Catalina Connection

Catalina Heating Up with Summer Events

Byline: Taylor Hill

Catalina Heating Up with Summer Events

CATALINA ISLAND — With Catalina’s busy summer season in full swing, boaters making the trek across the channel to Santa Catalina Island have a wide array of activities, events, tours, concerts and more awaiting them upon their arrival.

From Avalon to the island’s West End, boaters can explore the natural side of Catalina’s Island interior, catch a free concert at Avalon’s Wrigley Stage or dress up as a pirate at the Two Harbors Buccaneers Weekend festival.

While many of the summer favorite attractions and events will be back again this year, boaters should be sure to catch the island’s newest attractions — including the inaugural Catalina Air Show, coming Sept. 29-30; and the Catalina Island Conservancy’s new mobile nature station.

The Nature Station — a 250-square-foot exhibit introduced at Two Harbors in June — is built to go from one island location to another, and it is designed to handle all the rough conditions Catalina’s roads can dish out. Initially, the Nature Station will be located near the playground on the foot path leading to Catalina Harbor, but it will be moved around to different venues throughout the year.

For boaters looking for something fun to do this season at Catalina Island, here are a few of the many options:


Through August: Summer Beach Bingo
When: 6-7 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday
What: Bring your beach chair and some friends to Avalon’s South Beach Lifeguard stand for Bingo. Cards are $1 each, and participants can win fun local prizes.
Contact: City of Avalon Recreation Department (310) 510-1987

Through August: Kids Fishing Derby
When: 7-9 a.m. each Wednesday
What: The city of Avalon Recreation Department hosts a weekly free Kids Fishing Derby, at the end of the Avalon Harbor’s Green Pier.
Contact: City of Avalon Recreation Department (310) 510-1987

Aug. 10: Tribute to Classic Rock
When: 7:30 p.m.
What: Free concert at Avalon’s Wrigley Stage. A beer and wine garden opens at 6 p.m.
Contact: Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce (310) 510-1520 or

Aug. 11: Display Day Fly-in
When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
What: Catalina’s Airport in the Sky invites pilots to fly in and show off their vintage planes. Participants can fly in or catch the Wildlands Express up to the airport from Avalon, and visit with pilots and view historic planes.
Contact: For reservations, call (310) 510-0143

Aug. 11: Beach Cleanup
When: 8 a.m.
What: Join with other volunteers to clean one of the windward beaches of Santa Catalina Island. You will get a free trip to Ben Weston, Cottonwood Beach, Little Harbor or Shark Harbor for a morning of sun and sand. The van leaves at 8 a.m. from the Conservancy House, 125 Clarissa Ave.
Contact: For reservations, call coordinator Lesly Lieberman at (310) 510-2595, ext. 112


Aug. 18: Tribute to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
When: 7:30 p.m.
What: Free concert at Avalon’s Wrigley Stage. A beer and wine garden opens at 6 p.m.
Contact: Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce (310) 510-1520 or


Aug. 18: Summer Barbecue at DC3 Grill
What: Join airplane enthusiasts at a summer barbecue at the DC3 Grill, located 1,600 feet above sea level at Catalina’s Airport in the Sky. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet while listening to live music on the outdoor patio.
Contact: For reservations, call DC3 Grill at (310) 510-2196 or visit


Aug. 22: “Gimme Some Lovin’: The Spencer Davis Group” Exhibition
What: The Catalina Island Museum’s last day of the Spencer Davis Group Exhibition, highlighting rare behind-the-scenes glimpses at the people and events that shaped one of the 1960s’ most celebrated bands.


Aug. 24: “26 Miles Across the Sea” — The Four Preps in Concert
When: 6-8 p.m., with a special VIP Reception from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
What: The Four Preps, featuring original lead singer Bruce Belland, will appear in concert at the Avalon Theater, in the Catalina Casino. Tickets range from $25 to $100.
Contact: (310) 510-1520 or



Aug. 27-28: 22nd annual Church Mouse Marlin Invitational Tournament
What: This nonprofit 100-percent release marlin fishing tournament has raised more than $885,000 for Catalina youth since its inception.
Contact: For more information, call (310) 467-2371 or visit


Aug. 31: “A Democratic Dream: William Wrigley Jr. and Catalina Island” Exhibition
What: The Catalina Island Museum opens its newest exhibition, which explores the William Wrigley Jr.’s pursuit of the American dream and his vision for Catalina Island as a “playground for all — rich and poor, youth and aged; all classes mix with democratic spirit.”
Cost: Entrance for the opening reception is free for members of the museum and $10 for the general public.


Sept. 1: Jimmy Walker Buffalo Chip Toss
When: 3 p.m.
What: This lighthearted competition pits contestants against each other in a feat of strength, to see who can select the best buffalo chip and toss it the farthest. Contestants will meet at the base of the pier. The farthest throws are rewarded with a trophy and a prize. Last year’s longest toss was 208 feet.


Sept. 9-11: California Billfish Series; Zane Grey Invitational
What: The first of three striped marlin tournaments that attract the West Coast’s most avid fishing teams. The Zane Grey Invitational kicks off the series, running from Sept. 9-11, while the Avalon Billfish Classic and the Catalina Classic run simultaneously from Sept. 23-25. The format of each event is unique and attracts a wide cross-section of offshore anglers.


Sept. 15: 10th annual Microbrew Festival
What: Held at Two Harbors, the festival allows participants to choose tastes from more than 40 different beers while enjoying live music, light appetizers, Mad Mike’s sausage and a silent auction. All proceeds go to the Avalon Lions Club and support local charities and scholarships.
Cost: $35 per person, in advance; $45 during the festival week
Contact: Tickets are available by calling (310) 510-4205. Space is limited, as the event regularly sells out, with 500 in attendance.


Sept. 15: Catalina Island Women’s Forum Wine Festival
What: 17th annual fundraiser featuring wines from more than 70 wineries, hors d’oeuvres and smooth jazz. Net proceeds help support mentoring and scholarship programs.
Contact: Tickets are available by calling the Chamber of Commerce at (310) 510-1520 or visiting


Sept. 21-23: Festival of Art
What: Now in its 54th year, the Festival of Art draws artists from all over the country who exhibit along Crescent Avenue and sell their works — including sculpture, fine crafts and photography.
Contact: Catalina Art Association (310) 510-2788;


Sept. 23-25: California Billfish Series
What: Following the Zane Grey Invitational, the Avalon Billfish Classic and Catalina Classic tournaments run simultaneously, with each event drawing a wide cross-section of offshore anglers. With its historic venue, great fishing, top-notch parties and banquets, and the biggest prize purse in California, the California Billfish Series stands out a top West Coast offshore event.


Sept. 29: Catalina Island Conservancy Half Marathon
What: Runners enjoy the expansive Catalina Island Conservancy Nature Preserve vistas while being challenged by the rugged terrain. They will also have the special thrill of knowing they’re in bison territory.
Contact: Spectrum Sports Management (909) 399-3553;

Sept. 29-30: Catalina Island Air Show and Festival
What: The inaugural event commemorates the 100th anniversary of the longest over-water flight in the world at the time, and the first sea landing in history in Avalon Bay. The event will be held off the breakwater of Avalon Bay, and viewers can enjoy a weekend full of aviation events that include both military and civilian aerobatic aircraft and concessions.
Contact: Call (310) 510-2595, ext. 818 or visit


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