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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.

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.