Community News

Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of the beauty and diversity of cultures found from México to Central and South America to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and beyond, the Aquarium of the Pacific will host its twenty-first annual Baja Splash Cultural Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event takes places during “National Hispanic Heritage Month” and features cultural dance and music, environmental education programs in English and Spanish, and booths from participating organizations.

During this year’s festival, the aquarium will present its Heritage Award to Latino Outdoors in honor of the organization’s commitment to inclusion, making nature accessible and empowering community members while celebrating their important cultural connections to the environment. The award ceremony with Latino Outdoors Founder José González will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 2:30 p.m. in the Honda Pacific Visions Theater.

Folk dancers and musicians representing various cultures from México, Central and South America, Cuba, and beyond will share their traditions during the festival. Participants include those who have been part of Baja Splash for more than two decades, including Danza Azteca Cultural Ketzaliztli and musician and teaching artist Martin Espino, who will lead interactive music programs for everyone.

The Aquarium of the Pacific gives special thanks to the Bernadett Family for supporting the Little Ocean Explorers programming for its youngest learners during the festival. This special program will be offered in the Aquarium’s Ocean Theater on both days in English and Spanish. Also, as part of the festival, everyone can participate in an ocean conservation-themed lotería game in English and Spanish with prizes in the Ocean Theater on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 3:40 p.m. Visitors can also explore booths from organizations like Caracol Museo de Ciencias (science museum in Ensenada), Los Angeles Zoo, and the Museum of Latin American Art, which will be sharing a free take-home arts and crafts activity. For those who are unable to attend in person, the Aquarium will offer a free live-streaming program on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 2:30 p.m. with Danza Azteca Cultural Ketzaliztli. It will also release a special program on its YouTube channel starting on Saturday, Sept. 24, featuring Martin Espino and the Aquarium’s Pacific Pals puppet named Axl the axolotl.

The name Baja Splash was inspired by Baja California, Mexico’s Gulf of California, which is one of the most important wildlife havens in the world. Visitors can learn more about this important ecosystem and how people can help protect it by exploring the aquarium’s Gulf of California exhibition created with World Wildlife Fund México.

The festival is included with aquarium admission. General admission is $36.95 per adult (ages 12+), $26.95 per child (ages 3-11), $33.95 per senior (ages 62+) and free for aquarium members and children under age three. All festival elements are subject to change. Advance reservations are required for everyone.. For more information on the festival and for reservations, please visit aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/baja_splash_cultural_festival/.

Marathon-AOP Partner

The Long Beach Marathon and Half Marathon announced a renewed partnership with the Aquarium of the Pacific (AOP). One of Southern California’s premier 3.1-mile road races, Aquarium of the Pacific 5K kicks off marathon weekend on Saturday, Oct. 8, and expects to attract over 2,000 runners.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific, a world-renowned institution and such an important part of the fabric of the Long Beach community,” said Phyllis Blanchard, director of partnerships for the marathon.

“This is the only 5K in the United States that runs inside and through an aquarium! So, runners get to enjoy all of the marine life, exhibits, mascots, and aquarium staff members and volunteers cheering them on. It’s the perfect shakeout run before Sunday’s marathon or half-marathon events.”

Both the aquarium and the marathon have built outstanding reputations in the local community, each sharing common values as institutions in the City of Long Beach. Working together, the goal is to make sure the running experience rivals any 5K race in the world.

“The Aquarium of the Pacific 5K is our way to promote health and wellness around Long Beach’s unique urban ocean coastline,” said Karl Pettijohn, member of the AOP Board of Directors. “It also serves as a reminder to all participants and spectators that the health of our oceans and coastline directly impacts the wellbeing of us all.”

The Long Beach Marathon has been one of the most popular and respected marathons in the country going on thirty-eight years. The 26.2-mile scenic course showcases the city’s miles of sandy beaches and unique neighborhoods. Most importantly, the event annually provides a platform for dozens of local charities and non-profit organizations to raise money for their respective causes.

Race weekend kicks off with the AOP 5K on Saturday morning, which is the perfect distance for runners of all abilities. Athletes can run the 5K with friends and family or use it as a shakeout run for Sunday’s races. The spectacular course starts and finishes outside of the aquarium, running around the Long Beach harbor front, past all of the docks, boats and marinas.

Sunday’s events include the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour, which provides avid and leisure cyclists the opportunity to ride on the marathon’s closed roads to vehicular traffic. It is a safe, scenic, and fully closed 20-mile course. The bike tour features all the marathon weekend experience fun without the run, including a commemorative event shirt, finishers medal, complimentary beer, and more.

For more information on the Aquarium of the Pacific 5K or to register for the event, visit RunLongBeach.com and follow the Long Beach Marathon on social media @LBMarathon with hashtag #RunLongBeach.

Symphony Concert Season

Long Beach Symphony, under the direction of Maestro Eckart Preu, announced its 2022-2023 Classical and Pops seasons and is looking forward to delighting southland audiences with these elevating, fun experiences.

The Classical Season opener on Oct. 1, features the great Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and concertmaster Roger Wilkie, who shares his virtuosity in Mendelssohn’s only Violin Concerto.

On Nov. 19, the expressive pianist Natasha Paremski is welcomed back to the Terrace Theater performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Tchaikovsky’s beautiful Swan Lake Suite and rousing 1812 Overture also on the program. 

Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons on Feb. 4, spotlights Long Beach Symphony violinists – Roger Wilkie, Agnes Gottschewski, Chloé Tardiff and Chyi-Yau Lee – each infusing their unique styles as they take turns leading the various seasons. 

Orff’s Carmina Burana on March 11, will present The Long Beach Camerata Singers’ vocal forces and will be joined by the Silver-Garburg Piano Duo in the powerful, fan favorite. 

The season culminates on June 3, with an all-American program spotlighting the brilliant pianist, Michelle Cann, in Florence Price’s Piano Concerto and culminating in Gershwin’s An American in Paris providing the perfect ending to a great season of music.

The POPS Season provides a unique Southern California experience with audiences enjoying indoor picnicking while singing and dancing the night away inside the Long Beach Arena’s Pacific Ballroom.

Opening on Oct. 29, with Remember When Rock Was Young: The Elton John Tribute, starring Craig A. Meyer, this full evening of Sir Elton’s most beloved hits comes to life thrilling audiences across the nation as audiences sing and dance to the tunes of this Grammy, Tony, and Academy award winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend. 

The annual Holiday Pops concert on Dec. 17, celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with a festive evening of holiday favorites and sing-alongs led by the Long Beach Camerata Singers.

Arrival from Sweden: The Music of Abba is featured on Feb. 25, with timeless hit songs like Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, SOS, Waterloo, Fernando and many more performed by the biggest Abba show in the world!

BRAVO! Broadway is a night devoted to the best of Broadway. On March 25, vocalists Scarlett Strallen, LaKisha Jones and Hugh Panaro will be featuring West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Chicago, Hairspray, Rent, and Les Miserables, plus Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s greatest hits from Cats and Phantom of the Opera. 

The Pops season ends on May 20, with A Night of Symphonic Rock Dance Party as thousands dance the night away to the greatest classic rock hits of all time featuring an all-star six-piece rock band with the Long Beach Symphony playing tunes by the Eagles, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Scorpions, Starship, Journey and more!

Season subscriptions and individual tickets are available at LongBeachSymphony.org or by calling (562) 436-3203.

Rancho Los Alamitos Celebrates Dance, Music

The community is invited to celebrate “Site To Site: Experience The Rancho With Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre” on Oct. 1 & 2.  The performance begins at 5 p.m. in the gardens of Rancho Los Alamitos.  Tickets are on sale through the website of the Rancho at https://www.rancholosalamitos.org/events.

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