Archives for February 10, 2019

Queen Mary’s 26th Annual ScotsFestival Welcomes New All-American Professional Highland Games Feb. 16-17

Jon O’Neil, North American record holder in Braemar Stone

The Queen Mary welcomes back the annual celebration of authentic Scottish heritage at ScotsFestival & International Highland Games XXVI February 16-17. ScotsFestival will present the new All-American Professional Highland Games to this year’s festivities, welcoming internationally decorated athletes to compete for titles in traditional competitions such as caber toss, throwing the weight, the hammer throw, putting the shot, and the sheaf toss.

This year’s games welcome the highest level of Professional Scottish Athletics to compete in the new All-American Professional Highland Games. Professional, Amateur, and Master Athletes will compete in several categories of traditional Highland competitions with final scores entered into the North American Scottish Games Athletics database. Those scores generate the invitations to Professional Highland games, which are invitation only, based on success in competition.

“The Queen Mary is a fantastic venue to watch local and visiting athletes compete.  It has been our favorite place to begin the Highland games season in Southern California for many years.” shared Catherine Ballard, Athletics Committee Member for ScotsFestival.

Scots have been honoring ancient Celtic traditions with athletic competitions for centuries, testing physical strength, skill and technique. The All-American Professional Highland Games welcomes some of the most acclaimed athletes to the Queen Mary to demonstrate their ancient warrior skill set, including some local stars who are from Southern California.

Growing up Lake Forest, California, Jon O’Neil was an NCAA All-American Shot Putter and Discus Thrower in college before competing in Olympic trials in 2000 and 2004. He won the International Highland Games Federation (IHGF) World Team Championship in 2012 and is the current North American record holder in Braemar Stone, who will be competing in the Professional division in the All-American Highland Games.  

Colin Dunbar graduated from Long Beach State University before becoming five-time USATF national champion competitor in the Olympic hammer throw and an Amateur World Record holder. In his first year as a Professional Athlete, Dunbar will be participating in all nine traditional Highland competitions offered at this year’s ScotsFestival.  

Ballard shared, “We have fielded dozens of international athletes and world record holders over the years, and 2019 is no exception. This year SAAA is very excited to expand the competition with the addition of a men’s IHGF professional class.”

ScotsFestival & International Highland Games XXVI welcomes nearly seventy Scottish clans and vendors throughout the festival weekend with professional and amateur competitions in piping, drumming, massed bands, darts, Highland dancing, and the new All-American Professional Highland athletics. The Scottish Highland Games, a precursor to today’s Olympic Games, were designed to test the strength, skill and technique of ancient warriors through faceoffs in caber toss, throwing the weight, hammer throw, putting the shot, sheaf toss and more.

Tickets to the 26th Annual ScotsFestival & International Highlands Games are on sale now and start at $25 online (ages 12+) and $12 online (ages 4-11) for one day general admission. VIP tickets start at $45 online. Upgrades, ticket add-ons, and hotel packages will also be available. Discounts are available to military and seniors. Visit for more details and to purchase tickets online.

Credit: The Queen Mary.

Top 5 Reasons to Give the Gift of Pageant of the Masters this Valentine’s Day

Diane (left) and Angel Duarte (right) . Photo credit: Jeff Rovner.

 Let cupid strike an arrow this Valentine’s Day that will last through the summer! The Pageant of the Masters, the nation’s most iconic presentation of living pictures, is sure to have your special someone spell bounded with shows nightly July 7 – August 31, 2019. Themed The Time Machine for the 2019 production, enjoy a romantic evening filled with re-creations of classical and contemporary works of art with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces.
The Pageant of the Masters presents the top 5 reasons to give the gift of “living pictures” this Valentine’s Day that will have you and your special someone feeling the summer love.

  1. February 14th discounts! Special for Valentine’s Day, save 20% on tickets to this summer’s production with promotional code VAL20 (excludes loge center seats). To take advantage of this incredible offer call (800) 487-3378 or visit Offer begins January 17 and ends February 14, 2019.
  2. Date night done right! If you’re looking for a unique and romantic gift idea, look no further! Art aficionados, entertainment seekers, and music lovers alike will be swept away with the star-lit amphitheater of the Irvine Bowl. Elevating the romantic atmosphere, the Pageant of the Masters amazes couples nightly with a professional orchestra playing an original score to accompany the scenes on stage.
  3. No last supper here! Let your taste buds fall in love with sips and tastes available on the Festival of Arts grounds, including the new on-property dining destination: Terra Laguna Beach. Focusing on delicious and healthy California cuisine, Terra Laguna Beach creates artfully crafted dishes at a beautiful sit-down restaurant that is sure to tempt everyone’s taste buds. Or bring your own picnic and dine on the beautiful festival green and enjoy live entertainment.
  4. Monet all day! Make a date night into an all-day rendezvous and arrive before the Pageant to enjoy the highly praised Festival of Arts Fine Arts Show. As one of the nation’s oldest juried fine art shows, the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts offers a breathtaking showcase for artists and art lovers to enjoy, mingle, and participate. Sweeten the moment and purchase art from your favorite artist to make a memory last a lifetime.
  5. The Time Machine! Pay homage to the groundbreaking sci-fi work that inspired everything from ‘Dr. Who’ to ‘Back to the Future’ – this year’s theme will bring time travel to Laguna Beach. Cuddle up with your sweetheart as “The Time Machine” comes to life with the tableaux vivants and the musical accompaniments celebrating the world of H.G. Wells.

The 2019 Pageant of the Masters, The Time Machine, offers many reasons to spoil your loved ones with tickets to this summer’s showcase, July 7 – August 31, 2019, starting at just $15 per person. The 2019 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will take place July 5 – August 31, 2019 with general admission tickets starting at $10 per person. A Pageant Ticket is also a season pass ticket to the Festival of Arts so patrons can enjoy the art show all summer long. For more information and to purchase Pageant tickets, visit


Credit: Pageant of the Masters.

Eat Your Heart Out On Valentine’s Day at Little Tokyo’s Far Bar

Go Little Tokyo for A Valentine’s Day full of good company and great eats prepared by an Award-Winning Chef.

Photos Courtesy of Far Bar

Great food and drinks make for the perfect pairing this Valentine’s Day at Far Bar in the heart of Little Tokyo! Whether visiting with a significant other, celebrating Anti-Valentine’s Day or single and ready to mingle, Go Little Tokyo presents an endless evening for everyone on Valentine’s Day in the vibrant and energetic neighborhood of Little Tokyo!

Enjoy a colorful evening on Far Bar’s romantic skylit patio offering a deliciously special three-course $45 per person meal. Ignite the evening with a heartwarming bowl of lobster bisque, a choice of white bass and butternut squash or flank steak with chimichurri as the entrée, and finish off with a passion-filled slice of red velvet cake.

No partner? No problem. Grab a seat at the indoor lounge to enjoy drinks, laughs and Anti-Valentine’s Day single specials with friends including steak, fish and burger offerings. With over 34 different craft beers on tap and the largest Southern California selection of bottled beers from Japan, Far Bar’s great drinks parallel the versatile menu. A beer pairing special with Common Space Brewery will be offered exclusively for the evening.

Far Bar celebrates gastronomic love by inviting all foodies to savor delicious eats prepared by award-winning executive chef, Visoth Tarak Ouk. The acclaimed chef, with a heartfelt story from a distraught past, pursued his dream to cook at Creperie La Rue, Federal Bar, and several French-Pan Asian restaurants in Long Beach. Nicknamed “Chef T,” he’s studied the art of fusing street attitude and dining to create food for the moment, whatever moment you may hope to create at Far Bar on Valentine’s day.

A dreamy evening comes alive in Little Tokyo this Valentine’s Day. Whether it be spent with a bae, gal pals, or members of your bromance, Go Little Tokyo offers something for everyone in the heart of Downtown LA. Visit to find more dining experiences and exciting night entertainment offered in Little Tokyo.
Reservations for Far Bar are recommended, not required. Please call 213-617-9990 or email for reservations.