Rising Tohoku Food Fair

Ready for an amazing spectacle of dance, food, cultural arts, and music this weekend? The “Rising Tohoku Food Fair” at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance will offer all that and more.

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR RISING TOHOKU FOOD FAIR - Yamagata City: Hanagasa Dance performs at the Rising Tohoku Food Fair at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance, Calif. on Aug. 20, 2015. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Rising Tohoku Food Fair/AP Images)

Yamagata City: Hanagasa Dance; photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Rising Tohoku Food Fair/AP Images)

From August 20 through August 23, visitors can enjoy presentations of delicious foods, traditional craft activities, colorful pageantry, and mesmerizing dances from the Japanese region of Tohoku. The hilly and mountainous Tohoku region, the northeastern segment of the largest island in Japan, was heavily damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Yet a massive rebuilding effort has brought a robust recovery to the region, which is now re-introducing its diverse food and culture to a global audience.

DSC_0169“We are so pleased that the Rising Tohoku Food Fair hosted by Mitsuwa Marketplace helps draw the world’s attention to the seriousness of the Japanese earthquake and brings awareness to the ongoing recovery of the culturally rich Tohoku region, which has so much to offer in terms of flavorful and refined cuisine, beautiful crafts, and goodwill,” said Hiroshi Kamata, chairman of the Federation of Six Tohoku Prefecture Chambers of Commerce and Industry (chairman of the Sendai Chamber of Commerce) and spokesperson for the Rising Tohoku Food Fair. “We want visitors to our live event to experience this wonderful and abundant Tohoku region as if they were really there.”

Children and adults alike can enjoy activities such as making origami Samurai armor helmets; writing wishes on tanzaku paper to be hung at the Tanabata Festival in Sendai next year; and taking photo opportunities with local Tohoku city mascots.

DSC_0129 (1)The huggable mascots include Miyagi City’s iconic Musubi-maru, who wears a samurai costume and resembles onigiri (a rice ball); Fukushima City’s Momorin rabbit who represents Fukushima momo (peaches) and ringo (apples); Hanagata Beni-Chan who wears a cherry-patterned kimono and hanagata flower hat; and Nebutan, a pig dressed in the haneto costume worn at Aomori prefecture’s world-renowned Nebuta festival.

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR RISING TOHOKU FOOD FAIR - Sendai City: Suzume Dance performs at the Rising Tohoku Food Fair at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance, Calif. on Aug. 20, 2015. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Rising Tohoku Food Fair/AP Images)

Sendai City: Suzume Dance; photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Rising Tohoku Food Fair/AP Images)

Other attractions include a Da-te Busho-tai (samurai) performance; Aomori City’s Nebuta orchestra, dances from Sendai City (Suzume), Yamagata City (Hanagasa) and Morioka City (Sansa).

IMG_5255Over in the food section you’ll find an amazing selection of regional specialties, including Wagyu beef from Sendai, Seiken apple juice from Aomori, Odate Kiritanpo (mashed rice) skewers from Akita, fruit juices from Yamagata, and specialty dried fruits from Fukushima. A special Maguro Bowl (tuna sashimi) with an ohba leaf is $8.50, and a Kuroge Wagyu Bento. a sukiyaki and yakiniku (BBQ) combination bento is $18.50.

DSC_0184One food highlight that we especially enjoyed was the karinto manju, a Tohoku delicacy kind of like a donut filled with sweet bean curd. The dough is made with black sugar and the exterior is crispy, sweet, and addicting.


Wash it down with some peach juice from Yamagata, and you’ve got the perfect snack.


Ready to go? The schedule for the weekend’s events is as follows:

Food Fair (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 11 am – 6 pm

Dance Performances (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 11:30 am – 1 pm; 4 pm – 5:30 pm

Craft Workshops (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 11 am – 11:30 am; 1:30 pm – 2 pm;  3 pm– 4:00 pm; 5:30 pm – 6 pm

Photo Session with Mascots (open to public): August 20-23, 2015, 1 pm – 1:15 pm; 5:30 – 5:45 pm

The Mitsuwa Marketplace is located at 21515 S. Western Ave., Torrance, CA. Phone: 310-782-0335.


Knott’s Merry Farm Offers Fun for the Whole Family

KBF Santa snoopyOn the first day of Christmas, Knott’s Merry Farm gave to me…A Snoopy in a Christmas tree!
On the second day of Christmas, Knott’s Merry Farm gave to me…Two chicken dinners and a Snoopy in a Christmas tree!

…On the 12th day of Christmas, Knott’s Merry Farm gave to me… 12 skaters skating, 11 artisans crafting, ten carolers caroling, nine storytellers spinning, eight miners mining, seven rides a-spinning, six kids a-laughing… five boysenberry piiiiiiiies…four maple lollipops, three jolly snowmen, two chicken dinners and a Snoopy in a Christmas tree!

Knott's Merry Farm LogoAre you ready for Knott’s Merry Farm? Because we’re so ready we’ve even started singing about it! Now in its 29th year, Knott’s Merry Farm is a seasonal celebration at Knott’s Berry Farm that brings all the warmth of old-time holiday traditions into a fun adventure for the family. The event, which runs from Nov. 22 through Jan. 4, includes park-wide lavish decorations, live entertainment, festive food, and a shopping wonderland filled with local artisans. Visiting Knott’s Merry Farm always gets our family in the holiday spirit – and in fact it’s is one of our family’s favorite days of the year!

KBF singersThis year’s celebration includes live entertainment such as the live ice spectacular “Merry Christmas, Snoopy,” along with Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting, Engine 41 storytellers, local artisans and crafters in Christmas Craft Village, the Calico Carolers, and the Ghost Town Miners bluegrass quartet.

Of course Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Santa Claus, which is why the Wilderness Dance Hall in Ghost Town is transformed into Santa’s Christmas Cabin for the holiday season. Guests can take photos with Santa as well as enjoy Santa’s homemade cookies, a hot fudge sundae bar, hot chocolate topped with hand carved chocolate shavings, and winter wine and craft beer tastings paired with fresh fruit and cheese.

KBF craft fairOther seasonal treats around the park include fresh made-to-order Maple Lollipops, churros from the Churro Factory, cakes, cookies, muffins and gingerbread men in the Farm Bakery, as well as the legendary cooking at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

All in all, it’s a great way to spend a day with the family. For admissions information, park hours, and directions, visit www.knotts.com.

Noosa Yogurt at Seaside Lagoon

Seaside_LagoonAre you beach-bound for Labor Day weekend? If you head to Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach on Saturday, Noosa Yoghurt is going to make it a sweet experience for you and your friends and family!

On August 30, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., the first 500 people visiting Seaside Lagoon will receive FREE admission at the Portofino Way Turnabout (look for the Noosa flag!). In addition, everyone entering Seaside Lagoon will receive free samples of Noosa’s two new tropical flavors – Coconut and Noosa Pineapple yoghurt – along with classic summer swag such as frisbees, sunglasses, suntan lotion.

If you haven’t tried Noosa yet, you’re in for a treat. Noosa is made with whole milk — the freshest you can get – sourced from cows raised and fed (without growth hormones) on family-owned farms in the Colorado foothills. Noosa adds just a touch of honey to give its yoghurt that luscious, tangy taste; and its fruit purees are made from real fruit – no fake stuff in there! Noosa yoghurt is available at Target and other retailers.

Head down and tell them South Bay Sparkle sent you!

Father’s Day in the South Bay

He helped you learn how to ride a bike, he bought you your first surfboard, he taught you how to fix a flat tire, and you want to get him…a tie? No, no, no South Bay sons and daughters. There’s a lot more you can do to honor Dad this Father’s Day in the beach cities.

First, get him outside for some fun activities:

MB5K dadsManhattan Beach 5K – Father’s Day edition: Get Dad out and running on the flat wet sand under the iconic Manhattan Beach Pier. The race starts at the lowest tide point – at 7:13 am on Sunday, June 15. The top five finishers in each of 28 divisions will win one of the race’s World Famous Cookie Medals. Nepotism note: The race is sponsored by our “better half” and all-around great dad – Dave of Manhattan Beach Confidential.

Father’s Day Volleyball Tournament: The city of Manhattan Beach is sponsoring a recreational beach volleyball tournament beginning at 9:00 am on the south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier on Sunday, June 15. Fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters are all encouraged to play. Proceeds from the registration fees go to benefit Project Fatherhood.

Terranea Team Golf Championship: The Links at Terranea holds its 3rd annual golf championship game on Sunday, June 15, where teams of five compete in an 18-hole event.  Prizes, lunch, and music are part of the day’s festivities.  The playing format is a five person scramble and teams must use two tee shots for each player. The cost is $80 for Links Card holders and $99 for guests. For more information and to reserve your spot, contact The Golf House at 310.265.2751.

Next, fill him up with food and drink:

NelsonsWeekend Beer Dinner at Nelson’s: On Saturday and Sunday, June 14 and 15 starting at 5:00 pm both days, Nelson’s Restaurant at Terranea is hosting an outdoor beer event with local breweries featured and gourmet street food pairings. Reservations are required; the cost is $65 per guest. Call 310.265.2702 for reservations.

Beer Brunch Cruise: Hornblower Cruises is offering a two-hour Father’s Day Beer Brunch Cruise at noon on Sunday, June 15 featuring a “macho” brunch, free-flowing drinks, and a complimentary souvenir pint glass for dad. The cost is $72 for adults and $43.20 for kids ages 4 to 12 – with additional tax, landing, and service charges.

Cookout at the Manhattan Beach Marriott: From 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sunday, June 15, there’s no need to fire up the grill: The View restaurant at the Manhattan Beach Marriott is offering a Father’s Day cookout outside on the lawn, featuring a hearty buffet, a “dude food” station, and a craft beer garden serving frosty suds. The cost is $30 for adults $50 with unlimited beer, and $15 for kids 12 and under.

Feast at Samba Brazilian Steakhouse: Samba Brazilian Steakhouse is offering an all-you-can-eat Father’s Day Feast on Sunday, June 15 with your choice of 10-12 cuts of meat carved table-side, unlimited sides and salads, and a glass of champagne or beer. The cost is $55 for adults and $20 for kids ages 4 to 10.

Prime Rib at Paul Martin’s American Grill, El Segundo: For the whole Father’s Day weekend, Paul Martin’s will be offering a 3-course prime rib dinner special for $25 per person. The special includes all-natural prime rib with mashed potatoes, organic green salad and house-made ice cream.

Free Meal for Fathers at Wahoo’s: Fish tacos, anyone? On Father’s Day weekend, June 14 and 15, you can treat Dad to a free meal at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. Ask the cashier for a Father’s Day flyer.

Free Flight at Barsha: On Father’s Day weekend, purchase a wine or beer flight and get a free flight for Dad.


New Year’s Eve in the South Bay

25Ready to usher in 2014 with a bang? There are plenty of ways to celebrate right here in the South Bay!

Shade Hotel: Shade Hotel continues its glamorous New Year’s Eve tradition with a Great Gatsby party starting at 8 pm. The $75 ticket includes hors d’oeuvres, cigars on the roofdeck, gaming chips, party favors, a Champagne toast at midnight, and more. Proceeds benefit the Steve Nash Foundation for the benefit of underserved children. For reservations, click the link or call 310-546-4995. Shade Hotel, 1221 N. Valley Drive, Manhattan Beach.

Hermosa Beach Pier: Hermosa Beach’s New Year’s Eve celebration takes place at Pier Plaza and admission is free. Entertainment includes Lou Giovannetti and His Big Band; there will 9×12-foot video screens showing ball drops at 9 p.m. and at midnight. Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza, Hermosa Beach.

Portofino Hotel and Marina: Berry Bly Productions hosts its annual New Year’s Eve Gala at the Portofino Hotel and Marina in Redondo Beach. The $45 ticket includes live entertainment from Usef, dangerhouse, Adam Nello and more; as well as feathered samba dancers and percussionists. Tickets: Click on the link or call 310-350-4927. Portofino Hotel and Marina, 260 Portofino Way, Redondo Beach.

Samba Brazilian Steakhouse: Samba invites you to a White Brazilian New Year’s Eve Party, ringing in the year of the World Cup in Brazil. Regular standing-room admission is $45; a $55 ticket gets you all-you-can-eat meat, a gourmet salad bar, and a glass of champagne. Entertainment includes authentic samba music and dancers. Dress code is all white. Call for more information: 818-566-1111. Samba Brazilian Steakhouse, 207 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach.

champagne bucketTerranea: Terranea’s annual Club Countdown Celebration from 9 pm to 2 am includes live music entertainment by DJ Quasar, an open bar, and a late night buffet from 11 pm to 1 am featuring a slider station, an Italian pizza station, and a full dessert station. Tickets are $150 per person before December 26 and $195 per person thereafter. Terranea also offers a New Year’s Eve Family Celebration from 8 pm to 1 am with a plated dinner, dessert bar, and special kids’ menu. Tickets are $150 for adults, $120 for young adults (ages 11 to 20) and $60 for kids ages 5 to 10. Terranea, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes.

Downtown Long Beach: Further south, Downtown Long Beach hosts a free family-friendly celebration at Rainbow Harbor from 5 pm to 10 pm with live music and a fireworks spectacular. On Pine Avenue, there is a street party at Broadway, with live entertainment on three stages and a full New Year’s Eve countdown at midnight. Tickets for the Pine Avenue party are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Long Beach Transit will be offering free rides from 5 pm to 2:30 am. For information, call the Downtown Long Beach Associates at 562-436-4259.

Knott’s Merry Farm

Calico Peanuts GangThe holidays are just around the corner, which means it’s almost time for Knott’s Berry Farm to transform into Knott’s Merry Farm. Starting November 28, Knott’s Merry Farm will be a place to make memories with the entire family – with live entertainment, a crafts fair, lavish holiday decorations, Santa, and of course Snoopy. Snoopy is the star of the “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” ice show performed in the 2,100-seat Charles M. Schulz Theatre, and will also serve as host of a Christmas tree lighting ceremony each night at Calico Stage.

Other features include Lucy’s Wish List at the Camp Snoopy Theater, where guests are invited to join Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, their pal JT, and Snoopy as they contemplate the meaning of Christmas. Also the Ghost Town is transformed into the Christmas Crafts Village, with artisans offering handcrafted jewelry, soaps, ornaments, and more. You can even watch artists in action including a chainsaw sculptor and a glass blower.

KBF_Merry-Farm13_6781-EditFood-wise, there is something for everyone. New for 2013, the Wilderness Dance Hall in Ghost Town has been transformed into Santa’s Christmas Cabin for the holiday season. There you can have a photo taken with Santa and then indulge in holiday delights like Santa’s homemade cookies, sundae bar, hot chocolate topped with hand carved chocolate shavings, winter wine and craft beer tastings, and more. Across the park you’ll find other famous holiday treats, including fresh made-to-order Maple Lollipops in Ghost Town’s Main Street; churros from the Churro Factory; and cakes, cookies, muffins and gingerbread men in the Farm Bakery.

KBF_Merry-Farm13_6271And that’s still not all…One of the highlights for our family was Christmas on Engine 41, where you can ride a vintage train and hear costumed characters telling you all about their Christmas plans. Our group was entertained by a young man from the 1800’s giving a rousing one-man, five-minute performance of “A Christmas Carol.”

Sound like a lot? We spent six hours there and we feel like we didn’t even scratch the surface of what we could do!

Knott's Merry Farm and Santa If you’re headed to Knott’s this month, this is also the time to buy your 2014 Knott’s season pass. Season passes, which offer unlimited visits with no blackout dates in 2014, can be purchased online starting at $78.00 or with six installment payments of $13.00, for a limited time. Those purchasing Knott’s Season Passes will receive one FREE visit during the 2013 season; additional visits for just $9.99 each through December 31, 2013 (per pass holder/non-transferable); access to Knott’s great seasonal offerings, including Knott’s Merry Farm, Knott’s Berry Bloom, and Camp Spooky; discounts at select food and merchandise locations; discounts on Knott’s Scary Farm Tickets; early ride time on select rides during summer season; and special Season Pass Holder events.

Knott’s Berry Farm Theme Park, located at 8039 Beach Blvd. in Buena Park, is open daily (except for Christmas Day) from 10:00 am.  For more information, call (714) 220-5200 or visit  www.knotts.com.

Blogger disclosure: We received complimentary tickets but did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are our own.

Knott’s Camp Spooky 2013

Camp Spooky logo with KnottsIt’s that time of year again…time to dress up, collect some sweets, and have a spooky (or not-so-spooky) good time. Knott’s Berry Farm is once again hosting Camp Spooky, a daytime, non-scare Halloween celebration at its Camp Snoopy kids’ activity zone during weekends in October.

Included in the theme park admission fee, a day at Camp Spooky includes:

  • “Snoopy’s Costume Contest,” where kids show off their costumes as they join a fun group of monsters and the PEANUTS characters in a parade through Camp Spooky.
  • “Charlie Brown’s Spooktacular Show”, in the Camp Spooky theater, which will have you singing and dancing to all your favorite Halloween tunes.
  • The Monster Factory, an interactive maze where the little ones create the things that go bump in the night.
  • Five trick-or-treating locations where kids can fill their complimentary goodie bags with sweet treats.
  • A “Creepy Crawly Critter Cave,” where Knott’s park naturalists will amaze with slithery, slimy, creepy, crawly critters.
  • “Scary Stories at the Lodge,” where master story tellers will spin the craziest, creepiest, silliest tales this side of the “Great Pumpkin Patch”.
  • “Kooky Cookie Painting” where you can decorate a cookie (for a small fee) with fun Halloween colors.

RT KBF Camp Spooky 12-6748Camp Spooky runs weekends October 5-27 and is included with regular park admission.  Knott’s Berry Farm Theme Park, located at 8039 Beach Blvd. in Buena Park, is open from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm.  For more information, call (714) 220-5200 or visit  www.knotts.com.

Thank you to GigaSavvy for the Knott’s connection!

“Give to Get” For Local P.E. Programs

H2GO footwearWant to do a good deed and get a new pair of shoes? Check out the Skechers donation event this Sunday before the concert at the Hermosa Pier. When you donate any new, packaged, unopened physical education equipment, you can get a new pair of women’s or girls’ H2GO footwear for free.

The event will take place on Sunday, August 18, from noon to 5:00 pm at the Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza near Hennessey’s Tavern. The equipment needed includes soccer balls, basketballs, softballs, footballs, tennis balls, softball equipment, baseball gloves, jump ropes, orange cones, helmets, bouncy balls, volleyballs, and hula hoops. The donations will benefit school districts including El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, and Torrance; as well as the Friendship Circle.

Skechers Performance LogoComplimentary shoes will be available while supplies last. When you head down to the Hermosa Pier, look for the Skechers Performance Division tent!

“Making Little Ripples” Fundraiser

LR Wine Event Flyer-outlines copyEver wanted to do something little that could make a big impact? Little Ripples is a small nonprofit based in Redondo Beach that is starting a preschool program in the Darfuri refugee camps in Chad. To benefit this program, Little Ripples is hosting a wine tasting benefit at Barsha Wines and Spirits in Manhattan Beach, on Sunday, July 28 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.

The evening will include unlimited wine tasting and snacks, live musical performances, a photo and art display from the refugee camps, and raffle prizes including wine baskets and tours, tickets to the Discovery Science Center and Art Department, jewelry, and more. Tickets can be purchased online for $29 or at the door for $35.

Talk about a big impact…The first Little Ripples school is scheduled to open in in refugee camp Goz Amer in Eastern Chad this summer and will serve approximately 400 children. Little Ripples’ goal is to serve all of the approximately 8,000 children 3-5 years old in camps Goz Amer and Djabal. Please join Little Ripples to support this ambitious and impactful program.

Barsha Wines and Spirits is located at 917 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach, CA. More information about Little Ripples can be found at littleripples.org.

Barsha Wine Giveaway

barsha giveawayHow healthy is your lifestyle? The Blue Zones Project of the Beach Cities would like to make it healthier – and more fun. With its new campaign, Wine @ 5, they’re asking adults to look for a friend and a glass of wine around 5pm each day, to connect socially, “downshift” and “belong.” The medical benefits of a little wine are a nice bonus.

To promote Wine @ 5, they are sponsoring a very cool giveaway – a massive gift basket from Barsha, the new wine store on Sepulveda in Manhattan Beach. The gift basket, valued at $200, is chock-full of good-for-you goodies including wine, coffee, tea, and chocolates.

To enter, all you have to do is take the Blue Zones pledge for healthy living. A winner will be drawn at random from all Manhattan Beach residents who sign up during the month of February.

That’s it – you’re done! You’re on the road to a healthier lifestyle already. And now that you’ve got a glass of wine in your hands, stop by and visit the lively community of readers at Manhattan Beach Confidential, the official host of the giveaway. Here’s to your good health!

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