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Fresh Plates Culinary Workshop

This inspirational workshop series 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 staples with details on how to grow them at home.  60-minute presentation/demonstration. 

Workshops take place in the Great Park Farm + Food Lab from 10:00 am - 11:00 am Saturdays in July.   Ages 16+ are welcome to attend.  These are free events.

Saturday, July 12
Argentine Cuisine – Masters Of Fire
Argentine food is an intoxicating blend of indigenous dishes mixed with the Mediterranean influences of its European settlers, but it’s the expert use of fire that makes this cuisine truly extraordinary. Come and learn the Argentine way of cooking and treat your taste buds to a whole new level of “YUM”!  

Saturday, July 19
The Peruvian Melting Pot – Food and Culture From Around The World
The three traditional staples of Peruvian cuisine are corn, potatoes, and chili peppers, yet immigrants from Spain, China, Italy, Germany, Japan and Africa all brought their diverse culinary traditions with them resulting in a rich fusion of flavors, ingredients, and cooking techniques.  Join us for an informative lesson on the rich history and traditions of Peruvian cuisine.

Saturday, August 2
The Many Tastes Of Brazil – A Cornucopia of Flavors

Brazilian cuisine is an assortment of various regional traditions and dishes that reflect the country’s mix of native and immigrant populations as well as the geographical and climate differences of this vast nation.  From the coastal low lands, to the tropical interior and border highlands, the variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins create one of the most diverse culinary palates on the planet.  Find out just how amazing Brazilian food is with simple recipes and techniques for the adventurous home cook.

Movie on the Lawn Series

Grab your beach chair, blanket and snacks for an outdoor movie experience under the stars.  This year’s Movie on the Lawn series features seven film screenings beginning Saturday, May 31 and continues through July 12.  Flashback Fridays will take you on a stroll through memory lane with a lineup of great nostalgic favorites, while Family Favorite Saturdays will showcase blockbuster hits.  All movies will be shown on the Terraced Lawn beginning at dusk, weather permitting.  Admission is free.

July 12: Lego Movie
An ordinary Lego construction worker is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis. (2014, Rated PG, 101 minutes)

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.



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 18 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
  • Stanford University
  • 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 Visitor Center Dedicated

On a chilly morning in late December, both current and former members of the Orange County Great Park Board of Directors gathered to dedicate the Great Park’s Visitors Center Pavilion and honor the elected officials and the community and business partners involved in delivering the facility to the public.

Current Great Park Board members participating in the ceremony included Chair Jeff Lalloway, Vice Chair Christina Shea, Director Larry Agran, Director and Irvine Mayor Steven S. Choi and Director Beth Krom.  Former Great Park Board members in attendance included former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang, Bill Kogerman, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, and James “Walkie” Ray.

The new 4762-square-foot Visitors Center Pavilion is adjacent to the Great Park Balloon; it features a large lobby, restroom facilities and office space for Park staff.  The facility provides a welcoming first stop for those looking for flights on the Great Park Balloon, rides on the Carousel or more information about Park programs and activities.  Park visitors will notice a special feature of the building – approximately 1,000 tons of El Toro Stone  (pieces of the demolished concrete runways from the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro) were used in the construction of the Visitors Center Pavilion.  The runway pieces were used to create a gabion retaining wall made of stacked stone-filled gabions tied together with wire filled with El Toro Stone on the south side of the facility.

The Visitors Center Pavilion was constructed along with the new South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex, which opened in September. The 30-acre expansion added four tournament-quality soccer fields, four basketball courts, the mile-long Kaiser Permanente Thrive Path, reflecting ponds and a viewing pier, giant chess sets and more to the Great Park.

Photos courtesy of Cliff Wallace, Deputy CEO, Orange County Great Park

Additional 688-acres to be developed at the Orange County Great Park

The Irvine City Council has approved a proposal from private developer Five Point Communities to build 688 acres of amenities at the Orange County Great Park over the next five years.  These 688 acres will include sports fields, a Bosque area with trails and playgrounds, Upper Bee Canyon improvements, a wildlife corridor, an 18-hole golf course, agricultural fields and trail improvements.

Through this public-private partnership between the City of Irvine and Five Point Communities, progress on the Orange County Great Park continues.  Other Great Park features already complete include the Great Park Carousel, Farm + Food Lab, Kids Rock Playground, Walkable Historical Timeline, Palm Court Arts Complex, South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex, and Historic Hangar 244.  Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over Southern California enjoy the Orange County Great Park’s array of recreational and educational opportunities, including panoramic views from the iconic Great Park Balloon that rises 400 feet in the air. 

With its approximate 1,300-acre master plan, the Great Park is the centerpiece of the redevelopment of the publicly-owned portion of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.  The Orange County Great Park is located at Sand Canyon and Marine Way, and can easily be reached by the 5 or 405 freeways.

Great Park News Archive


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