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Newport Beach Blog

April 30, 2014

May brings festivites to Newport Beach

Get ready to get out and explore Newport Beach in May. From wine tasting to jazz and more, there are plenty of festivities for everyone to enjoy. Here are just some of the many arts and culture celebrations taking place around the community this spring.

You’ll want to head to Balboa Bay Resort from Friday, May 23, through Sunday, May 25, for the 11th annual Newport Beach Wine Festival. That’s where Executive Chef Vincent Lesage and his culinary team will join some of the region’s top winemakers to present creative wine-tasting experiences, seminars, a cooking class, wine-maker dinner, seafood festival and more. This epicurean extravaganza kicks off Friday, from 6-11 p.m., with the “Master Sommelier Coasting Through California Wine Dinner” ($195 per person, including taxes and gratuities). Limited to 70 guests, this intimate meal showcases six courses (each incorporating locally grown ingredients from a specific region of the state), paired with fine wines selected by master sommeliers Ira Harmon and Ron Mumford.

On Saturday, guests are invited to attend a cooking class and two wine seminars during the day, including a “Cook to This! Cooking Class and Wine Pairing,” from 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m., where Chef Lesage will help attendees create a three-course lunch using wine as the central ingredient ($90 per person, including taxes and gratuities).

That evening, The Grand Ballroom at Balboa Bay Resort will play host to the “Grand Tasting,” from 7-10:30 p.m. ($135 per person, including taxes and gratuities). Expect samples from more than 90 wineries from the around the world paired with delectable creations from the resort’s culinary team. Think seafood, caviars, cheeses, meats and desserts, all set to a backdrop of live music.

The festival draws to a close on Sunday, with the farewell “Beer for Breakfast,” from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., offering the chance to sample brews from renowned beer capitals of the world served alongside a delicious and hearty rustic breakfast ($45 per person, including taxes and gratuities), followed by the “All-American Seafood Festival,” from 2-6 p.m., held outdoors along the waterfront and highlighted by wines from more than 30 wineries and interactive culinary stations boasting an incredible selection of the finest seafood ($99 per person, including taxes and gratuities). It all ends with “Cigar On the Rocks,” from 6-8 p.m., featuring specialty cocktails, top-flight cognacs, scotches, ports, tequilas, specialty cocktails, fine artisan cheeses, desserts and, of course, cigars ($60 per person, including taxes and gratuities).

By the way, room packages are available for those who wish to stay over at the resort. They include “The Taste,” featuring one room on Saturday night and two tickets to “Grand Tasting”; the “Sip and Savor,” with one room on Saturday night and 20 percent off two or more select events/seminars; and “Uncork, Delight and Unwind,” offering one room on Saturday night and tickets to the “Grand Tasting” and one seminar/event. A special “Indulge” package also is available for a three-night stay (Friday-Sunday), two tickets to all events, and even a bottle of champagne and cheese plate upon arrival.

To reserve a room or for more information on the festival, call (885) 977-5104 or visit BalboaBayResort.com.

Wait! That’s not all. From Friday, May 30, until Sunday, June 1, the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach is in full swing with its annual Jazz Festival. Here you can expect to find top performers such as saxophonist and singer Mindi Abair (with special guests Booker T. Jones and Elliott Yamin); jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra; 10-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Chaka Khan; and Jazz Attack featuring Rick Braun, Euge Groove and Peter White. The Hyatt also is offering special festival hotel packages that include 10-minute early entry into the venue on Saturday and Sunday, plus access to express beverage lines.

Jazz Festival tickets are $60 per day or $100 for a weekend pass (Saturday and Sunday), with special VIP tickets also available. For a complete lineup of performers and additional details, check out www.festivals.hyattconcerts.com/hotellodging.

Last, but definitely not least, visit the charming Balboa Island for the 20th annual Artwalk on Sunday, May 18, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Held outdoors along the South Bayfront Promenade, this free outdoor event showcases local artists exhibiting theirpaintings, jewelry, blown glass, sculpture and photography, as well as live music on four stages by the Retros, Don Ross Duo, Rick Sherman and Alan Remington, Jim Roberts and Grant Peacock. Visit www.balboaislandartwalk.info for more information.

*Photo Credit: Balboa Bay Resort

Written by Wendy Bowman

Wendy Bowman is a San Clemente, Calif.-based freelance journalist. She spent 15-plus years as a writer and editor for Atlanta Business Chronicle, covering nonprofit business, homes and lifestyle, the Atlanta visitors market and more. She currently writes for Modern Luxury magazines including The Atlantan, Men's Book Atlanta, Interiors California, Interiors Atlanta and Brides California, as well as websites such as DIGS.net.

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