Southern California Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, & Other Offbeat Stuff

Southern California Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, & Other Offbeat Stuff

by Saul Rubin
     
 

Welcome to Southern California, where residents take their pooches out for ice cream at the Hydrant Café, attend an annual Blessing of the Cars, and then climb aboard a hearse for a Grave Line Tour to find out how, when, where, and sometimes why Hollywood's finest died. If you're a sports fan, visit the Baseball Reliquary, home to a partially smoked cigar of

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Overview

Welcome to Southern California, where residents take their pooches out for ice cream at the Hydrant Café, attend an annual Blessing of the Cars, and then climb aboard a hearse for a Grave Line Tour to find out how, when, where, and sometimes why Hollywood's finest died. If you're a sports fan, visit the Baseball Reliquary, home to a partially smoked cigar of Babe Ruth, a fragment of skin from the inner left thigh of baseball pioneer Abner Doubleday, and the gold-plated shovel used by Angels owner Gene Autry during groundbreaking ceremonies at Anaheim Stadium in 1964. And don't forget the world's largest champagne glass, still bubbling away at the Lawrence Welk Museum. With this book in hand, readers will be sure to laugh as they learn what lies way off the beaten path in this part of the Golden State.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780762727247
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
08/01/2004
Series:
Curiosities Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,179,144
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.69(d)

Read an Excerpt

A Festival That Draws Lots of Dips
Fallbrook

It's no secret what keeps the town of Fallbrook humming along: It's the avocados. Avocado trees were first planted here in 1912 and today the town's hundreds of small avocado groves generate more than $26 million in annual revenue. Fallbrook's designation as the avocado capital of the world is hard earned, an honor celebrated since the mid-1980s with an avocado festival. There's plenty of guacamole dip at the fair for sure, with pros and amateurs alike competing for best recipe awards. Other contests are more intriguing, such as the Avo Olympics, which features intense competition in avocado pit spitting and avocado croquet. Then there's the Avocado 500, where contestants outfit avocados with wheels to see which fruit is the fastest. Car crashes here are no problem—they're just scooped up with tortilla chips. Most peculiar of all, perhaps, is the contest to determine the best-dressed and best-decorated avocados.

It's no surprise that the avocado-themed town has a number of Mexican restaurants. One, La Caseta, decided in 1992 to make one heck of a super burrito. It weighed 2,237 pounds and measured three feet wide and 36 feet long, establishing a world record that it held for a few years. It's a good thing that the town had enough guacamole around to complement the super-sized entrée.

For more information about the avocado festival, visit the town's website at www.fallbrookca.org or call 760-728-5845.

Meet the Author

Saul Rubin is a veteran California journalist who has covered everything from major disasters to stories highlighting the state's quirky inhabitants and culture. He has hobnobbed with celebrities while an entertainment writer for the Los Angeles Times, and chased down sports figures while writing and developing stories for a national sports magazine show on Fox Sports Net.

As a staff feature writer for Copley Los Angeles Newspapers based in Santa Monica, California, Saul penned a weekly humor column. He also developed a regular feature that chronicled his often hilarious experiences while working odd jobs around Los Angeles for a day. His temporary employment pursuits included stints as a mall Santa, Little League umpire, golf range ball retriever and peanut vendor at Dodger Stadium.
Saul is the author of two books, Offbeat Museums (Santa Monica Press, 1997) and Offbeat Marijuana (Santa Monica Press, 1999). Both books were part of this independent publisher's series on offbeat culture. The Museum book was widely praised by sources such as ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," USA Today and the Los Angeles Times. The book tells the story of 50 of America's most unusual museums, as well as depicting the story of the people behind each quirky institution. Offbeat Museums was reissued in hardcover by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers in 2002. The Marijuana book tells the story of one of the world's most controversial plants and was commended for its frank humor and comprehensive history.

Saul is now a full-time journalism instructor at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California, the state's top two-year college. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, and was also awarded a Bachelor of Arts in English from U.C. Berkeley.

Saul grew up in the Boston area but has now lived more than half his life in California. He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and daughter.

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