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  • Pamela Froman

Hello Spring!

The birds are chirping, the flowers are growing – it's springtime! Los Angeles offers tons of opportunities to celebrate this freshest of all seasons.

Festivals Local festivals are the perfect way to get outside and have fun.

Margarita Taco Festival Simi Valley Quench your thirst with a variety of margaritas! Chow down on mouth watering tacos! Eat, drink, dance or just chill! Benefiting the Welcome Home Soldier Foundation. Mar. 31. Simi Valley Town Center, 1555 Simi Town Center Way, Simi Valley. www.whsfnow.org/margarita-taco-festival.html

Thousand Oaks Rotary Chili Cook Off & Craft Brew Festival A fun day of chili and craft brew tasting while listening to live country and rock music! This event raises money for local charities. May 6. Conejo Creek North Park, 1379 East Janss Rd., Thousand Oaks. www.chili-cook-off.com

The Taste of the Valley 2018 San Fernando Valley's ultimate wine, brews and spirits tasting and food festival. Cuisine from over 45 restaurants, and 120 wineries. Proceeds benefit the Valley Cultural Center. Apr. 19. Westfield Topanga, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park. www.valleycultural.org/taste-of-the-valley

Yallwest Book Festival Over 100 authors and presenters including New York Times Bestsellers along with local and acclaimed young adult and middle grade writers, plus notable TV, film, video game, and comic creators. A day of panels, book signings, food trucks, bad jokes, rock 'n' roll, killer photo ops and general geeky shenanigans. May 5. Santa Monica High School, 601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. www.yallwest.com

Otis 7th Annual Kite Festival Receive your own FREE DYI Kite Kit. Art supplies provided for custom decorating your kite! April 14. Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. www.otis.edu/calendar/kite-festival

Uncorked: LA Vintner's Market Enjoy wine, food and live music at the iconic Skirball Center. 50 highly rated wines by multi-generational, family owned wineries from the top wine regions around the world. Gourmet hors d’oeuvres and bites to pair with wines. May 18. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. https://uncorkedwinefestivals.com/uncorked-wine-festival-la-vintners-market

2018 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Be surrounded by life on the American Frontier as performers serenade, chuck wagons serve up BBQ treats, and vendors offer one-of-a-kind gear and goods celebrating the Western past. Apr 19 - 22. Old Town Newhall, Santa Clarita. www.cowboyfestival.org

San Fernando Valley Food & Wine Festival The award winning Culinary Arts Institute will be creating amazing dishes from around the world prepared by students, along with wonderful wines for tasting. Silent auction, pastry pavilion, and live entertainment by local artists. April 28. Los Angeles Mission College, 13356 Eldridge Ave., Los Angeles. www.sfvfw.com

BBQ & Beer Festival This two-day event features mouthwatering bbq, entertainment, kid's zone and handcrafted brew! May 11 - 12. Central Park, 27150 Bouquet Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita. www.bbqandbeerfestival.com

Palm Springs Cannabis Film Festival & Summit Cannabis culture is evolving. This film festival and summit takes on the green debate with international feature films, shorts and documentaries as well as speakers, panel discussions, educational programs and social gatherings. Apr. 17 - 22. Camelot Theaters, 2300 E Baristo Rd., Palm Springs. www.facebook.com/pscannafest

Bakersfield Family Festival 2018 Features more than 10 exciting family-friendly activities, live entertainment, local groups, food vendors, and more. Craft booths, interactive sport games, inflatable bounce house, face painting, balloon maker, and board breaking. Mar. 31. 8740 Harris Rd., Bakersfield. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bakersfield-family-festival-2018-tickets-42665038278

Parks Parks in and around the San Fernando Valley offer so many gorgeous ways to explore the outdoors. Stunning flowers, glistening water, and beautiful views are the perfect opportunity to celebrate spring.

Griffith Park This stunning park within the city offers a delightful mix of wild beauty and landscaped paths. As well, the iconic Griffith Observatory allows an unsurpassed view of the L.A. Basin out to the ocean.

Anthony C. Beilenson Park & Lake Balboa This 80-acre park in Van Nuys features a stunning sea of pink every spring when the cherry trees are in bloom, and the lake within is a gorgeous spot to picnic, fish, boat, walk and bbq. Pedal boats, kayaks and bicycles are available for rent.

Garden of the Gods Movie history co-mingles with outdoor beauty in the 23-acre Garden of the Gods in Chatsworth. Check out the massive sandstone rocks as you hike along the trails. The area was once part of the Iverson Movie Ranch, perhaps the most photographed ranch location in movie history.

Will Rogers State Historic Park Explore the grand spaces of Will Rogers State Historic Park. Take a free guided tour of the 1930's ranch home and explore the 186-acre grounds, which offer scenic hikes with stunning viewpoints.

Hansen Dam This park in Lake View Terrace offers an all-around recreational experience. There is a golf course, equestrian center, fishing lake, swimming lake and pool, boating, kayaking, barbecue pits, soccer and baseball fields and a children’s play area.

Los Encinos State Historic Park With a glimpse into Encino’s past and the Chumash, Tongvan and Tatavian people who made this locale their home, Los Encinos is the perfect place to explore. The site features the eight-room De la Ossa adobe, blacksmith shop, two-story limestone building, a pond and a natural spring.

Topanga State Park Located in the cliffs and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains this beautiful area is perfect for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. There are 36 miles of trails that offer spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.

Recreation There are so many activities within Los Angeles to enjoy in springtime!

The Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park in Encino is 6.5 acre space with two small dog runs and one large dog run. There is plenty of room to throw a frisbee or a tennis ball. There is even an on-leash area for picnickers. www.laparks.org/dogpark/sepulveda

Merry Go Rounds are sure to put a smile on your face. Westfield Topanga Mall Carousel in Canoga Park is a double-decker carousel and it is located indoors – so it's fun rain or shine. www.westfield.com/topanga

The lighted community pool at CLU in Thousand Oaks is 140,500-gallons and occupies 4,800 square feet with varying depths of three to five feet. This facility provides year-round aquatics programming, from learn to swim classes to water aerobics. www.crpd.org/programs/aquatics/

Marvin Braude Bike Trail is a 22-mile bicycle path that follows L.A.'s coastline. The path starts at Will Rogers State Beach, follows along within Santa Monica, Venice and Manhattan Beach and ends at Torrance County Beach or "the Strand."

Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles has gone over an extensive makeover – with the relocation of some 2,000 fish, 90 turtles and 60 waterfowl along with extensive replanting of the lake’s famous lotus beds. The finishing touches are due to be completed in May, perfect for anglers. The lake offers catch-and-release fishing for catfish and trout. www.echoparklake.org

Throw in the line and grab some game at Troutdale in Agoura Hills. The entry fee is $7 per person and you get a bamboo pole, corn for bait, and a bucket for the fish you catch. You pay for the caught fish and to have them cleaned. There are two small ponds to cast your line. www.allyoucanfish.com

One of the many perks of living in the Valley is all of the great hikes close by. Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks takes you to a 70 foot waterfall that plunges into a pool below. The trail follows along a creek and there are plenty of places to picnic and relax along the way.

Horseback riding is a super fun way to explore nature and bond with a gentle steed. Malibu Riders offers a wide selection of trails and areas to roam. The Malibu Creek ride is filled with mountain trails for either a one hour, or a two hour tour through Paramount Ranch National Park and down into Malibu Creek State Park. The Paramount Ranch trail includes a view of the great old Western town with forest trails to spot wildlife. www.maliburiders.com

What can you do in the water? What can't you do?!

Zuma Surf & Swim explains the technique behind surfing and how to ride the best waves. Lessons are a minimum of an hour-and-a-half, maximum two hours, and include use of surfboards and wetsuits. www.zumasurfandswim.com

Explore the Channel Islands via kayak with the Channel Islands Outfitters Caves and Coves Classic Kayaking Adventure. Each kayaker gets a wetsuit that is sized to fit, along with helmet, a lifejacket, booties, a wetsuit top, and paddling jacket. Then it's time to hit the water! www.channelislandso.com

Stand up paddle boarding is a fun, relaxing way to play in the water. Radfish Malibu will teach you to properly launch, navigate and of course, enjoy yourself! www.radfishmalibu.com

Lay out a blanket with a relaxing picnic! Malibu Bluffs Park offers a spot that takes full advantage of its gorgeous vantage point. There are stunning ocean views, and it's the perfect place to chill out with a bottle of wine.

Yay for spring!

EASTER AND PASSOVER SIDEBAR


Pose with the easter bunny and search for eggs. Here are a few ways to celebrate Easter this year!

Springtime Easter Festival

Celebrate Easter on the farm with Underwood Family Farm's Springtime Easter Festival in Moorpark. Tractor drawn wagon ride, photo ops, Easter storyboard labyrinth, finger funnies game, Kids Corral, Bee Barn, giant haystack, slide, chicken show, antique tractor displays, races. Mar. 24 - Apr. 8. www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com

Burbank Spring Egg-Stravaganza

There are egg hunts for every age group, and you'll meet a giant bunny with lots of tricks up his sleeve. Bouncy houses, picture-taking and prizes. Mar 31. www.burbankca.gov

Blessing Of The Animals The Saturday before Easter, the tradition of the Blessing of the Animals is celebrated by us two-legged folk. Animals on display run the gamut, from cows with brilliant flower necklaces to green-skinned iguanas. The parade proceeds along Olvera Street where presiding Archbishop Jose Gomez will perform the blessing. Afterwards, there is a ton of food and a petting zoo. March 31. www.olveraevents.com

Big Bunny’s Spring Fling Get hopping at this LA Zoo party, with real bunnies, stuffed bunnies, and people dressed up as bunnies! Picture-taking is a must, as is holding the fluffy rabbits who are being honored. Mar. 30 - April 1. www.lazoo.org

What's Jewish about springtime? Why, Passover of course! Chow down on matzah and break out the Manischewitz.

JGSI Passover Seder 2018

Join JGSI for the annual Passover Seder at the luxurious Peninsula Beverly Hills with graduate students and young Jewish executives from across LA! Features gourmet three course feast, full dessert buffet and open wine bar! Mar. 30. http://thejgsi.org/passover

YJP Passover Seder

Connect, dine, and be inspired with fellow young, Jewish professionals. Meet and greet! Mar. 30. www.yjplosangeles.com

2nd Night Passover Seder

Tell the story of Exodus in song. Fun parodies from Sondheim, the Beatles, Disney, Adele and more – and enjoy a fabulous meal! Mar. 31. htbel.org

Beth Emunah Thousand Oaks Passover Seder

Join Beth Emunah for a fabulous Passover Seder complete with the symbolic foods, wine and Seder service. Music will be provided by Corry Bell and Lev Shelo! http://www.bethemunah.org

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