Cool, hot and close to home: Celebrate Memorial Day in Southern California


A long Memorial Day weekend means there’s plenty of time to learn about butterflies, zines and Cajun culture at these Southern California events.


Show off your hot rod (or admire someone else’s) at the 17th Arlington Chili Cook-Off and Car/Cycle Show along a half-a-mile of Magnolia Avenue from Van Buren Boulevard to Jackson Street. You can also browse street vendor booths, listen to live music or enjoy a petting zoo, rock climbing and games at the kids zone. Chili samples cost six for $5, and beer-garden beverages are available for purchase.

When: 9:30 a.m. May 25

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Dogs OK. (951) 509-1100,


Fountain Valley

Marvel at the life and transformation of butterflies at OC Parks’ Monarch Butterfly Day at Mile Square Regional Park. Participants will get an up-close look at the insects in a netted enclosure and learn how to plant a butterfly garden — and there will be crafts, face painting and food.

When: 10 a.m. May 25

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Dogs OK. (714) 973-6600,

Simi Valley

Jefferson Starship, Spin Doctors, Ambrosia and many others will entertain at the Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Music Festival at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park. When your eyes aren’t on the stages, you can strut in a Mardi Gras parade, take a Cajun and Zydeco dance class, or feast on crawfish and jambalaya.

When: 10 a.m. May 25 and 26

Cost, info: $25 (plus $3.15 service and facility fee) in advance for a one-day ticket, $30 day of. $45 (plus $4.65) in advance for a two-day pass. Family friendly. No dogs. (805) 517-9000,

Los Angeles

What do Fiona Avocado, the Frugal Meeples and Late Comeback Press have in common? They’re a few of 200 zinesters (people who make zines, or self-published booklets of text and images) who will exhibit their work at the L.A. Zine Fest at Helms Bakery. Check out their zines, which range from personal to political, and learn how to make your own at workshops and panels.

When: Noon May 26

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Only service dogs permitted.



Watch local musicians, dancers, comedians and other Mexican and Mexican American performers at a free outdoor event during the Heartbeat of Mexico festival at the Musco Center for the Arts. Check the website for other free and ticketed events at the four-day festival, which is a celebration of Mexican art, music and history,

When: Noon May 26 (Overall festival is spread throughout Chapman University campus May 23-26; 7:30 p.m. May 23 for concert; noon on May 25 and 26 day festival)

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. No dogs. (844) 626-8726,

Santa Monica

The sixth Mainopoly is just like Monopoly — except the object of the board game is to complete a culinary tour of Santa Monica’s Main Street. Tickets include food and drinks tastings at 20 participating businesses. Score a stamp at each location to be considered for a grand prize.

When: 1 p.m. May 26

Cost, info: $25 in advance, $30 day of. Family friendly. Dogs OK in most locations. (323) 330-9559,