Top Orange County Things to Do in August

Lobsterfest photo courtesy Lobsterfest at Newport Beach.

Outdoor foodie happenings, movie nights and art festivals … See our list of the 30+ top Orange County things to do in August.

Edited by Whitney Lauren Han.

Brad Williams at Brea Improv
Aug. 2-4. The late Robin Williams described comedian and actor Brad Williams as “Prozac with a head.” Bead Williams’ stand-up television experience includes Live at Gotham, The Tonight Show, Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground and Jimmy Kimmel Live. The native Californian makes a tour stop in Brea. Ages 21+. F 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., Sa 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Su 7 p.m. $22-$25. 180 S. Brea Blvd., Brea, 714.482.0700.


Festival of the Butterflies
Aug. 3. Enjoy garden  tours, plant sales, butterfly education, kids crafts, live music, food and a petting zoo at a street fair in the Los Rios Historic District honoring the 10th anniversary of the Los Rios Park and Garden Angels.  10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Los Rios Historic District, 949.606.6386. Info


Long Beach Vegan Festival 
Aug. 3. Celebrate and enjoy delicious vegan fare, live music, fun activities and earth-friendly merchants at the Pike Outlets and Green. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Free admission, $55 VIP passes. 95 S. Pine Ave., Long Beach.


Sad Summer Festival
Aug. 3. Music fest featuring bands from the 2000s concludes its 17-city tour at the City National Grove of Anaheim. Headliners include State Champs, Mayday Parade and the Maine, with support from Mom Jeans, Stand Atlantic and Just Friends. The event features several fan experiences including on-site interactive activities as well as exclusive merch. Doors open 1 p.m., event 2 p.m. 2200 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, 714.712.2700.


Symphony in the Cities
Aug. 3. Pack a picnic, pull up a lawn chair or spread your blanket and gather the family for an evening of pop tunes, pop classics and patriotic tunes by the Pacific Symphony led by music director Carl St.Clair. Interactive, hands-on activities for children include instrument making, a drum circle, an instrument petting zoo and an opportunity to meet the musicians. Kids can also learn to conduct with Maestro St.Clair and help lead the orchestra in Sousa’s Hands Across the Sea. Activities and local music acts begin at 5:30 p.m., concert begins 7 p.m. Free.  Musco Center for the Arts, Aitken Arts Plaza, Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange, 714.755.5799.


Mamma Mia!
Through Aug. 4. Get swept away by the infectious music, uplifting story and dazzling dance numbers that have made Mamma Mia! a worldwide phenomenon. The story takes place on an idyllic Greek island and follows a young bride-to-be as she tries to discern the identity of her father among three men from her mother’s past. See website for showtimes and ticket prices. 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.497.2787.


Persian Music Beach Festival
Aug. 4. Put on your bathing suit and join the party on the beach for a Persian-music beach fest presented by Koobesh Entertainment and Barcode the Lounge. Drinks and food available for purchase. Beach gear recommended. Ages 18+. 1-7 p.m. $60-$90. Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach,


Vans U.S. Open of Surfing
Through Aug. 4. The world’s largest pro surfing competition also includes events featuring the world’s most respected skate and BMX professionals, a beach-lifestyle festival, autograph signings and community movie nights. 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Free. Huntington Beach Pier, Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach.


Backstreet Boys photo courtesy LiveNation.

Backstreet Boys
Aug. 5. The Backstreet Boys stop on the band’s biggest arena tour in 18 years—the DNA World Tour—at Honda Center. Every ticket purchased to the North American tour includes a physical copy of DNA, its 10th studio album. 8 p.m. See website for prices. 2695 E. Katella, Anaheim, 714.704.2400.


Casa Vibes: Trouble in the Wind
Aug. 8. Kick back this summer with the new summer music series at Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens. Casa Vibes showcases local, indie and up-and-coming artists. Indie-rock band Trouble In the Wind,  San Diego Music Awards’ 2018 Artist of the Year, launches the series. 7 p.m. $12 standing room only. 415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente, 949.498.2139.


Macallan Whisky Dinner
Aug. 8. Pelican Grill presents an evening of whisky tasting featuring the Macallan and a four-course California grill menu. Enjoy the Macallan’s 12-year double cask, 12-year matured triple cask and 25-year sherry-oak single-malt whiskies—which reveal a commitment to the mastery of wood and spirit unrivaled since the renowned distiller’s 1824 founding in Scotland. 6:30 p.m. $385 (plus tax and service charge). The Resort at Pelican Hill, 22701 Pelican Hill Road S., Newport Coast, 888.507.6427.


Poems Without Words
Through Aug. 10. The Irvine Museum Collection exhibit features 42 paintings that explore California impressionist artwork through the framework of visual poetry. Featured artists include Colin Campbell Cooper, Granville Redmond, Anna Hills and Jessie Arms Botke. Tu-Sa 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. 18881 Von Karman Ave., Suite 100, Irvine, 949.476.2565.


Real Street Festival
Aug. 10-11. Real 92.3 FM debuts a hip-hop lifestyle event on three stages, the largest music event to ever come to Orange County. Expect a number of immersiveexperiences including art installations, live murals, an artist alley, a vendor village and the California Love Thunderdome, along with Big Boy’s Neighborhood and a car show  inside the Honda Center. Noon-11:30 p.m. See website for ticket prices. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim.


CHOC Walk in the Park

Aug. 11. The Disneyland Resort presents a community event with one goal: to raise funds for health-care programs, education and research for Southern California children. Disneyland’s Main Street opens at 5:20 a.m.; opening ceremony 6 a.m. $85 pre-sale, $95 after July 29, free for walkers ages 2 and under. Disneyland, 1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim.


Aug. 11. Roll up your sleeves forLobsterfest at Newport Beach Civic Center Green. The annual event includes whole Maine lobster flown in fresh that morning plus grilled New York strip steak, salad, red potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, drawn butter, sourdough rolls and dessert. Enjoy live entertainment on the beachfront stage while feasting. 2-7 p.m. $65 GA, $150 VIP, $25 children ages 12 and under; all tickets are advance purchase.100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.478.3468.


O.C. Fair
Through Aug. 11. Enjoy action sports (rodeo, BMX, pig racing), tribute bands in the Hangar, a carnival with rides, La Grande Wheel, livestock competitions, agricultural displays, a petting zoo, wine tasting and, of course, deep-fried everything at the family-friendly O.C. Fair. Concerts at the Pacific Amphitheatre feature artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire; Hunter Hayes; Trevor Noah; and Straight No Chaser. M-Tu closed; W-F noon-midnight; Sa-Su 11 a.m.-midnight. $7-$14 adults; free for children under 5; $10 parking (cash only). 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.708.1500.


Ragtime at the Chance Theater. (Photo by Doug Catiller, the True Image Studio.)

Through Aug. 11. Based on E.L. Doctorow’s acclaimed novel, the 13-time Tony-nominated musical paints a nostalgic and powerful portrait of three people—a stifled married woman from the upper classes, a determined Jewish immigrant, and a daring young musician from Harlem—whose fates become intertwined. See website for showtimes and prices. Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, 888.455.4212.


Fiesta Music Festival
Aug. 11. Get in the dancing groove at the 66th annual San Clemente Fiesta Music Festival. The event features live music, food, a tortilla toss, arts and crafts, a pie-eating contest, jump rope and a motorcycle show. Free shuttle service is available from San Clemente High School. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Free. 100-200 Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente, 949.492.1131.


The Prisoner Wine Company Dinner
Aug. 13. Executive chef Jesus Mendoza and the culinary team at 21 Oceanfront present an exclusive wine dinner featuring the Prisoner Wine Co. Menu highlights include grilled radicchio salad paired with Blindfold White Blend 2017; roasted lamb loin paired with Cuttings Cabernet Sauvignon 2016; and pomegranate pan-seared duck breast paired with Prisoner Zinfandel Blend 2017. Reservations required. 6:30 p.m. $110 (excludes tax and gratuity). 2100 W. Oceanfront, Newport Beach, 949.673.2100.


Commanders Jazz Ensemble
Aug. 14. Residents of the city and county of Orange are invited to experience the 18-member ensemble at Musco Center for the Arts. Made up of both professional musicians and active duty Airmen, the group performs  jazz, swing, Broadway favorites and patriotic music. Arrive as early as 5:30 p.m. to take part in a community celebration on the Aitken Arts Plaza in front of Musco Center; hands-on family activities precede the concert. 7:30 p.m. Free. 415 N. Glassell, Orange, 844.626.8726.


Yappy Hour
Aug. 15. Canines and their companions are invited to a cocktail party at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Pups can lap up drinks such as bacon-, chicken-, or beef-infused water—vegan options also available—and house-made dog biscuits; humans can relax with a glass of Mutt Lynch Unleashed Chardonnay, Merlot Over and Play Dead, Chateau d’Og Cabernet Sauvignon or a refreshing Tito’s Vodka cocktail. Cocktails, beer and savory  barbecue items are also available for purchase. 5-8 p.m. One Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point, 949.240.2000.


Brea Fest

Aug. 16. Celebrate Brea’s art programs while indulging in fare from more than 35 local restaurants and distributors at the annual event. Enjoy live music, theater, exhibits, live artist demonstrations and free activities for kids. 6:30-10 p.m. Free admission, food and beverage sold separately. Brea Civic & Cultural Center, 
1 Civic Center Circle
, 714.990.7771.


Burger n Beer Festival
Aug. 16. Cheers to an evening filled with beer and In-N-Out burgers. ‘Enjoy unlimited samples of more than 30 local craft beers. The Burger Boys take the stage with covers from the 1990s and 2000s; DJ Cheeseburger Eddey also entertains. Check out the spiked fresh lemonade stand and the animal-style IPA. Limited space available. 7-10 p.m. $39 pre-sale. 307 N. Spurgeon St., Santa Ana. Tickets


Festival Ballet Theatre’s Gala of the Stars
Aug. 16.
 Ballet luminaries from internationally acclaimed companies and their inspired young protégés—stars and futures stars of dance—share the stage at the 12th annual Gala of the Stars honoring Festival Ballet Theatre’s 30th anniversary. 7 p.m. $55+. 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.556.2787.


Pacific Wine and Food Classic. (Photo courtesy the ACE Agency)

Pacific Wine and Food Classic
Aug. 17-18. The wine festival features scores of restaurants as well as chefs, winemakers, artisans and live entertainment. See website for list of participating vendors and ticket prices. VIP entry 1 p.m., GA 2-5 p.m. Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach.


Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert
Aug. 17. Calling all Star Wars fans! The Pacific Symphony performs John Williams’ legendary score live while the iconic 1977 film is projected on a giant high-definition screen at the O.C. Fair’s Pacific Amphitheatre. 8 p.m. $434 GA, $10 parking. 100 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.708.1500.


Festival Runway Fashion Show
Aug. 18. Just like Project Runway! See who’s in and who’s out as Festival of the Arts artists compete to create the most inspired couture using reclaimed, reused or recycled materials. A panel of fashion experts including Kaye Spilker, curator of costumes and textiles at LACMA; costume designer Alex Jaeger; and production designer Nelson Coates selecting the winners. Noon-3 p.m. Free with $15 Festival of Arts admission, $25 for reserved section and admission. 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 800.487.3378.


D23 Expo

Aug. 23-25. The largest Disney fan event in the world, D23 Expo celebrates all the wonderful worlds of the Walt Disney Co. under one roof. Those worlds include the best of Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars across film, television, theme parks, products, online, music and live entertainment. 8:15 a.m.-9 p.m. See website for ticket prices. Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Ave, Anaheim.


OC Night Market
Aug. 23-25. Come one, come all to an outpost of the largest Asian-themed night market in the country. The OC Night Market features hundreds of distinctive food items as well as merchandise, crafts, arts, games, music and entertainment attractions in one jam-packed weekend. New and returning chefs present all manner of delectable dishes. F-Sa 4 p.m.-midnight; Su 4 p.m.-11 p.m. $5 GA, free for kids under 6, $8 parking. OC Fair and Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa.


Taste of Brews Long Beach

Aug. 24. Enjoy dozens of craft beers, hard ciders, seltzers and kombucha along with sampling from SoCal’s mobile restaurants. The 9th annual event takes place at an ocean-front venue; proceeds  benefit the Long Beach Marine Institute and Make-A-Wish Orange County & Inland Empire. Pay parking available at the Pike Parking structure. Ages 21+. Noon-5 p.m. $25.50-$40. Shoreline Aquatic Park (aka Lighthouse Park), 200 Aquarium Way, Long Beach,


O.C. Parks Summer Concert Series
Through Aug. 29. Rock out at outdoor concerts on Thursday nights at venues including Craig Regional Park, Mason Regional Park, Irvine Regional Park, Mile Square Regional Park and Bluff Park at Salt Creek Beach. Featured artists include Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Sega Genecide and the Fenians. All concerts 6-8 p.m. Concertgoers 21+ can purchase beer and wine at the beer tent. 5-8 p.m. Free. See website for schedule and locations. 714.973.6865.


O.C. Parks Sunset Cinema
Through Aug. 30. Pack a picnic, blankets and beach chairs for a family film series at a different regional park on Fridays. Food trucks will be on-site. See website for list of events. Films begin at approximately 8 p.m. Free entrance and parking. Carbon Canyon Park, 4442 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea, 714.973.6865.


Festival of Arts
Through Aug. 31. See a breathtaking showcase for artists and art lovers at California’s longest-running outdoor fine-art exhibition. The Festival of Arts features juried works by 140 artists in a wide variety of media including paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, handcrafted wood, ceramics and glass. Enjoy nightly live music, jazz concerts, guided art tours, demonstrations and art workshops. M-F noon-11:30 p.m., Sa-Su 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. $5-$15. 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.494.1145.


Pageant of the Masters photo courtesy Festival of Arts.

Pageant of the Masters
Through Aug. 31. The renowned unique production of tableaux vivants (“living pictures”) presents faithful re-creations of classical and contemporary works of art. Real people pose to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces—and remain very still. This summer’s production is themed The Time Machine. Live narration and a full orchestra accompany each vignette. Daily 8:30 pm. $15-$178. 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.494.1145.


Laguna Art-A-Fair
Continuing. This annual juried art festival features works by 125 artists in a wide array of media including painting, drawing, photography, digital art, mixed media, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, glass and wood. Weekends bring live entertainment. Su-Th 10 a.m.-9 p.m., F-Sa 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (closes 6 p.m. on July 4 and Sept. 2). $7-$9. 777 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.494.4514.


Pirate Coast Paddle Co. Glow Tours
Continuing. Spend a summer evening on an LED-light-adorned paddleboard or kayak on the bay; see marine life only visible at night on this excursion held Friday and Saturday nights through Labor Day. Cocktails and dinner at Back Bay Bistro follow. See website for availability. $45 per session. 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 949.278.0011.


Sawdust Art Festival
Continuing. View works by 200 Laguna Beach artists in mediums including glass, painting, jewelry, ceramics, clothing and textiles, sculpture, scrimshaw and photography. Event highlights include demos, kids activities, outdoor cafes and live music in the eucalyptus grove. Daily 10 am-10 pm (closes 6 p.m. on July 4). $4-$9. 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.494.3030.


Sunset Jazz Newport Beach
Continuing. The Jazz Cruise and Blue Note at Sea—the only full-size charter cruises dedicated to “Straight-Ahead & Contemporary Jazz”—and jazz impresarios Joe Rothman and John McClure present a series Wednesday nights at the Rose Garden and Seaview Terrace of the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. Performances from 6-8:30 p.m. See website for lineup and ticket prices. 900 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.759.5003.


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