The stage is set for a summer of fun in Long Beach: kids are out of school, the sun is shining later into the evenings, the weather is temperate and events of all sizes – from concerts in the park to international sporting events – are planned through the end of September. This summer, the streets, parks, beaches and attractions of Long Beach will teem with crowds cheering at world-class sporting events, enjoying outdoor music concerts, and attending festivals and community events.
It’s summer in Long Beach: the weather is temperate, the days are long and the calendar is full of events for people of all ages to enjoy. Now, who wants a hot dog? (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Larry Duncan. Special thanks to Hotel Maya staff for their assistance with the photograph)
For Sports Fans
Some of the world’s best athletes are set to visit Long Beach this summer thanks to new and returning annual sporting events.
New to Long Beach in July is the skateboarding portion of the Dew Tour, a Mountain Dew sponsored two-part series that also includes a snowboarding competition later in the year. The tour, which was founded in 2005, was recently taken over by TEN: The Enthusiast Network, a sports media company. It was TEN that made the move to bring the event to the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center on July 23 and 24.
“Long Beach in general was a great fit for its connection to skateboarding culture,” Adam Cozens, general manager for the Dew Tour, told the Business Journal. He noted that there are many skateboarders who live in Long Beach and that Signal Hill was the birthplace of a specific subgenre of the sport: downhill skateboarding.
Downhill skateboarding was invented in Signal Hill. (Photograph provided by the Dew Tour)
“The site itself, with us being on the water in one direction and then the city in the background, was just a really great spot to show on television – and to showcase the city and skateboarding in general,” Cozens said. The competition is set to air on NBC and will be streamed live on multiple online channels, he added.
The Dew Tour is taking place in the convention center’s parking lot adjacent to the Long Beach Arena. In addition to the skateboarding competition featuring athletes from all over the world, the event also includes a Saturday night concert at the convention center and a preview day for the community on Friday. Cozens said he expects at least 25,000 people to attend the competition.
Next up for major sporting events is the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a returning event where the world’s best compete on the beach with Downtown Long Beach and the ocean as a backdrop. Long Beach has been home to the competition since its inception four years ago. The event takes place August 23 through 28.
“When I created the concept of the World Series of Beach Volleyball, I looked for a city that could accommodate a big event, that had great infrastructure, that was beautiful, and that was international in flavor and in scope,” Leonard Armato, creator of the event and founder and CEO of event organizer Management Plus Enterprises, said. “Long Beach came to the top of the list because it’s such a great city. . . . It was my number one choice, and I’ve done events for hundreds of beach cities around the country.”
The competition features “the best beach volleyball athletes in the world competing for the World Series title live on network television the week after the Olympic games,” Armato explained. The event is scheduled to air on NBC.
This summer, the ASICS World Series of Volleyball returns to Long Beach from August 23-28. The world’s best athletes in the field are set to compete just a week after participating in the Olympic games. (Photograph provided by event organizer Management Plus Enterprises)
The six-day event is more than just a professional competition – it’s also a volleyball festival. “We have an open tournament where anyone can participate by forming a four-person co-ed team or a six-person team,” Armato said. “All of our brands bring themselves to life at the event, so there are lots of experiential activations going on. . . . We also have a musical component to our event – a nightly concert series in a very unique beach setting. So that should be really exciting and fun.”
Attendees can also expect to find local food and beverages and the incorporation of street art throughout the event, Armato said. Much of the event is also open to the public, he noted. “You don’t have to have tickets to come and walk around,” he said. “It’s a party vibe, but it’s also family friendly. We’re trying to appeal to a real mass audience, because we want to make sure that there’s something for everybody.”
Ending the summer of sports in Long Beach is the Longines Masters Series, billed as the “Grand Slam” of indoor equestrian show jumping, from September 29 to October 2. Yes, because of the great weather, Long Beach’s “summer” is much longer than that of most city’s.
The event includes competitions with world-class professional athletes, semi-professionals and amateurs, according to Matthieu Gheysen, events director for the series’ creator, EEM, and vice president of EEM Asia. In all, as many as 125 competitors are expected to participate in the series, which takes place at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center.
“We have a total of 23 competitions over four days,” Gheysen said, adding that each athlete competes six to seven times throughout the event. The competitions last from 8 a.m. to about 10 p.m. daily, he noted.
In addition to the main event in the Long Beach Arena, the Longines Masters Series will have entertainment and activations in one of the center’s exhibit halls, where an equestrian village experience will feature food, drink, activities and entertainment, Gheysen said.
For Music Lovers
This summer, the calendar is jam-packed with music events in Long Beach, from large-scale festivals to ongoing community concert series.
The biggest music news to hit Long Beach of late was the announcement of a brand new music festival, Music Tastes Good, slated to come to the streets of downtown September 23 through 25. The lineup for the festival, put on by radio station KCRW, still isn’t finalized, but it already includes upwards of 50 artists.
Big name performers include Iron and Wine, The Specials, RX Bandits, Living Colour and others. There are also a number of rising stars and even Long Beach locals performing, including longtime Long Beacher Rudy De Anda.
“Everyone in town is excited about the Music Tastes Good festival,” Gina Dartt, marketing and special events manager for the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA), told the Business Journal. While the DLBA – the organization overseeing downtown’s business districts – didn’t have a hand in bringing the event here, Dartt said the group supports the event organizers and their “efforts in bringing some great music to downtown.”
The Downtown Long Beach Associates’ (DLBA) free Summer And Music series is set to make its 2016 debut on June 25 at the intersection of 7th Street and Pine Avenue. (Photograph provided by the DLBA)
The DLBA has been hosting concerts in downtown for years and continues to grow its lineup of music-centered events. Its signature series is Summer And Music, with one free concert held each month of the summer. This summer, the series kicks off with 720° of Pine on June 25, featuring five musical acts, a skate park with open skating and professional demonstrations, arcade games, food trucks and a beer garden.
The Summer And Music lineup also includes the carnival-themed Twisted at the Pike on July 9 and a yet-to-be-announced new event in August. The series closes out on September 3 with Buskerfest, in which local and regional acts compete on four stages for wooden nickels from event-goers. At the end of the night, the act with the most nickels wins. For locations and more information about Summer And Music, visit www.summerandmusic.com.
“In addition to our Summer And Music series, we have Live After 5 every second Thursday of the month,” Dartt noted, referring to the DLBA’s yearlong music series that brings free musical performances to downtown streets, bars and restaurants. For more information, visit www.liveafterfive.org.
Downtown attractions, including the Aquarium of the Pacific and Shoreline Village, also host ongoing concerts throughout the summer. The Aquarium’s Voices on the Veranda series runs from June 12 through September 4. The outdoor series is held every Sunday on the Aquarium’s veranda, according to Aquarium President and CEO Jerry Schubel, who added that there is a small entry fee.
Across Rainbow Harbor, Shoreline Village is also hosting an ongoing concert series this summer. “For the entire summer, from Memorial Day until Labor Day, we have the Seaside Summer Concert Series. We have two bands on Saturday – one at 2 p.m., one at 6 p.m. – and then on Sunday at 2 p.m.,” Debra Fixen, property manager for Shoreline Village, said. The performances, which take place on the off-boardwalk stage, are free to enjoy, she added. “It’s a variety of bands from soft rock to jazz to blues. And the lineup is listed on our website, www.shorelinevillage.com.”
One of the city’s longest-running music events, the 29th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival, also takes place in downtown this summer, running from August 7 to 9 at Rainbow Lagoon Park, 400 Shoreline Dr. For the lineup and more details, visit www.longbeachjazzfestival.com.
Downtown isn’t the only place to find music this summer. The Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association (BKBIA) is bringing back its free Concerts in the Park(ing) Lot series with one performance each month from June through August.
“The first is June 27 featuring the Jazz Angels. They will be at 3850 Atlantic Ave. at Georgie’s Place,” Blair Cohn, executive director of the BKBIA, said. “July 25 features the Boogaloo Assasins,” he said, adding that the performance takes place in a parking lot at 4245 Atlantic Ave. “Lastly is August 22, featuring Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra. The parking lot is at 3777 Long Beach Blvd.”
Segways, bicycles, kayaks, boats and more are available for rental to enjoy Long Beach. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Larry Duncan)
Cohn jokingly said the parking lot settings on major corridors provide for “added features,” including light shows from passing public safety vehicles’ sirens and special flyovers from airplane takeoffs at Long Beach Airport. “It’s kind of a fun environment because you can get some produce and have desserts and dinner and listen to the music,” he said of the series.
Perhaps the longest running concert series in the city is put on by the Long Beach Municipal Band, which plays free concerts in parks throughout the city every week, all summer long. The band, primarily sponsored by city departments, is now in its 106th season. A full schedule of dates and locations is available here: www.longbeach.gov/park/recreation-programs/programs-and-classes/live-outdoor-bands/.
While this isn’t a comprehensive list of every music event in Long Beach this summer, other listings can be found at www.visitlb.com/events.
Festivals, Celebrations And Community Events
Locals and visitors looking for a unique weekend or day in Long Beach have a variety of festivals and community events to choose from, with food and drink fairs, arts and cultural celebrations, and activities for people of all ages.
The Queen Mary is home to a number of festivals and major events this summer. Its largest is the All American Fourth of July celebration, a day and evening of events onboard the ship capped off by a fireworks show visible throughout the downtown waterfront and along the coast.
“We will have about 8,000 people come,” Steve Sheldon, director of entertainment events at the Queen Mary and Evolution Hospitality, told the Business Journal. The theme of the event this year is “From Sea to Shining Sea,” with different areas of the ship transformed to resemble different areas of the country, with entertainment and activities to match.
Later in the summer, the ship is again hosting the Art Deco Festival from August 19 to 21. The 12th annual event is held in conjunction with the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles. “It’s a three-day event celebrating the history and heritage of the ship and the Art Deco style of the artwork and architecture that is featured so heavily on the ship,” Sheldon said. “We have events and activities that include everything from lectures and a vintage bazaar to a double-decker bus tour of all the Art Deco architecture in Downtown Long Beach.”
Days before speaking with the Business Journal, Sheldon and his team decided to add a new event to the Queen Mary’s summer lineup, Wet, which is set to take place on September 3 during Labor Day weekend. “Wet is an outdoor summer celebration that will feature outdoor inflatable water slides, a giant slip and slide and all kinds of water-related, fun activities,” Sheldon said. Wet will also feature DJs and live music until about 10 p.m.
Every week through August 30, the Port of Long Beach is sponsoring Movies on the Beach as part of the Summer Beach Party put on by Alfredo’s Beach Club. Free movies are screened at Granada Beach, 5101 E. Ocean Blvd. Visit www.polb.com/community/beachparty.asp for the full lineup. (Photograph provided by the Port of Long Beach)
The Aquarium of the Pacific is also hosting festivals this summer, including the Moompetam: Native American Festival on September 17 and 18, and the Baja Splash Cultural Festival on September 24 and 25. The Native American Festival celebrates indigenous maritime tribes, while the latter celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month and Mexican Independence Day.
“We live in an area of the richest ethnic diversity of any part of the United States. We thought it was very appropriate to celebrate that diversity,” Schubel said. “Each of these cultures has had different relationships with the ocean and the environment over time, and we wanted our visitors to be able to experience some of the culture, the art and the relationship that they’ve had to the environment.”
The Aquarium has been holding these festivals for more than a decade. “It’s had a number of benefits, not the least of which is that we now have the most ethnically diverse attendance of any major aquarium in the United States,” Schubel noted.
The Aquarium also offers a regular educational lecture series and discounted late nights throughout the summer. For a full lineup of Aquarium events, visit www.aquariumofpacific.org/events.
The Port of Long Beach-sponsored Summer Beach Party, a series of events put on by local business Alfredo’s Beach Club, provides free community festivals and activities all summer long.
As part of the Summer Beach Party, each week the community is invited to free movie screenings on the beach in Belmont Shore, where port staff is heavily involved, according to Michael Gold, director of communications and community relations.
“At all of the summer movies on the beach, we have port staff with a booth where we engage people and educate them about what’s happening at the Port of Long Beach,” Gold said. “And we have little contests prior to the movie starting where people can win prizes.”
The Summer Beach Party also includes: the Pirate Invasion of the Belmont Pier on June 25 to 26, with pirate-themed attractions, activities, entertainment and food and drink; the Love Long Beach Festival on July 16 to 17, an event celebrating the city with various sports and cultural activities; the Great Sand Sculpture Contest on August 13 to 14; and other events. For the full lineup and more details, visit www.polb.com/community/beachparty.asp.
The Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine and the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau sponsor perhaps the most comprehensive summer events series, 100 Days of Summer. The all-encompassing calendar of activities includes a dizzying assortment of activities: archery lessons, tours of Rancho Los Alamitos and Rancho Los Cerritos, water activities, concerts, movie screenings, nearly any type of sport you can imagine, crafts and much more. For the full calendar and more information, visit https://longbeach100days.squarespace.com.
Each year more than 40,000 people pack mile-long 2nd Street for the annual Belmont Shore Car Show. This year’s family-fun event is scheduled Sunday, September 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The show features more than 600 pre-1975 cars. Many of the vehicles are one-of-a-kind, limited editions or customized. For more information, visit: www.belmontshore.org/car-show/. (Photograph provided by the Belmont Shore Business Association.)
For those hoping to get their grub on this summer, two local business organizations, the DLBA and the Belmont Shore Business Association (BSBA), host events with food and beverage themes in their districts for the community to come out and taste local fare.
Belmont Shore’s 2nd Street corridor hosts monthly Stroll & Savor events with samplings from more than 45 area restaurants. “The summer is a great time to come to our charming community of Belmont Shore. We are located in the heart of Long Beach, surrounded by the most beautiful seaside, with so many activities for people to enjoy,” Dede Rossi, executive director of the BSBA, wrote in an e-mail to the Business Journal.
At Stroll & Savor, attendees buy a package of tickets that are redeemable for food and beverages from local restaurants, which have booths set up along 2nd Street. The events also include live entertainment.
Rossi noted that, closer to summer’s end, the BSBA puts on one of its largest events, the 28th Annual Belmont Shore Car Show featuring classic cars and live entertainment. For dates and more information about BSBA events, visit www.belmontshore.org.
The DLBA hosts its own local food events via its summer Taste of Downtown series. The Taste of Pine Avenue takes place on June 22 and 23 along Pine, and the Taste of Downtown Waterfront is held August 24 and 25 along the waterfront. The setup is similar to the BSBA’s event, with attendees purchasing tickets to sample food and drinks from area restaurants.
Additional community festivals and events may be found by visiting www.visitlb.com.