Orange County Great Park Fifth Anniversary Event

The Orange County, California Great Park will become an artists village this Saturday at Growing the Park, a wide-ranging event marking the fifth anniversary of the Orange County Great Park.

Bring out the potential in your little artists with hands-on arts activities coordinated by Arts Orange County. Growing the Park includes five themed sections reflecting the ultimate goals of the Great Park, including enriching and supporting arts education in Orange County.

In the Great Park Gallery section of the event, the Orange County Performing Arts Center's Italian street painters will invite families to create art on asphalt, the Philharmonic Society will highlight its Music Mobile, and the Bowers Kidseum, OC Museum of Art and Chuck Jones Center for Creativity will feature hands-on art activities. In addition, the Orange County Performing Arts Center presents Vybration, a 6-person a capella group featuring vocals and vocal percussion. Other participating organizations include: Backhaus Dance, Irvine Barclay Theatre, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Playhouse, Muzeo, and Southland Ballet home to Festival Ballet Theater.

"Arts and cultural programs are embedded in every aspect of the Park's development," said Larry Agran, Chair, Orange County Great Park Board Corporation. "We are pleased so many arts organizations are partnering with us to enrich the fabric of the Great Park as truly an arts destination."

Growing the Park is a family fun festival that will take visitors on a journey through the Great Park's transformation from its military and agricultural heritage to a community oasis showcasing the energetic development of the Orange County Great Park. Admission and parking are free.

Growing the Park has a little something for everyone, just like the planned 1,347-acre park, currently underway with more than 200 acres of development. With plans to complete sports fields, artists studios, community gardens, agriculture space and more within the next two years, Growing the Park brings the best Park programming into one fun-filled day.

"The theme of the Great Park is 'a park for everyone' and Growing the Park brings together all walks of life with its diversity of activities," said Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang. "I look forward to seeing people from throughout Southern California celebrating 5 years of the Great Park on Saturday."

Growing the Park, Celebrate 5 will have five themed areas for visitors to enjoy, each representing an aspect of the Great Park:

1. Great Park Gallery: Arts & Culture

2. The Back Forty: Agriculture & Environment - Whole Foods Market will demonstrate how to make fresh summer salads using ingredients from the Great Park Farm + Food Lab. Tierra Verde Industries will show you what the inside of your TVs and electronics look like and explain how e-recycling works. The Discovery Science Center will present hands-on children's science activities, and the OC Zoo will have insects, reptiles and other critters. New West Country band will entertain visitors as they enjoy guided farm tours and agricultural craft activities.

3. The Runway: Technology & the Future - When the sun goes down, get ready for the Great Park's first laser light show. The Runway is also home to great food, with five-dollar food deals from local favorites such as Chick-fil-A, Tacos & Company, Sprouts Market, Al's Bar-B-Que, Joe's Italian Ice and Pinkberry.

4. The Outfield: Sports & Recreation - Children can pick up some new soccer moves from the Los Angeles Galaxy Futboleros. Captain Fitness will award a certificate to all those kids who take on a fitness challenge to run an obstacle course and perform sit-ups and jumping jacks, and Inside the Outdoors will teach kids how to read nutrition labels.

5. Sky's the Limit: Military & Aviation - The Great Park's military history will be on display in a "museum without walls," with vintage airplanes flying overhead, then landing for an ground-level view. Last year's popular wing walkers will soar overhead this year as well. The 2/11 Marine Battalion from Camp Pendleton will display artillery equipment, and kids can try on Marine Corps gear.

Gates open at 2 p.m., Saturday July 10, and the event is open from 3 to 9:30 p.m. The Great Park can be accessed off the 5 freeway from either Jeffrey Road or Sand Canyon. For this special event, entrances will be available off of Sand Canyon at Trabuco Road and Marine Way. Be advised that the Great Park will be closed Thursday and Friday, July 8 and 9, to prepare for this event. The Park will also be closed Sunday July 11, the day after the event.

The Orange County Great Park and its 1,347-acre master plan is the focal point of the redevelopment of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro. The Great Park is currently built out to 27.5 acres and includes an iconic tethered helium balloon that rises 400 feet in the air, providing an aerial view of Park development. A $65.5 million development plan to expand the Park to 200 acres is currently underway. The plan will build out a core section of the Park for the most immediate and wide-ranging public benefit, including a sports park, agricultural area and an art and culture exhibition space. For more information, please go to www.ocgp.org.

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