Grinchmas opens Thanksgiving Day at Universal Studios Hollywood

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Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood is a fun family destination for the Who-lidays. Next Tuesday, they will honor the lovely Florence Henderson as “Who-Manitarian of the Year”, for her work with City of Hope. In addition to playing Carol Brady in the classic sitcom The Brady Bunch, Florence has had a long career, including appearing on Broadway, being a singer, author, motivational speaker and talk show host.

Grinchmas will open to the public on Thanksgiving Day with special performances at the original “Who-ville” production set from the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas (starring Jim Carrey). Who knew?

Westin St. Francis transformed into holiday oasis

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Today,  The Westin St. Francis will be transformed into a festive oasis, embellished with spectacular holiday decorations created by Joe Vincent Designs. Upon entering the historic Landmark Lobby, a 15-foot, glimmering white and silver holiday tree decorated in energy saving LED lights will transcend into different colors.

Families will delight in the whimsically adorned Tower Lobby, featuring a soaring 18-foot tall tree. A winter wonderland will be displayed over the front desk with arrangements of beautiful metallic apple green and pale gold Christmas trees and an assortment of glittering green boxes surrounded by gold garland, patches of snow and clusters of dripping LED icicles adorning the length of the overhang.

 

Whistler offers a Cornucopia of food, wine and parties

The wait is over for wine, spirit, cocktail and food connoisseurs anticipating the return of Cornucopia presented by BlueShore Financial and even Mother Nature got in on the fun with a fresh blanket of snowfall in Whistler.

Now in its 17th year, Cornucopia kicked off yesterday, with expanded programming now over 11 days. Cornucopia goes far beyond food and drink, offering an educational component as well as a new health and wellness series.

Featuring the long-standing favourite wine tastings, seminars, dinners and parties alongside new additions including the Nourish health and wellness series, the educational component with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Courseand seminars and events on everything from wine, spirits, cocktails and craft beer, Cornucopia offers something for every taste.

Cornucopia kicks off today with the Nourish series at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, followed by House Party – Best of BC at the Whistler Conference Centre this evening. For the complete list of expanded programming, tickets and bundle options, visit www.whistlercornucopia.com

Visit whistlercornucopia.com for ticket and event information. Cornucopia packages are available onwww.whistler.com

MGM Resorts offers Vegas Winter Getaways

MGM Resorts International invites those chilled to the bone to come visit The Strip with Vegas Winter Getaway packages. All visitors will enjoy 20% off room rates at Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, Luxor and Excalibur, plus happy hour offers, limited-time prices on show tickets and spa specials.

Below are a few offerings included in the various resort packages: 2-for-1 cocktails at Michael Mina’s newly opened PUB 1842 at MGM Grand; 20% off dinner at Red Square at Mandalay Bay; $3 off Admission to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage; 2-for-1 buckets of beer at The Pub at Monte Carlo, with more than 50 kinds of beer on tap; 20% off the Sea Salt Glow 50 Minute Treatment at Nurture Spa at Luxor

Ventura Harbor offers Wine, Dine & Jazz Sundays in November

 Ventura Harbor Village and Ventura Harbor are inviting visitors to get in swing in celebration of the holidays ahead with the debut of its Wine, Dine & Jazz Sundays at three art galleries and 10 seaside restaurant venues in November from noon – 3 p.m.

Visitors to this seaside enclave will enjoy live jazz, accompanied by wine and dine specials, tastings and wine flights. Wines from California, Greece, France, Italy, and Chile will be featured on restaurant menus.  Performers include the Jon Stanger duo, Toni Jannotta duo and Justin Claveria trio.

 Participating restaurants will offer wine flights, tastings, and pairings, and include 805 Bar & Grilled Cheese, Andria’s Seafood Restaurant & Market, Le Petit Café & Bakery, Margarita Villa Mexican Restaurant, Milano’s Italian Restaurant, Spinnaker Steak & Seafood Broiler, Rhumb Line Restaurant, and The Greek at the Harbor, all overlooking the boats on the water.  Three art galleries will also offer wine tastings, including Harborside Village Gallery & Artisan Store, Tina O’Brien Gallery & Studio and Ventura County Potter’s Guild.  

Admission and parking are free for Wine, Dine & Jazz Sundays.   For those wishing to spend the weekend harbor-side, they can opt for “Seas the Day Stay & Play” special guestroom rates offered at the Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort priced from $109* Sunday - Thursday midweek special, and $119* Weekends with (two) night minimum stay required, and $10 parking. 

 For additional information, call (805) 658-1212, ext. 1290 - CODE “Ventura Harbor Village Fall” (Package Code 4239) to schedule dates. www.VenturaHarborVillage.com.

Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival set for Oct. 19-20

The Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival draws many visitors to the “World Pumpkin Capital” on historic Main Street. This year’s 43rd annual festival will be held on October 19-20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
 
The Big Week launches with the World’s Greatest Gourd Growers and their enormous orbs gathering for the 40th Annual SAFEWAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PUMPKIN WEIGH-OFF, the Super Bowl of weigh-off events, on Oct. 14. Organizers are offering $25,000 in prize money for a new world record entered at Half Moon Bay.
The current world record is 2009-pounds –– the monster pumpkin was grown by Ron Wallace and set at a weigh-off in Topsfield MA in 2012. Defending Half Moon Bay champion Thad Starr, of Pleasant Hill OR, obliterated the formidable field of heavyweight contenders at last year’s Half Moon Bay weigh-off with his 1,775-pound mega-gourd that set a new California weigh-off record.
Starr is expected to return along with a host of accomplished, veteran growers to contend for the $25,000 world record prize. The grand champion mega-gourd, along with the top five weigh-off pumpkins, will be displayed at the Pumpkin Festival, October 19-20.
 
There’s a smashing lineup of entertainment on three stages featuring everything from contemporary country, pop reggae, Latin rock, salsa, blues, folk, classic and Celtic rock music by some of the Bay Area’s top bands. 
 
Shop  America’s finest artists while browsing 275 booths featuring original work in glass, ceramics, metals, fiber, leather, wood, jewelry, and fine art. “Made on the Coast”, a dedicated Locals’ Artists Block, returns with an expanded lineup of fine art, crafts, live music, a book and author booth, and a haiku contest (on Sunday only).
Enjoy popular events like pumpkin pie-eating contests, a Halloween costume contest, pumpkin carving for fun (no judging), Young Actors Workshop’s bone-chilling Haunted House, the Great Pumpkin Parade (Saturday, 12 noon), a Pancake Breakfast, and the 5k & 10k Pumpkin Run.
 Soar high above the crowd on our awesome new Zip-line in Stone Pine Center, making its festival debut. Catch massive air on Spider Jump’s super fun bungee jump in the Gazebo area.
 
The festival is a fabulous feast famous for its homestyle dishes, with many featuring product from local farms. The sweet and spicy pumpkin, naturally, takes center stage: savory treats like pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake rolls, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin churros, chicken pumpkin sausages, and, new this year, warm pretzels with a pumpkin sauce and pumpkin seeds. 
 
The festival runs October 19-20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main St. between Miramontes and Spruce Streets in Half Moon Bay. Admission is free. Pets are not allowed. The festival is presented by the non-profit Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee. For information, call 650-726-9652 or check outwww.miramarevents.com

AJ Hackett celebrates 25 years of bungy jumping in New Zealand

AJ Hackett Bungy will celebrate 25 years of bungy in spectacular style with 25 days of events, promotions and competitions culminating in a ‘not-to-be-missed’ party on Nov. 12.

As the official ‘World Home of Bungy’, Queenstown’s historic Kawarau Bridge will be the focus of celebrations.

Over the 25 years more than three million people have bungy jumped at AJ Hackett Bungy sites around the world. Celebrity visits to the four New Zealand sites include Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Jack Black and Tiger Woods.

AJ Hackett Bungy co-founder and director Henry van Asch said he was “overwhelmed and incredibly proud” to see the company reach the quarter of a century milestone.

“For 25 years AJ Hackett Bungy has encouraged people to step outside their comfort zone, balancing the perceived risk of jumping, swinging and now zipping from a great height, with the most stringent of safety measures,” he said.

“Bungy’s an iconic ‘must-do’ adventure activity and we look forward to welcoming people for many more years to come.”

People can follow celebrations on the AJ Hackett Bungy Facebook page and are encouraged to use the #25yearsofbungy hashtag on social media sites.

Outrigger Reef to celebrate Oktoberfest from Oct. 17-19

Bringing a taste of Munich to Waikiki, Outrigger Reef on the Beach will host its first-ever Oktoberfest event this October 17 to 19 – welcoming guests and locals alike to come enjoy traditional Bavarian food and festivities.

Guido Ulmann, the German-Swiss executive chef from the Outrigger Reef on the Beach,will be expertly preparing all of the traditional dishes associated with Oktoberfest.

“I love how food enables diners to visit another culture, without hopping on a plane,” says Chef Ulmann. “Oktoberfest at the Outrigger Reef provides a fresh opportunity for our guests to enjoy the flavors of Europe and merriment of the Oktoberfest traditions, right here on the shores of Waikiki.”

In the spirit of Oktoberfest, The Edelweiss Trio will be performing traditional German music, dressed in authentic Bavarian dirndl and lederhosen. The Edelweiss Trio has become a staple Oktoberfest performers having performed in Honolulu for more than 35 years, bringing their particular brand of oom-pah to the islands.

Kids get into San Diego museums for free in October

San Diego Museum Council invites kids to explore San Diego’s diverse museums – for Free! From October 1 – 31, children ages 12 and under receive free admission with a paid adult (limit 2) at close to 40 museums – Visit them all! Just download the coupon at the San Diego Museum Council link below.

Explore the hidden treasures of the ocean or the far reaches of outer space. Delve into local history, visual arts, botanical gardens, architectural treasure in San Diego.

A popular program for three years, Kids Free in October is presented by Time Warner Cable with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture.

A sample of participating museums include:

LAN raffles off airline tickets on Sept. 21 at The Grove

 On Sept. 21, LAN Airlines, part of LATAM Airlines Group, South America’s largest airline group and PromPeru, the country’s official tourism board, will bring an authentic Peruvian town square experience to The Grove in Los Angeles. Visitors to the event will be able to discover the unique and exciting travel experiences that can be found only in Peru.

Visitors will have the opportunity to enter to win hourly airline ticket raffles with one round-trip ticket in Economy class from Los Angeles to Lima being raffled at 12 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. A grand prize of two tickets to Lima on LAN’s award-winning Premium Business Class will be raffled off at 6 p.m. 

The event will also feature dance performances from Raices Peruanas, Peruvian themed treats and beverages and an interactive photo booth that allows visitors to discover the hidden treasures of Peru via green screen and share on their Facebook or Twitter pages.

LAN Airlines offers 13 flights per week from LAX to Lima and connecting flights to 14 destinations within Peru.