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December Events
During the month of December, families can enjoy a variety of events and activities at the Orange County Great Park.  Following is a selection of activities taking place at the Great Park Farm + Food Lab.

Fresh Plates Culinary Workshops
Saturday, December 6
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
This inspirational workshop introduces participants to the techniques and benefits of traditional old-world cooking.  Local chefs and food experts will demonstrate how to prepare healthy, delicious, international meals from garden to table in less than 30 minutes.  Participants will be taught the value and impact of using local, sustainably produced ingredients, and will be provided information on the nutritional value of the cuisine.  60-minute presentation/demonstration.  Ages 16+ are welcome to attend.

Story Time in the Garden
Sunday, December 7
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
A fun-filled, enchanting hour of food-related stories, songs, games, and activities designed to help kids build strong language and literacy skills, and lifelong healthy eating habits.  The garden setting stimulates curiosity and imagination, and enables participants to make personal connections with the stories by seeing firsthand how fruits and vegetables are grown. Suitable for ages 3-8 years.

Children’s Garden Workshops
Sunday, December 21
Time: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

This monthly workshop series is a fun and engaging interactive learning experience that brings to life the natural wonders of the garden. Young attendees will have the opportunity to connect the natural world with their daily lives deepening their understanding and appreciation of nature. Workshops are offered every half hour and are followed by a craft or activity.  Suitable for ages 3-9 years.

Garden Beats
Sunday, December 28
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
This hands-on, family friendly, entry-level percussion learning experience is a great way to learn how to connect and communicate through the universal language of rhythm and rhyme.  Come and experience just how fun communal song and drumming can be, and why it’s core to so many cultures throughout the world.  60-minute guided, interactive musical exploration session.  Families and individuals of all ages are welcome to attend.

For additional information about the Orange County Great Park, please visit www.ocgp.org or call 866-829-3829.

The Orange County Great Park is located off the 405 or 5 Freeways at Sand Canyon and Marine Way in Irvine. Admission to most park events is free; parking for special events is $10. For more information call (866) 829.3829.


Team Orange County Presents
Casa Del Sol

On Friday, October 24, 2014, Team Orange County welcomed students and invited guests to a groundbreaking ceremony for their U. S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon entry, “Casa Del Sol.”

After a successful first-ever West Coast competition in 2013, the international Solar Decathlon event returns to the Orange County Great Park in October 2015.  The award-winning program challenges collegiate teams from across the nation and around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.

Team Orange County is made up of students from four Orange County institutions of higher learning, including: University of California, Irvine; Chapman University; Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College.  This marks the first time a team from Orange County has been selected to participate in the competition.  Perhaps more notably, it is the first time four colleges and universities in Orange County have embarked on such a large-scale collaborative effort.  By the time they reach the competition, the team will have spent two years preparing and working collaboratively on this STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related endeavor.  The solar house will be built, tested and perfected on the campus of Irvine Valley College.  Then, next October it will be moved to the Orange County Great Park for the Solar Decathlon competition.

Inspired by the California state flower, the poppy, “Casa del Sol” is adapted to Southern California with features that open up the building to ocean winds during the day and close at night to maintain a comfortable living environment. The 1,000 square foot building uses an energy-management control system, photovoltaic and solar thermal technology and wastewater recycling. Casa Del Sol is designed to serve a multi-generational family – a response to overcrowding and affordability problems in Southern California.

Solar Decathlon 2015 will be held October 8 – 18, 2015 with competition houses open to the public on eight days over two weekends.  Each month leading up to the event, we will cover a related news event on this website.  For additional information, please visit solardecathlon.gov.

Sneak Peak at Solar Decathlon 2015 – Zero-Emission Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 will highlight sustainable transportation with the addition of a new contest category – Commuting – which is designed to demonstrate how clean energy can power not only houses but also lifestyles.

“For Solar Decathlon 2015, we want to challenge teams further by requiring them to power not only their energy-efficient house but also their transportation,” said Richard King, Solar Decathlon director. “The addition of the Commuting Contest expands the competition from a house to a household and demonstrates the power of clean energy lifestyles in and beyond the home.”

Vehicles used in the 2015 Commuting Contest must be fully electric—representing zero-emission transportation to complement the net-zero houses. All vehicles used by the teams must be commercially available; have four wheels; seat at least two individuals side by side; and be licensed, registered, and insured. Vehicle-to-building integration solutions must be aesthetically pleasing, functional, and convenient.

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015

We are pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon will return to the Orange County Great Park in 2015. This award-winning program challenges collegiate teams from across the nation and around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.

Solar Decathlon 2015 will be held October 8 – 18, 2015 with competition houses open to visitors from 11am – 7pm daily on eight days over two weekends:

  • Thursday, October 8 – Sunday, October 11, 2015
  • Thursday, October 15 – Sunday, October 18, 2015

This is your opportunity to tour the highly efficient, solar-powered houses designed, built, and operated by the Solar Decathlon collegiate teams.  Talk to the students, gather ideas, and learn about energy-saving features that can help you save money.  (During the remaining dates the Solar Decathlon village will be closed for competition activities.) 

The 17 collegiate teams selected to participate in Solar Decathlon 2015 include:

  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • California State University, Sacramento
  • Clemson University
  • Crowder College and Drury University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • New York City College of Technology
  • State University of New York at Alfred College of Technology and Alfred University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • University of Florida, National University of Singapore, and Santa Fe College
  • The University of Texas at Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchen
  • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine; Saddleback College; Chapman University; and Irvine Valley College
  • Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University
  • West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata
  • Western New England University, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, and Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana
  • Yale University

Solar Decathlon 2015 teams have begun a two-year process to design, test and build solar-powered, highly energy-efficient houses that combine affordability, innovation, and design excellence.  This time, teams will be challenged further by requiring them to power not only their energy-efficient house but also their transportation.  We will follow their progress from now until the fall of 2015 when the teams reassemble their houses on the competition site at the Orange County Great Park.  Mark your calendar now and plan to attend! 

For more information, please visit their website.

Great Park News Archive