A Venture into the OC Community

You’ve all seen that movie Wedding Crashers? Well, I haven’t. Can’t say I’m a fan of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn...but I’ll save that for another post.

What I do remember about the movie is its tagline: Life’s a party...crash it! Truer words have never been said. But crashing weddings really isn’t my thing - because I’ll be honest...I couldn’t awkwardly pretend to know the bride or the groom. I would immediately get caught!

But you know what I wouldn’t mind crashing?  Those cool-looking events happening in my community that I see other people going to, typically on the weekends. I’m sure you’ve heard or read about these events, too - festivals, art shows, antique fairs, concerts, food fairs...they’re everywhere in Orange County! But for some reason I never go to them, even though I do enjoy talking to people (sometimes too much I’m told) and consider myself to be somewhat adventurous.

So why don’t I go? Well, I’ll be honest - it’s probably a mixture of the following: 1) I’m lazy to leave the comfort of my own home (and Netflix), 2) You try leaving Mochi (my cute dog and snuggle buddy) at home and tell me it isn’t hard! and, 3) Who do I even go with?! It’s not exactly easy nowadays to get my friends together to do something new and adventurous. Everyone is on different schedules, busy with other things in their life, or ballin’ on a budget. And unfortunately, I can’t take Mochi everywhere with me.  

Does any of this sound familiar? Don’t worry, I understand all too well and I got your back. Consider this your official introduction to...Community Crashers! It’s a group that our Kapstone family started on Meetup.com and it’s open to anyone looking for a little adventure and meeting some pretty cool people (like me!). What we do is find Orange County community events that look like a fun time and we simply show up and enjoy the day with our friends, family, strangers and anyone else that wants to join in! Did I mention, it’s FREE (which is probably up there as being one of the best four letter words of the American English language)?

Community Crashers gives people like me the chance to explore our communities and meet new people without the discomfort of going alone!

Honestly, Community Crashers just makes it easier to connect with people and experience that sense of community in a casual yet engaging way.

The Orange County community has so much to explore and it’s rich in culture, diversity and not to mention...SO MUCH good food. I’m tired of taking it for granted and ready to marble (please tell me someone got that rock pun) in it’s beauty, explore its unique communities and hopefully meet new interesting people along the way! And with Community Crashers, it’s easy because there’s a group of people trying new things on a regular basis. We find the events. You show up. And we all have some fun! Not too complicated, huh?

Let's just say, Community Crashers is one of my guilt-free distractions from work. I feel lucky to work with a group of people at Kapstone who share my desire to create a sense of community. With Crashers, we now have a catalyst to get us out in the community to try things we probably wouldn’t have done on our own otherwise. And we’re always looking for new people to join us so don’t be shy or a stranger to us!

While I have your attention, let me give you a little taste of a recent Community Crasher event we held at San Clemente’s annual Fiesta Music Festival. Here’s my take on it...

I took the Metro train from Tustin with my friend Claudia (who also works with me at Kapstone), and we discovered the beauty of the train as we were dropped off right at the San Clemente pier. It was about 10:15 in the morning and the beach was busy - and why wouldn’t it be?! It was a beautiful day with a perfect view. There was an interesting mix of people from young teeny boppers to families with small children...perfect for people watching.

The Fiesta Festival was packed with all sorts of fun booths, food challenges, music, and just about everything else!

In addition to people watching, the festival was full of other opportunities...eating, drinking, bands, games, contests and more. We set up camp at a nice lawn area with beach chairs and a large umbrella brought by Kapstone’s lovely office manager and awesome lady, Robin. It was the perfect setup for hanging out with friends, and checking out the festival.

There was one event I was especially looking forward to at the festival: the salsa challenge. No, not the dance. I’m talking about salsa, one of the best chip dips mankind has ever known, and every year the festival holds a challenge to see who can whip up the best tasting salsa. Now, you have to understand... if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, I would choose chips and salsa...hands down. Needless to say I was in heaven with not one or two but TWELVE salsa cups and a pile of chips. One of the salsas I tried was called “The Yoda.” Spicy it was. Sadly though, after just trying four out of the twelve salsa cups my mouth was on FIRE and I could barely see because my eyes were filled with water! Kinda weaksauce, I admit. I was even warned by the salsa makers themselves (and my friend and co-worker Alison) that the salsas were spicy. But they don’t know me!! Fortunately, there was ice cold beer from Left Coast Brewing Company to wash it down and make it all better. Turns out Left Coast operates locally in San Clemente.

My idea of heaven: almost endless salsa and chips! Plus local beer, of course.

After being defeated by the salsa tasting, we walked around to see the different exhibits, music performances, vendors...and to find more food. The festival was a lot more packed than I had anticipated. A lot of people were watching a band performing the song “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness. Look it up and you can thank me later, or not. . Mainly people were just walking around and hanging out with friends in a space that is normally a busy roadway for cars. Yep, the festival took over the entire street, including parking spaces.

You see, I always get this warm, fuzzy feeling when I see people hanging out and enjoying themselves with good company at a community event - especially when it’s at a space that  wouldn’t normally accommodate pedestrians. I totally get that #plannerd moment at times (when you realize why you love urban planning so much). and I’ve gotta admit that the feeling of belonging to a diverse community  of like-minded Crashers is a good feeling...almost as good as taking the first sip of ice cold local beer after eating too much spicy salsa. What can I say? I love beer and salsa too if you couldn’t tell. .

Sharing is caring - so I want to share this experience with not just my friends but as many interesting people as possible. I love meeting people and hearing their stories! So don’t be a stranger to me. Now that you know what’s up, come crash with me and the rest of the gang this Saturday, September 3rd at the Downtown Santa Ana Artwalk . It happens every first Saturday of the month, but I’ve never been soo I’m looking forward to checking out the 20 art galleries (didn’t even know there were this many in DTSA) and of course, the ice cold local beer at 4th Street Market. Check out the Community Crashers Meetup page for more details on the DTSA Artwalk event and other events we’ll be crashing next in the near future. Also, see for yourself the photographic evidence of past events (don’t worry...pictures have been rated PG).

So maybe we’ll crash into each other soon?