Laguna Beach

Ocean Institute announces 35th annual Tall Ships & Ocean Festival next month

In celebration of California’s rich maritime history, the Ocean Institute will host a fleet of historic tall ships in Dana Point Harbor during the organization’s annual festival, and reveal its newly restored Maritime History Center.

After 35 successful years, Ocean Institute’s 2019 Tall Ships Festival returns to the Dana Point Harbor for three spectacular days – September 6, 7, and 8. 

History comes alive, as crews from each ship, along with historical re-enactors, engage the public in cannon battles, pirate adventures, mermaid encounters, ship tours, live music, and much more. Participating ships this year include: The Brig Pilgrim, Spirit of Dana Point, America, Bill of Rights, and Curlew.

Ocean Institute mermaids

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Mermaids will be ashore for the Tall Ships & Ocean Festival, taking place Sept 6-8

Special events this year include Friday and Saturday evening Sales ‘N Ales, featuring beer from Sierra Nevada, plus wine from Baja United and beer tastings from: Lost Winds Brewing, Bottle Logic Brewing, Docent Brewing, Four Sons, Firestone Walker, and Bravus Brewing. Evening music will be curated by Music Preserves Foundation – with Friday night music by Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers and Saturday night by Billy Sherman & Friends with Surf Reggae. 

The special headlining band for Saturday afternoon is the local band legend Tijuana Dogs. Plus, Sierra Nevada will continue to host the Beer Garden. Food trucks and pop-up shops will be found throughout the festival. Entertainment for the whole family includes a range of activities, including ship tours, gold panning, mermaid swim shows, longboat rowing, cannon battles, bounce houses, and more.

“We appreciate the support that the Dana Point community has shown towards the Tall Ships Festival,” states Dan Pingaro, CEO and President of the Ocean Institute. “Dana Point is known as the town for music, and we’re excited to add more emphasis on music this year along with the other festivities!” 

Ocean Institute sailors

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History comes alive at the Ocean Institute Sept 6-8

Festival corporate sponsor of 20+ years, Toshiba is making a big impact on the technology present for 2019. In addition to contributing $50,000 to Ocean Institute, the company is donating two digital wayfinding devices called Virtuoso, which provide an interactive solution for high-use environments and allow you to inform, educate, entertain, or influence via the power of touch. Other sponsors include Charles Schwab and CIBC. 

Ocean Institute will host the Grand Opening of the updated Maritime History Center on Saturday, Sept 7. Located in the Chilcote Family Custom House directly across from the brig Pilgrim, the Maritime History Center brings to life the history of Alta California from the 1840s through the present day. 

Step in to 1840s California to learn the ropes of a sailor aboard a trade ship, study the impact of Richard Henry Dana Jr. on American maritime laws, and share your own memories of your time aboard the replica brig Pilgrim

The Maritime History Center is open to the public for free Monday - Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Trying your hand at panning for gold for $5 per person. 

2019 Daily Festival Schedule:

Friday, September 6 

--4:30 p.m. Cannon battles

--6 p.m. Sails ‘n Ales Night One

--6 p.m. Interview & Live Music, presented by Music Preserves

Saturday, September 7 

--9 a.m. Breakfast with a Mermaid

--10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Festival

--2 p.m. Tijuana Dogs concert

--4:30 p.m. Cannon Battles 

--6 p.m. Sails ‘n Ales Night Two

--6 p.m. Interview & Live Music, presented by Music Preserves 

Sunday, September 8 

--9 a.m. Breakfast with a Mermaid 

--10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Festival 

--4:30 p.m. Cannon battles 

Tickets are $15 for adult festival passes and $12.50 for children’s festival passes. Children under 2 years old are free.

Visit to purchase tickets and for more information.

La Playa Center seeks teachers for Adult ESL classes, no ESL teaching experience necessary

Now in its 24th year, La Playa Center continues its Adult ESL classes (English-As-A-Second-Language) on September 16 at the Boys & Girls Club Canyon Branch. Classes will be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Mondays - Thursdays. 

La Playa Center, with its unique and free English classes, has assisted countless numbers of immigrant adult learners and families adapt and flourish in their new community over the years. Thanks to the support of many generous Laguna Beach organizations and individuals, La Playa Center is able to hold English classes and provide childcare free of charge, as well as furnish all texts and workbooks.   

La Playa students

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Students with volunteer teachers upon completion of Adult ESL class

With the help of 12 dedicated volunteer teachers, La Playa Center is able to offer three levels of English each morning: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. ESL curriculum, manuals, and lesson plans are available for teachers, and all classes are taught in English. 

Last year teachers enjoyed getting to know students from many countries, including Mexico, Taiwan, Japan, Guatemala, and Hungary. Teachers also had the opportunity to work alongside La Playa students preparing over 1,000 tamales for Hospitality Night in December. 

For the 2018-2019 school year, La Playa is in need of several teachers to maintain the program’s small class size. No experience in ESL teaching is required, and the time commitment is minimal – only a 90-minute class, one day per week. 

Those interested in becoming a La Playa teacher can contact either Bonnie Teder, co-director, at (949) 715-2665, or Jan Waters, co-director, at (714) 887-9812.

Dennis’ Tidbits 


August 6, 2019

Still no big summer south swells 

Dennis 5We’re at summer’s midpoint and I’m beginning to wonder if big summer south swells have been outlawed, seriously. Seven tropical systems and not even a ripple. However, Hawaii is getting all the goods from Erick and Flossie which were both at one time Category 4 storms, so they flung some hefty waves to the South and East shores like Portlock Point on Oahu, an incredible Uluwatu type that fires only on a strong SE groundswell. I surfed such a swell in August of 1968 while stationed in Hawaii, compliments of the U.S. Air Force.

We’ve had a few Southern Hemisphere pulses at summer’s onset but lately it’s been pretty weak. That’s five consecutive bunk summers for surf. The clock is ticking, and the annual Brooks Street Surfing Classic is still in a holding pattern.

Most tropical systems that find their way to Hawaii are fairly easy on the Islands, having weakened enough to be just tropical storms, downgraded from hurricane status from a few days earlier. Waters near Hawaii are normally in the mid to upper 70s, below the 80-degree threshold, the temp which is required to maintain a system’s strength. 

Storms that form in the Eastern Pacific off Mexico and trek to the west towards the Central Pacific usually pass to the south of the Islands. That’s thanks to strong high pressure to the northeast of Hawaii which acts as a steering mechanism as the clockwise NE trades maintain the storm’s movement in a westerly direction. The systems get close enough to cause some rain and gusty winds but not strong enough to cause mass destruction.

There have been exceptions to the rule, however. In August of 1958, a Category 1 plowed into the Big Island. There was an El Nino that year that warmed the waters up to 81 degrees, so the storm was still strong enough to hold itself together and the high northeast of Hawaii was weaker than normal at the time, so all ingredients were in place for that kind of event.

Same deal in November of 1982 when Category 1 Hurricane Iwa suddenly took a sharp right turn after moving south of the Big Island and plowing northward to terrorize parts of western Oahu and Kauai.

In September of 1992, the western half of Kauai was demolished by hurricane Iniki when wind gusts as high as 224 mph ravaged the northwestern tip of the island. It was thought that when Iniki passed well to the south of the Big Island and moved westward that locals took a deep sigh of relief but suddenly Category 4 Iniki took a sharp right turn and began her destructive path. 

1992 was a strong El Nino year and waters in Hawaii shot up to as high as 83 so the door was open, plus the high northeast of Hawaii was very weak at the time so Iniki had her way with Kauai. Since then there have been a few tropical storms there but there were no direct hits. The rebuilding process took years. There was not a direct hit from Erick and Flossie, only some rain and gusty winds and, of course, the big waves – but the locals still get nervous when they see a storm moving in Hawaii’s direction.

Speaking of Hawaii, ALOHA until this Friday!

Comma in the sky 

Comma in moon

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Photo by Scott Brashier

A crescent moon punctuates the mysterious sky

Filigree foam

Filigree foam waves

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Nature’s artistry

Fire sky 

Fire sky blazing

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Blazing heaven, shadowy sea

LBPD and LBFD duke it out tonight in first annual “Guns ‘n Hoses Softball Game,” all are invited

Tonight, Tuesday, Aug 6, the Laguna Beach Police Department and Laguna Beach Fire Department will duke it out at the Laguna Beach High School Baseball Field during National Night Out 2019. All are invited to attend and cheer on our city’s finest and bravest!

The gates open at 5 p.m. and pregame activities start at 5:30 p.m. with a K-9 demonstration on the field. There will be a flag presentation at 6 p.m., the National Anthem at 6:10 p.m., and the first pitch thrown out by Skipper Carrillo at 6:30 p.m. The big game starts at 6:30 p.m. There will be free hotdogs, chips, and a drink!

LBPD and LBFD Cota

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Sgt Jim Cota will lead the way for LBPD tonight in the first annual “Guns ‘n Hoses” Softball game against LBFD

This is first softball game between the teams. 

LBPD will be led by coaches/players Sgt Jim Cota and Sgt Jesse Schmidt; LBFD will be led by coach/player Capt John Kuzmic.

Sgt Jim Cota says, “The LBPD softball team is very excited to be playing the LBFD/Marine Safety team on National Night Out. Bragging rights are on the line. On a personal level, we are all very close so this will be some friendly fun.” 

Engineer Paramedic Pat Cary says, “The Laguna Beach Firefighters are excited to participate in the first annual National Night Out event and see this as a great way for the community and residents to connect with each other and their first responders! To say we are a competitive group of firefighters would be an understatement and we can’t wait to play baseball against our brothers and sisters in Blue! Let’s Play Ball!” 

LBPD and LBFD fire

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Engineer/Paramedic Pat Cary (front) and LBFD hope to defeat LBPD at tonight’s first annual “Guns ‘n Hoses Softball Game”

National Night Out culminates annually on the first Tuesday in August. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. It provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. 

The LBHS Baseball Field is located at 625 Park Ave.

Football season is just around the corner 

Photos by Scott Brashier

Football season play

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Has everyone memorized this play? 

Football season defense

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Good defense! 

Football season footballs

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LBHS Football, coming off last year’s 10-3 record, in which the team made it to the CIF Semifinals, will travel to Baltimore, Md. for a neutral non-conference game vs. Green Street Academy on Thursday, Aug 22 at 6:30 p.m. The team will follow up with its first home game on Friday, Sept 6 at 7 p.m. against Big Bear.

In dreams

In dreams pink

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Summer place

Laguna Beach – A Look Back

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

With the nation celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, it is a good time to revisit Laguna Beach’s own rock festival that took place the following year. It was known as “the Happening,” or also called the “Christmas Happening” since it occurred December 25-28, 1970.

Local resident Beth Leeds, along with other counter-culture organizers of the day, planned to set up a West Coast version of Woodstock, complete with superstar performers. The city, looking at thousands of hippies invading Main Beach, moved the festival out to a three-acre parcel in Sycamore Flats in the Canyon.

Laguna Beach A Look Back 8 6 19 one

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“The Happening” in 1970

The superstar rock acts did not materialize, but over 25,000 long-haired, free-spirited youth did show up to enjoy food, free camping, free love, and of course free music.

In the first photo above, an unidentified act plays to the large crowd that settled in the Canyon, with buses and campsites seen in the background, including the obligatory VW bus.

In the second photo, a Woodstock-esque hippie family soaks in the December sun outside their tent, their daughter enjoying her morning bottle.

Laguna Beach A Look Back 8 6 19 two

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Family enjoys “the Happening” in Laguna Canyon in 1970

The event was peaceful, but the police were unconvinced, and blocked entry into the Canyon, creating a line of hippie hikers that walked miles to get to the Flats. One youth actually parachuted in, and the local LSD dispensing group flew a small plane over the site to drop hundreds of postcards affixed with LSD.

After the third day, local police borrowed 400 officers from neighboring towns, sealed off the Canyon, cordoned off the site, and removed all the attendees. Using bulldozers and even a tank, they pushed everything including a few cars into a large trench, and burned all proof that the Happening ever – well – happened.

• • •

Laguna Beach Historical Society is located at 278 Ocean Ave. They are open Friday - Sunday from 1 - 4 p.m. For more information, call (949) 497-6834 or visit

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