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Free weekend? Sand castles, dive bars and Japanese festivities

Taken at the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) in Los Angeles.
Thomas Hawk/Flickr/Creative Commons
Taken at the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) in Los Angeles.

It's heating up, SoCal. But we've got just the thing to keep you cool: Free fun at the beach. Here's everything you need to know. 

1. Sand Sculpture Music & Art Festival


As if this weekend's heat wave wasn't enough to get you out to the beach, now you have another excuse: huge sand castles. Granada Beach hosts its annual two-day event where you can watch sand sculpting masters and amateurs alike battle it out for a cash prize. The winning team's piece will be dramatically lit up at night for spectators to see. Pro tip: Think you have what it takes? You can sign up with a team of nine other people for a shot at sand sculpting glory here. 

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 

Where: Granada Beach | MAP

Price: Free

2. Live music at Union Station

Listen to this for an afternoon pick-me-up

Stop by Union Station Friday evening to make it a very happy happy hour. American roots orchestra the Dustbowl Revival will put on a live two-hour show. This eight-member band mashes jazz and folk and is known for its infectious and upbeat energy. The best part: This show is free. Listen to the band's interview with Take Two's Alex Cohen here.

When: 4 to 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Union Station | MAP

Price: Free

3. Family art at LACMA

(Photo: Nicole Abalde/Flickr Creative Commons)

Let your imagination run wild with experimental drawing games for kids and adults at the L.A. County Museum of Art on Saturday. Families can sign up for this three-hour workshop with artist Valentina Mogilveskaya to learn fun techniques like surrealist drawing and blind contour drawing.

When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: LACMA | MAP

Price: $45 to $55 per parent-child duo | Purchase tix here

4. Hit up a dive bar hand-picked by us

In case you missed it, KPCC's AirTalk crowdsourced L.A.'s best dive bars this week. Listen to Angelenos throw out suggestions, and scroll through our slideshow to see top picks from KPCC staffers. Cheers! 

5. Japanese Festival 

Get ready

Nisei week in L.A. runs through Aug. 23. This weekend is the Nisei Week Japanese Festival at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center. Expect free outdoor entertainment, including taiko drums, Japanese dancers, martial arts, live music, children’s activities, cultural exhibits, a book fair and traditional food and drinks. More details here.

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 

Where: JACCC | MAP

Price: Free 

6. A new batch of beer

Start your Friday at the air-conditioned King Harbor Brewing Company in Redondo Beach. The brewery's beer event begins at 10:30 a.m. — that’s right. A.M. Stop by for freshly bottled King Harbor IPA (sorry, only two bottles per person). The real festivities begin at 5 p.m. with a Hawaiian-themed party at its tasting room to celebrate the IPA’s tropical flavors. Pro tip: If you wear a Hawaiian shirt, you'll receive discounts on food and drink. So, it might just be worth it. (We like this one.)

When: Get your fresh batch beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Where: King Harbor Brewing Company | MAP

Price: Free admission 

7. Summer movie "Sandlot" at Seaside Lagoon 

Watch me

Another coastal event to keep you cool: An outdoor screening of "The Sandlot" at Seaside Lagoon. Grab finger food and a couple beers from King Harbor Brewing Company (refer to No. 6) before spending the night alongside this saltwater lagoon. Blankets and low-back chairs are welcome. Pro tips: But if you don't have time to pack a picnic, grab a Sriracha burger at nearby Ruby’s Diner. If you like to plan ahead, catch a screening of "Back to the Future" next Friday at the same location.

When: 8:15 p.m. Friday 

Where: Seaside Lagoon | MAP

Price: Free

8. Road trip! Fig Fest 

(Ritesh Man Tamrakar/Flickr/Creative Commons)

This one is going to take some convincing. Stick with us. You may want to road trip to Fresno this weekend for a couple of reasons. Saturday is the Fig Fest! There be will tons of fig foods to sample and a fig-inspired culinary demonstration from the Food Network’s Fabio Viviani. And in the evening, you might just be able to catch some of the meteor shower that peaked earlier in the week. It’s active through Aug. 26! If you want water, head to Shaver Lake, which is an hour outside of Fresno. You can rent paddle boats and kayaking. Pro tip: STAY HYDRATED.

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Fresno State | MAP

Price: $25

What'd we miss? Let me know on Twitter @kristenlepore.