day, April 17, Springfest takes over Crescent Avenue with food, fun and games for whole family. On Saturday, April 19, the city will sponsor an Easter Egg Hunt for kids third grade and under just below Avalon Schools at Avalon Canyon Road. The race for eggs starts at 9 a.m. and, trust me, you won’t want to be late.

The Catalina Art Association will fill Crescent Avenue with arts, artisans and crafts on Easter weekend for the Fifth Annual Catalina Art Fair and Exhibition. CAFÉ will be three days of art and entertainment, with the art and craft show kicking off on Friday evening.

At Two Harbors, at Catalina Island’s West End, Easter weekend is also filled with activities. On Saturday, April 19, morning hat decorating will lead into an afternoon hat parade. On Easter morning, the day will start with an Easter Egg Hunt in Two Harbors Plaza and Easter Brunch at the West End Galley. All of the Easter fun at Two Harbors is sponsored by the Corsair Yacht Club.