Creative ‘Canstruction’ returns for 15th year to support O.C. Food Bank

Sculpture titled "We're All Mad About Ending Hunger" constructed by JRMA Architects Engineers.
Sculpture titled “We’re All Mad About Ending Hunger” constructed by JRMA Architects Engineers for 15th Annual “Canstruction” at South Coast Plaza.
(Sarahi Apaez)

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, Sept. 7. I’m Carol Cormaci, bringing you today’s TimesOC newsletter with the latest roundup of news and events.

A trip to South Coast Plaza between now and Sept. 25 will put you face to face with this year’s iteration of what must be one of the most clever fundraisers for a food bank there is: “Canstruction Orange County,” a design-and-build competition created by the Community Action Partnership of Orange County.

This year’s entries, created by architectural, engineering and design firms, debuted Saturday, and you will see quite a lineup. Eight huge displays of very carefully stacked canned food goods, created by 13 firms, take a variety of forms. They were inspired by children’s literature, popular movies and toys.


The competitors had some months to conceptualize their entries, but only 12 hours to build them, from last Friday night into Saturday morning.

“It’s really the most fun, whimsical, creative food drive you could imagine,” Mark Lowry, director of the
OC Food Bank, told my colleague Sara Cardine, who wrote a news story about the drive this week.

“But it’s also an opportunity for us to tell our story and keep the issue of hunger in front of people,” Lowry continued.

Judges will choose this year’s winners, and the announcement will be made Sept. 20 in a beach party awards celebration at Newport Aquatics Center. Tickets and more information for that event can be found here. The public, for $1 per vote, can select a “People’s Choice” awardee for the “Canstruction” contest.

All proceeds go to the OC Food Bank, which, according to Cardine’s story, provided 63 million pounds of foods and served 500,000 individuals each month in 2020.


Throngs of beachgoers swim in the Pacific Ocean.
Throngs of beachgoers swim in the Pacific Ocean to cool down from the hot temperatures in Huntington Beach on Labor Day.
(James Carbone)

— As was feared when news of the massive heat dome over the Southland was first forecast, the extreme heat wave that started Aug. 30 and sent crowds to the beaches to cool off over the long Labor Day weekend will stretch through at least Friday, according to weather officials. Temperatures soared over the weekend, with new records set in inland Orange County cities like Anaheim and Santa Ana, where the mercury climbed to 107 and 108 degrees respectively on Sunday.

— The owner of Isabella’s Fine Jewelry in Huntington Beach opened fire at multiple armed people who allegedly forced their way into the store in an apparent robbery attempt at about 4 p.m. Saturday and then fled in two vehicles, including one that later crashed in Los Alamitos. Several people ran from the site of the crash, including a minor who was arrested and taken to juvenile hall on suspicion of robbery, Huntington Beach police spokeswoman Jessica Cuchilla said.

— Members of the Costa Mesa City Council at their meeting last night were expected to consider spending $1.12 million to hire 11 full-time custody officers to staff the police department’s jail, after a third-party contractor failed to find adequate personnel. Stay tuned to learn the outcome of their vote in an upcoming newsletter.

— A former criminal justice student accused in a shooting in Huntington Beach that left a man dead three years ago owed about $60,000 in gambling debt to the victim, according to evidence and testimony presented in court Thursday. Dennis Tri Gia Dang faces one count of murder in connection with the killing of Fountain Valley resident Linh Ho. Ho was 48 when he was found lying wounded in the parking lot of a strip mall at the corner of Warner Avenue and Magnolia Street on Oct. 20, 2019, and later died at a hospital.

— Let’s call this item, which you might have seen on TV news over the weekend a “news lite” entry: The Costco in Irvine had an unexpected best seller on its hands when it recently put on display a sweatshirt emblazoned “UC Urvine.” The misspelling caught the eye of at least one individual who posted photos to social media that left people wanting one of these inadvertent collector’s items for themselves.


Max Park, left, the greatest Cuber in the world, signs his autograph for Dylan Garcia.
Dylan Garcia looks at his parents while Max Park, the greatest Cuber in the world, signs his autograph at Day of the Cube, a Rubik’s Cube competition in Fountain Valley.
(Sarahi Apaez)

— Rubik’s Cubes can be a real challenge for some, but last weekend in Fountain Valley it was an exercise in fun when Day of the Cube, a 3-by-3 speed cubing event was held at Los Alamos Park. Ninety-five kids from around SoCal participated in the event, surviving the hot temperatures and even a bit of rain in the midafternoon on Saturday. Evan Bunya, a 12-year-old from Tustin, earned first place with a 9.64-second average solve of the 3-by-3 cube. Second place went to Liam Ancheta, 11, and third place went to Dylan Garcia, 10, who lives in Orange.

— Wilma’s Patio Restaurant on Balboa Island’s Marine Avenue is marking 40 years in business. My colleague Lilly Nguyen spoke to the owners and several employees to get the full picture on what makes working at the popular eatery such a family affair.

— The Orange County Community Foundation invites local residents and supporters of environmental causes to help protect the county’s natural habitats by supporting nine area nonprofits in “Protect & Preserve,” a collaborative online giving day today. Contributions may be directed to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, the Bolsa Chica Conservancy, Bolsa Chica Land Trust, Crystal Cove Conservancy, Environmental Nature Center, Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, Laguna Canyon Foundation, Laguna Ocean Foundation, OC Habitats and the Ecology Center. The virtual fundraiser hopes to raise a collective $100,000 during today’s 24-hour of giving. For more, visit


Volleyball players during the 63rd annual Laguna Beach Open in 2017.
This weekend marks the 67th annual Laguna Open beach volleyball tournament. Above, Ed Ratledge and Eric Zaun compete against Sean Rosenthal and Trevor Crabb in the finals of the Open in 2017.
(Drew A. Kelley)

— The Laguna Open beach volleyball tournament is celebrating its 67th year when play begins Friday and runs through the weekend, making it the longest-running open beach volleyball tournament in the world. Four teams in each gender will qualify Friday for the 16-team main draw, which begins Saturday morning in a double-elimination format. Beach volleyball legends Randy Stoklos and Laguna Beach native Dain Blanton
will be announcing the action.

— Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point will be the venue Sept. 14 through 15 when the Southern California PGA hosts the top women’s PGA Professionals. The SCPGA Women’s Section Championship is a 36-hole, two-day, stroke play event open to SCPGA members and associates. Tee times will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 for round one and 8:10 a.m. on Sept. 15 for round two.


Sharon Ellis, "Night Storm," 2012-19 will be featured in the upcoming biennial.
Sharon Ellis, “Night Storm,” 2012-19 will be featured in the upcoming biennial.
(From the artist and Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles)

— Looking ahead to next month, in conjunction with the Oct. 8 debut of its new building at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Orange County Museum of Art is resurrecting its California Biennial, a tradition of holding a specially themed exhibit that began in 1984 and continued until 2017. The biennial hasn’t run since, largely because the museum relocated in 2018 to a temporary space, OCMA Expand, while its $93-million building was being conceived and built, according to a story by my colleague Deborah Vankin, who spoke to the museum’s director, Heidi Zuckerman. “California Biennial 2022: Pacific Gold” will feature painting, drawing, sculpture, large-scale installation, textiles and ceramics, as well as digital and multimedia work, by 20 artists from around the state. For more details about the museum and its exhibits visit

— Also in October, the Taste of Laguna food and music festival will take place on Thursday, Oct. 13 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach. General admission for the event is $85. Or guests can opt for a $150 VIP ticket, which includes a one-hour early entry at 5 p.m. and a private tequila tasting and bar. The event is open to individuals who are at least 21 years of age. For more information, visit


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