For the weekend and nearby, Tuscan cooking, kite flying, poppies and puppets

The sky will be filled with kites April 27 and 28 at the beachside Morro Bay Kite Festival.
(Danna Dykstra Coy )

Kites, puppets and homemade Italian food all in one weekend? Here’s what to do on your free weekend days in Southern California.


The Institute of Culinary Education’s Pasadena campus began recreational cooking classes for the public this spring. In the four-hour Essentials of Tuscan Cooking course, you’ll make crostini with roasted eggplant, bistecca alla Fiorentina, almond and anise biscotti, and other Italian delights.

When: 6 p.m. April 26

Cost, info: $95. 18 and older only. No dogs. (888) 718-2433,



About 17 miles east of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, the California Poppy Festival at Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park pays homage to the vibrant state flower. Music and dance performances can be found on multiple stages, and the adventure zone will have animal exhibits and a bungee trampoline. On your way out, find souvenirs from the farmers’ market and arts and crafts vendors.

When: 10 a.m. April 27 and 28

Cost, info: $5 to $10. Family friendly. Only service dogs permitted. (661) 723-6077,

Morro Bay

Head up the coast to Morro Beach for the Morro Bay Kite Festival, where you can join Mary Poppins in a “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” parade and watch internationally ranked Dutch kite flyers launch octopus kites. The first 1,000 kids at the festival will get free kites. If they tire of flying them, they can enjoy knockerball, sand surfing, a giant maze and a bubble pool.


When: 10 a.m. April 27 and 28

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Dogs OK. (805) 305-0579,

Los Angeles

Experience visual art, short film, dance and other performances by local artists at Our L.A. Voices, a pop-up arts and culture festival at Grand Park. The festival’s theme, “Origin Stories,” showcases works about where we are, how we got here and where we are going. RSVP online for free workshops in feminist acting, personal branding for artists and more.

When: 11 a.m. April 27 and 28

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Dogs OK. (213) 372-8080,

Los Angeles

The Skirball Cultural Center's annual Puppet Festival on April 28 is a day of music, storytelling and puppets large and small.
(Ben Gibbs)

Puppets made from silk, recycled materials and more tell stories for all ages at the Skirball Cultural Center’s eighth Puppet Festival. Watch a toy theater piece staged in a vintage suitcase, journey through the stars with shadow puppets and make your own puppet to participate in the festival finale set to live music. Arrive early to snag parking and limited day-of tickets.

When: 10 a.m. April 28


Cost, info: $10-15 for non-members. Family friendly. Only service dogs permitted. (310) 440-4582,

Long Beach

Can’t make it to Amsterdam for King’s Day? You can still celebrate King Willem-Alexander’s birthday stateside with Dutch King’s Day L.A. at POA Park. Play sjoelbak (Dutch shuffleboard), shop for wooden shoes and dance to a Dutch DJ. Stroopwafels, mayo-drizzled fries and Heinekens will be plentiful.

When: 11 a.m. April 28

Cost, info: $10 (cash only at gate). Family friendly. Only service dogs permitted.

Note: Always check before you go because weather or other factors can affect events. Children should always be accompanied by an adult. Assume dogs must be on a leash. To suggest an event that’s cool and close to home, email at least four weeks before the event.


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