With 90-degree days often times in winter, and the ability to reach both the beach and the mountains in a single day, Orange County is an unusual place to live. That being said, finding things that are unique to Orange County – where most of the architecture is boxy and beige — is a little more of a challenge. That’s not to say it’s impossible. Here are some things that exist in Orange County, but not elsewhere.
Pageant of the Masters
650 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
The Pageant Of The Masters is an event truly unlike any other. For the event, famous paintings are recreated with live actors in an amphitheater. If the event and the setting weren’t enough, the pageant is accompanied by an orchestra and live narration. This is such a famous event that it was part of the plot of an episode of Arrested Development. Pageant of the Masters runs from early July through the end of August for 90 minutes each night.
Chocolate-covered ice cream bars may exist elsewhere, but Balboa Bars exist only in Newport Beach. In fact, two places both claim to be the birthplace of the Balboa Bar, but the real winners are the customers – especially since they get to see the process and enjoy the results. Balboa Bars are dipped in chocolate, then rolled in a topping of the customer’s choice. Whether you get it from Dad’s or Sugar ‘n’ Spice, you can’t go wrong with this treat that is a symbol both of Orange County and summertime.
The Christ Cathedral (The Crystal Cathedral)
13280 Chapman Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92840
You expect to see unique churches when you visit Europe. Granted, those are hundreds of years old and made of stone. Orange County has its own unique place of worship in the city of Orange. The unique thing about this church is all the glass. It was designed and built more like a skyscraper than any traditional place of worship. In fact, another thing that makes this place unique is that with a capacity of more than 2,700, this church built in 1981 was ahead of the curve when it comes to megachurches. Tours are available for groups of 15 or more.
Rickenbacker Guitars and Basses
If you check out enough live music or talk to enough musicians, you’ll learn that Rickenbacker guitars and basses are desired and admired by many. The Beatles were just one band that used Rickenbacker instruments — especially in the early years. You can probably find any number of reasons why so many musicians want to play a Rickenbacker. A big part of it is that the instruments are well made right here in Orange County. That’s right — the manufacturer is headquartered in Santa Ana.
Related: Best Places For Guitar Lessons In OC
In the world of sports, every team has a mascot. Well, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are no different. The mascot of the Angels isn’t some winged cherub. Rather, the mascot for this team is the rally monkey, who appears on the big screen in the outfield when the Angels need to stage a comeback. He became really well known when the Angels played the Giants in the 2002 World Series, but he lives on at Angels game. Fans, especially young ones, are generally pretty excited to see the little guy on the screen. Accept no imitations.
Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.