Coronado, California, Shines with Summertime Events
With its palm-lined streets, 25 miles of sparkling beaches – including Coronado Beach, the #1 Beach in America – and an average summertime temperature of 75 degrees, sun-kissed Coronado is an ideal summer travel getaway, located a bridge or ferry boat ride away from downtown San Diego. In addition to enjoying a plethora of outdoor activities like surfing, kayaking and golfing, visitors to this popular island paradise can choose from several entertaining summer events, including a magical Wizard of Oz festival, star-spangled Fourth of July celebration, a premier Navy SEALS exhibition and America’s original surf dog competition.
Following are some fun-filled summer events that showcase the small-town charm of the “Crown City.”
On August 1-10, follow the yellow brick road to Coronado for the island’s first-ever Oz Con International , a celebration of the magical literary works of Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum. Festivities include a screening of the digitally-enhanced 75th anniversary version of the original Wizard of Oz movie at the Village Theatre; Wizard of Oz Walking Tours to the Hotel del Coronado – Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City – and the house where Baum wrote three of his famous Oz books; a Wizard of Oz musical cabaret at the Coronado playhouse; exhibitions of Oz memorabilia and collectibles at the Coronado Public Library, and fun children’s activities including a Wizard of Oz Musical Theater Day Camp, Oz storytelling, costume contests and more. www.ozconinternational.com
RED, WHITE & BLUE
The 66th Annual Coronado Independence Day Parade and celebration is one of the most popular 4th of July events in San Diego County. As one of America’s original Navy towns, tracing its high-flying military roots back to 1911, Coronado takes great pride in its Navy heroes and military heritage. Today, the city is home to Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, two aircraft carriers and Naval Amphibious Base Coronado where the elite Navy SEALs train.
On July 4, locals and visitors alike converge for a full day of festivities, including a 5K run/walk and 15K run at Tidelands Park, a rough-water swim along Central Beach and a patriotic parade down Orange Avenue, complete with military bands, floats and spectators lining the route with red, white and blue proudly displayed. The day continues with “Art-in-the-Park” in Spreckels Park that afternoon and culminates with a spectacular fireworks display at 9 p.m. over Glorietta Bay. www.ecoronado.com/4th
Coronado’s rich and colorful history comes to life at the Coronado Museum of History and Art (1100 Orange Avenue) which explores the Crown City’s early days. The museum’s new real-life exhibit, “The History of U.S. Navy SEALS in Coronado” spotlights the island as the birthplace of the Navy SEALS. During World War II, Navy “frogmen” in Underwater Demolition Teams trained in Coronado to clear enemy beaches for Allied landings. Later these special operations warriors won praise from Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, SEALS still train daily on Coronado’s beaches. Exhibit highlights include vivid chronological displays of SEALS memorabilia and actual equipment used in SEAL special operations. The exhibit is on display April 25 through January 2015; admission is free (donations welcome). www.coronadohistory.org
FUN WITH FIDO
The Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition, America’s original surf dog festival launched in 2006 by Loews Coronado Bay Resort, takes to the waves on June 21 at neighboring Imperial Beach. Drawing thousands of spectators from across the U.S., this popular tail-wagging event features dozens of dogs hanging 10 as they’re scored on confidence level, length of ride and overall ability to “grip it and rip it.” Expert surfers also participate in a tandem event, performing radical tricks with their pooches. Admission is free. www.loewshotels.com/en/Coronado-Bay-Resort
Visitors are invited to enter their four-legged friends in the Surf Dog competition and enjoy the pet-friendly accommodations and amenities at Loews Coronado Bay Resort. As part of the resort’s Loews Loves Pets program, upon check-in, every dog receives VIP (Very Important Pet) treatment with welcome gifts including a name tag, bowl, and special treats. www.loewshotels.com/Coronado-Bay-Resort/experiences/pets
Pets are also welcome at the Hotel del Coronado which recently launched its new Del Dogs & Cats program featuring not only tail-wagging amenities for dogs, but also puur-fect indulgences for cats. http://hoteldel.com/san-diego-accommodations/pets/
SPORTING GOOD TIME
On June 29 during the Low Tide Ride & Stride, presented by the Coronado Rotary Club, participants can enjoy a scenic 8.2 mile run or bicycle ride along a wide stretch of hard packed sand from Imperial Beach to Coronado. It’s the longest all-beach run or ride on the Pacific coast and the only time the restricted beach at NAS North Island is open to the public. http://lowtiderideandstride.org
On August 24, visitors have a rare opportunity to cycle over the iconic San Diego-Coronado Bridge during the 7th Annual Ride the Bridge-Bike the Bay. This noncompetitive 25-mile bike ride along the scenic Bayshore Bikeway passes through Coronado’s Tidelands Park, Silver Strand State Beach and along Glorietta Bay, as well as through neighboring San Diego, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and National City. Registration is required. www.bikethebay.net
Taking place at 1-4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday during May 24 – August 31, the Coronado Ferry Landing Summer Concerts present free live music concerts featuring local musicians along picturesque San Diego Bay. www.coronadoferrylandingshops.com/events-sandiego-coronado.htm
Lamb’s Players’ Theatre, Coronado’s award-winning, year-round professional theater company with a resident stage on Orange Avenue, presents two productions during the summer. During May 29 – June 29, Lamb’s presents “Twelfth Night,” William Shakespeare’s effervescent comedy of love, longing, impersonation and mistaken identity, set at the Hotel del Coronado in the 1930s. During July 18 – August 24, “Les Miserables,” Victor Hugo’s epic musical about the nature of law and grace, takes center stage. www.lambsplayers.org
The Coronado Playhouse, an intimate, 100-seat cabaret-style theatre on Glorietta Bay, also presents two summer productions: Shakespeare’s classic love story “Romeo and Juliet” (part of the Playhouse’s free Annual Classics Series), June 27 – July 20, and the hilariously sweet romp, “Dearly Beloved,” August 15 – September 21. www.coronadoplayhouse.com
Happiness is calling in Coronado. For more information on Coronado, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website, www.visitcoronado.org, download the free Coronado app at http://qr.coronadotourismdistrict.org or call (619) 236-1212.