By Sea And By Land: Congressional Cup And World’s Fastest Beach Party
If you’re looking to party in the Los Angeles area this month, then look no further than Long Beach.
This city by the sea has two fun events in back-to-back weeks featuring sailboats and race cars. And each event has a big party element to it.
The first is the Congressional Cup and the second is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
If you are jealous that San Francisco is hosing the America’s Cup this summer, then simply go to the Congressional Cup. Think of it as a mini-America’s Cup. It features former America’s Cup skipper Ed Baird, as well as six other top-ranked sailors from around the world.
In other words, it’s no club race.
You can watch up close – for free! – from the Belmont Pier in Long Beach. And when I say “up close” I mean up close. The boats get so close to the pier you could hand the crew a beer from the Stella Artois beer garden!
The racing takes place Wed-Saturday, April 10-13. And on Friday and Saturday nights, there’s a party on the Pier. With beer!
Friday it’s a rock, disco dance party with local band Zen-Robbi. On Saturday it’s R&B with Boxcar 7, a highly popular band. This goes from 6-10 p.m., and there’s food booths and a no-host bar.
On both days, a DJ spins all day during the racing.
Once you’ve had a few days to recover, the next week is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Otherwise known as the World’s Fastest Beach Party.
How long you take to recover is up to you, but things start on Wednesday with a classic car show block party in front of Legends in Belmont Shore (6-9 p.m.).
The next night I highly recommend you get in the racing and party mood with “Thursday Thunder on Pine.” Form 6-10 p.m., there will are actual IndyCar pit stops right on Broadway and Pine, plus BMX bike jumps, a car show and, my personal highlight, the Miss Grand Prix pageant.
The next day starts the racing on the track, mostly along Shoreline Drive where you cannot and better not ever speed in Long Beach.
Personally, from a party standpoint, I like Saturdays the best. In fact, it’s the day the PubClub.com Party Bus shows up to the event. Most people just head to the bars – Auld Dubliner and Mai Tai bar in particular – and never see a car turn a wheel.
Others grab beers and go through the Expo, the IndyCar paddock, watch the celebrities crash in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race (11:40-12:40 p.m.) etc. This year, there’s a Formula Drifting event taking place at night! That’s from 7-9, the same time as a free concert by Bret Michaels.
Sunday is the featured race, the IndyCar race. Green flag is 1:30. Then everyone goes to the Mai Tai Bar and stays until dark.
So if you’re looking for a party, in the environment of fun events, make Long Beach your mid-April destination.
GRAND PRIX LINKS:
CONGRESSIONAL CUP LINKS: