Food and entertainment from Great Britain will be the highlight of the opening day of the Festival of Britain, an arts celebration and retail promotion beginning Saturday at Costa Mesa's Town Center Park.
The opening ceremonies, which are free and open to the public, continue Sunday. Events both days run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In addition to British cuisine, Saturday's events include a grand procession led by the Royal Highland Fusiliers pipe and drum band, British celebrities, classic automobiles, ribbon dancers, acrobats and Disney characters.
In attendance opening day will be Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra.
Throughout the two-day event, three stages will feature continuous entertainment including British and local entertainers, musicians, singers, dancers and surprise guest artists. Children's entertainment, including Punch and Judy shows, will also run throughout.
Some of those scheduled to appear are Rain, a band that pays tribute to the Beatles; performance artists the Mums; British musical artist Laurence Juber, who won a Grammy when he performed with Paul McCartney's Wings; Iain Matthews, comic-mime Les Bubb and folk songwriter John Wesley Harding.
Actress Julie Andrews will launch the British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles' "The British & the Oscar" film festival by hosting a "Mary Poppins Tea Party" at Edwards Town Center Cinema Saturday at 2 p.m.
Besides Andrews, British actors Sir John Mills, Ben Cross ("Chariots of Fire"), Karen Dotrice (who played Jane in "Mary Poppins") and "Chariots of Fire" director Hugh Hudson are scheduled to appear.
What: "The Festival of Britain" opening ceremonies.
When: Saturday, Oct. 13, and Sunday, Oct. 14, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
Where: Town Center Park, Bristol Street and Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.
Whereabouts: Take the San Diego Freeway to Bristol exit. Go north on Bristol to Town Center Drive.
Wherewithal: Admission is free.
Where To Call: 1-800-BRITN-90.
* FESTIVALS & EVENTS, Page 23.