Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Family-Friendly May Day Weekend in Los Angeles

Think this weekend is booked, with the L.A. Book Fair and Conan's live shows at the Gibson Ampitheatre? Get ready for the first weekend of May. Here are a few kid-friendly events on tap:

Saturday, May 1: L.A. Conservancy/Modern Committee Picnic, at Vincent Lugo Park in San Gabriel

Event, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., costs $15 --or $10 for members and $5 for kids -- but includes lunch AND a Coolhaus ice cream (done).


La Laguna de San Gabriel is a sand-filled "lagoon" of whimsical sea creatures handcrafted in the mid-1960s by master concrete artist Benjamin Dominguez.

La Laguna is more than just an amazing place; it's a great preservation success story. The playground was threatened with demolition in 2006 as part of a park expansion plan. After successfully rallying to save the playground, the grassroots Friends of La Laguna commissioned a groundbreaking study and preservation plan for this unique architectural treasure.

The Friends won a 2009 Conservancy Preservation Award for their Historic Structures Report and Preservation Plan, and they just received a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to complete some repairs to the playground, which is now an official City of San Gabriel landmark.

Reservations are required; go to the Conservancy site here for more info. (Photo of La Laguna by Eloy Zarate.)

Sunday, May 2: "¡Viva el Cinco!" at the Autry.

Event, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., celebrates Mexico's music, dance, and folk art. Info:

Outdoor performances include mariachis, Mexican regional band, a ballet folklórico, and charros. The Bañuelos Charro Team return with their high-flying roping skills; the Hermanos Herrera band play original songs; the Ballet Folklórico México Azteca features a cast of dancers; the Mariachi Master Apprentice Program from the City of San Fernando unites world-class mariachi masters with community youth.

Also: a colorful shopping bazaar featuring artists and vendors similar to those found in traditional Mexican mercados; and a variety of children’s activities and art demonstrations led by museum teachers and local artist Lalo Garcia.

"Charros" -- got excited there for a second. But that's not the same thing as a churro. Which are delicious. I'm sure the charros are cool too.

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