Your Ultimate Guide To August: 20 Awesome Events Happening in Southern California

Summer of 2018 stretches on. Don’t let the heat stop you from having fun! We found a number of notable happenings in August, and we’re ready to help you plan your social calendar. Read on for all our event picks and details.

Aug. 1-12

The 143rd Ventura County Fair returns to the fairgrounds this month, providing a great excuse to head to the coast and simultaneously indulge in both fried foods and fresh sea air. Ride the carnival rides, visit farm animals, view the art exhibitions, check out the rodeo or listen to great live music. Headliners include: UB40, Plain White T’s, LeAnn Rimes, Alfredo Olivas, Ulices Chaidez, Lorenzo de Monteclaro, Sublime with Rome, The 5th Dimension, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Boyz II Men, Hunter Hayes, and Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Tickets: $8-$36.

Aug. 2-12


This American Cinematheque film series is presented in conjunction with LACMA’s current exhibition, 3D: Double Vision. Both the Aero in Santa Monica and the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood will screen the films. The schedule includes 1980s 3-D titles on 35mm, including Amityville 3-D and Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, as well as 1950s classics like the House of Wax, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Dial M for Murder. Many of the programs are double features. Tickets: $12 (per screening).

Aug. 2-16

JazzPOP, the Hammer Museum’s jazz festival, returns for its 13th season on Thursday, Aug. 2, and continues for the next few Thursday nights. The series brings together “visionary West Coast musician/composers” beginning with Motoko Honda’s Simple Excesses on Aug. 2, the LaurenBabaOrchestra on Aug. 9 and The Tiptons Sax Quartet on Aug. 16. Concerts are free and begin at 8:00 p.m.

Aug. 2-26

WAITRESS (Musical)

Your Ultimate Guide To August: 20 Awesome Events Happening in Southern California
Charity Angel Dawson, Desi Oakley and Lenne Klingaman in the National Tour of WAITRESS / Credit: Joan Marcus

Adrienne Shelly’s film Waitress has been adapted into a musical, with original music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, book by Jessie Nelson, and direction by Diane Paulus. The national tour stops at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood this month. The story focuses on Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker, who dreams of escaping her small town and loveless marriage. Tickets start at $49.

Aug. 3-4, 10-11

San Fernando Valley Summer Drive-In Nights returns to the Lake Balboa Complex at Woodley Park for the second year . The series screens four iconic San Fernando Valley films on a 60-foot screen in a retro setting: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Aug. 3; Back To The Future Part II on Aug. 4; Pee-wee’s Big Adventure on Aug. 10; and Selena on Aug. 11. Tickets: $15 per person. Gates open at 6:30 p.m for entertainment, music, laser tag, arcade games, large board games, a silent disco and food trucks. The films start at 8:30 p.m.

Aug. 4-12

Dozens of eateries in Long Beach are offering specials during Dine LBC. Participating establishments include The Queen Mary, Sweet Dixie Kitchen, Rasselbock, King’s Fish House, 555 East, and The Pie Bar. Two or three-course lunch and dinner prix fixe meals are $15, $25, $35, $45, $55 or $65, with fine dining restaurants offering a Special Chef’s option for $85. The prices do not include tip, tax or beverages.

Aug. 4-5

CATCON (Feline fun)

Mee-oooow! The fourth CatCon returns to the Pasadena convention center for fans of the feline. The convention includes workshops and seminars, a pop art show, and more than 200 cats and kittens up for adoption from Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA. Special guests throughout the weekend include Lil BUB, Ian Somerhalder, Georgia Hardstark, cat historian Dr. Paul Koudounaris and many others. The show runs Saturday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Admission: $15-$35.

Aug. 4-19

The Getty Center welcomes families to its Central Garden on weekends for free outdoor Garden Concerts for Kids this month. The series begins on Aug. 4-5 with New Orleans sounds from Jazzy Ash and her band the Leaping Lizards. Other acts include Moona Luna on Aug. 11-12, and Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players on Aug. 18-19. All concerts start at 4:00 p.m.

Aug. 5

BON IVER AND TU DANCE (Music + dance)

Grammy-winning indie rock outfit Bon Iver, led by Justin Vernon, teams with the Minnesota contemporary dance company Tu Dance for the West Coast premiere of their collaboration, Come Through. Watch the modern moves on stage while Bon Iver performs live. Opening the night are Wye Oak and the Metropolis Ensemble performing William Brittelle’s “Spiritual America.” While the show begins at 7:00 p.m., get there early for Somm Sunday—complimentary wine tasting in the Plaza Marketplace. Tickets: $15-$160.

Aug. 10-12

OZCON 2018 (Music)
The 54th annual edition of OzCon—the long-running convention that celebrates all things about author L. Frank Baum and the Land of Oz book series—takes place from Aug. 10-12 at the Kellogg West Conference Center in Pomona. This year’s theme is The Tin Woodman of Oz, which is the 12th Oz book written by Baum and published 100 years ago. The weekend includes discussions, special guests, cosplay, a Dealers’ Room, an auction and trivia contests. Passes: $50-$135.

Aug. 11-Feb. 10, 2019

LACMA opens the exhibition Rauschenberg: In and About L.A. on Aug. 11 in the museum’s Resnick Pavilion. The show features a selection of works artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) created either in Los Angeles or about the city. The pieces highlight the city’s impact on his artistry and output. Museum admission: $20 adults/$16 seniors who reside in LA County; $25 adults/$21 seniors who reside outside of LA County.

Aug. 11


Cinespia’s 8th Annual Movies All Night Slumber Party takes place on Saturday, Aug. 11 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood. This year’s bewitching lineup includes The Craft at 9:00 p.m., Practical Magic at midnight; and The Witches of Eastwick at 2:00 a.m. Parking extra. Bring a blanket, pillows, low chairs and a picnic. Tickets: $30. Parking extra.

Aug. 11-19

NISEI WEEK (Festival)
The 78th Los Angeles Nisei Week—Little Tokyo’s largest cultural festival—celebrates Japanese music, dance, art and food. Highlights of the festival include: the Sunset on the Plaza night market on Aug. 11; a doggie party and grand parade on Aug. 12; and a Rubik’s Cube open, and a Gyoza eating contest on Aug. 18. Entry to the festival is free.

Aug. 15


Your Ultimate Guide To August: 20 Awesome Events Happening in Southern California
Gregory Porter takes on Nat King Cole’s songbook at the Hollywood Bowl. Image: Courtesy of the artist

Jazz singer Gregory Porter pays musical tribute to one of the greatest American singers of all time—Nat King Cole—at the Hollywood Bowl on Aug. 15. Porter will be joined by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, directed by Victor Mendoza, in the program: Nat King Cole & Me. The night begins with a set from tap dance virtuoso Savion Glover. While the concert doesn’t start until 8:00 p.m., get to the Bowl early for Winemaker Wednesday, a complimentary wine tasting in the Plaza Marketplace from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Tickets: $1-$161.

Aug. 18-19

2018 Pacific Wine & Food Classic (Food festival)

Your Ultimate Guide To August: 20 Awesome Events Happening in Southern California
Image: Pacific Wine & Food Classic wineries

The Pacific Wine & Food Classic in Newport Beach is a gourmand’s heaven. Guests enjoy bites and samples from local top chefs while exploring more than 100 wines and hand-crafted cocktails. In between the eating, there’ll be celebrity chef presentations, master sommelier discussions, and summer mixology demos. Participating restaurants include: Bluegold, Farmhouse Filomena’s Provenance, Baja Shellfish – Fresh Shellfish Bar, Bluewater Grill, Burger Boss (serving the official “Pacific Burger”), CUCINA enoteca, Prego, Sol Agave and Toast. Guests must be 21+ to attend this event. Tickets start at $99.

Aug. 21-Sept. 2

ON YOUR FEET! (Musical)
Enjoy a story of resilience with a danceable soundtrack at The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa this month. The musical On Your Feet! retraces Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s roots from Cuba to pop stardom in America, facing heartbreak and tragedy along the way. The show, directed by Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), features choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys), and an original book by Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman). Tickets start at $29.

Aug. 25-26

Knott’s Berry Farm holds a “Coaster Campout” on Aug. 25-26. Camp out for one night in the Park Pavilion Picnic Center. The donation (100 percent of proceeds goes to the Boys & Girls Club) includes admission to Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City; continental breakfast, and early ride time in Camp Snoopy and Fiesta Village on Aug. 26; and one free parking spot. Campers must check in on Aug. 25. Campout tickets are $250 (up to four people). Each campsite can accommodate a 10×10 tent maximum.

Aug. 30-Sept. 3

CINECON (Film fest)
The 54th edition of the Cinecon Classic Film Festival and memorabilia show returns to Hollywood during Labor Day weekend. The festival focuses on older and unusual short and feature films that are rarely given public screenings. Films are shown at the Egyptian Theatre with the memorabilia show taking place at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. Special guests include Eve Marie Saint and last-remaining silent film star Diana Serra Cary. The opening night film is Helen’s Babies (1924) with Cary as “Baby Peggy.” Other films at the fest are: The Ape, Goldie, Laurel and Hardy shorts as well as a technicolor presentation of The Golden Horde starring Ann Blyth. Cinecon does not sell tickets to individual films, but they do offer day passes ($40-$55) at the door. Full festival passes are $200. Memorabilia Room entrance is $10.

Aug. 31-Sept. 23


Your Ultimate Guide To August: 20 Awesome Events Happening in Southern California
The LA County Fair celebrates Route 66 this summer.

The LA County Fair returns to the Fairplex in Pomona on Aug. 31. And with it comes the usual sights—the fair animals, carnival rides, cooking demos, retro arcade games and concerts (The Commodores, Luis Fonsi, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts & Cheap Trick, The Beach Boys, War, and Tower of Power)—but we’re interested in the food. The fried kind. Except for Labor Day, the fair is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission: $8-$20. Children ages 5 and younger get in for free.

Aug. 31-Sept. 3

LA FLEET WEEK (Celebration)
Fleet Week is a multi-day celebration of the country’s sea services—Navy, Marines and Coast Guard—over Labor Day Weekend. The free activities include public ship tours, military displays and demonstrations, a kids’ STEM Expo, aircraft flyovers and the 10th Annual Conquer the Bridge Labor Day morning 5.3-mile walk/run over the iconic Vincent Thomas Bridge. To coincide with the festivities, Amazon Studios also holds the North American premiere of Tom Clancy’s new series Jack Ryan on the Battleship Iowa on Aug. 31.

Christine N. Ziemba is a Los Angeles-based arts and culture writer who loves to tell people what to do (and where to go). Check out her events columns and other musings on, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.